About those packages By Ann Althouse

28 October, 2010 — Information Clearing House

About Those Packages — that ‘credible terrorist threat’ — coming just before Election Day

It’s the big story. I haven’t written about it yet. I didn’t know what to say as the story was unfolding yesterday. I had the thought — and I immediately censored myself — what does this have to do with Election Day? I cut myself off from that line of thinking because, of course, the war on terrorism transcends the petty vicissitudes of partisan politics. I readjusted my consciousness to suit an image of myself as a decent person.

Last night, I was listening to the podcast of the day’s Rush Limbaugh show, in which he was seeing the news in real time and reacting out loud. He started where I did: the timing so close to the election. But he didn’t censor himself. And this is what I love about Rush. He keeps going, expressing those thoughts you might get to yourself if you let your mind run free:

No matter how you look at these packages-on-the-airplane stories, it’s either done by terrorists as a dry run or all of this is being hyped by our government. If it’s the terrorists, then who are they trying to help right before the election? What are they trying to affect here? And if it’s the government hyping it, then it’s clear the administration thinks that this will help them, that this will help Democrats.

I mean, this is being the done the weekend before the election. Who would Al-Qaeda being trying to help here? Clearly they’re imposing themselves on our election. If it’s the government hyping it, then it is clear the administration thinks this will help them. Right? One way or another, this is being hyped real big. All of the cable nets have gone wall-to-wall with this. Somebody is trying to say something here, and somebody is trying to affect the outcome of something.

This is thrilling radio, people. Completely unplanned. We get to watch — hear — the gears turn. This is bold thinking out loud, and he doesn’t know where he’s going.

The question is: Who’s trying to help who? If the terrorists are doing this, are they trying to stop the Republican progress or guarantee it? If it’s the administration, then they must think that this ultimately would help them.

He’s using the classic ‘who benefits?’ approach to reasoning. Why would it help the administration? Or, as Rush says, why would they think it would help them? I’d say that the 2010 elections have been focused on the economy and domestic policy. If we refocus on foreign threats, that at least keeps us from looking at what’s hurting the Democrats the most. Even if generally, people think the GOP is stronger on national security, if we suddenly feel very threatened, the reaction would be to unite behind the President, whoever he is, and to want to protect him from any weakening forces, like, perhaps, a hostile Congress.

If the threat of terrorism is present in our minds, then we place a much higher value on continuity and stability. Our hostility to things as they are suddenly flips and we love what we have and become vigilant lest anyone tear it away from us. Let’s coalesce behind our President and help. I know that’s what I felt on 9/11. I had never supported President Bush before that day, but then all I wanted was for him to do well, and I couldn’t tolerate the carping and the criticism that made his work more difficult than it already was.

The rest of Rush…

Now, is it a coincidence? The Democrats have always said that ‘cargo’ was a weak spot, that our ports and things like this were the weak spots, and that was the reason they wanted to kill the Dubai Ports Deal, because cargo is our weak spot. So the thing they have always claimed is being shown to be true, so how does this help them? The only way it can be shown to help them if you have a press conference from Obama saying, ‘We caught it, we stopped it, we’re vigilant, we care. (chuckles) I’m not a Muslim, I wouldn’t allow this.’ Whatever he says. We’ll just have to wait and see how the regime handles this.

Fortunately, folks, we don’t have to worry about the Obama regime using fear of terrorism to help him in the elections like the Bush team did, right? That was always the charge. Every time we got an increased threat level near an election, the charge always was, ‘It’s not true. This is just Bush trying to help himself in the election.’ Okay. We don’t have to worry about this with this bunch, right? They’re clean and pure as the wind-driven snow. They would never politicize something like this, right? So, you don’t need to have a bomb to commit terrorism. That’s what all this shows. Closing down and disrupting so much air travel without a bomb. This is terrorism, in a sense. They got everybody terrorized. Everybody’s scared now. What’s going on here? We’re talking about it. Everybody’s wondering about it. So clearly somebody is sending a message for some outcome. Somebody’s trying to affect something. So we’ll see.

Ann Althouse
I’m a law professor… and sometimes I write about law

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