Republicans Should Play Offense

Were Americans to be honestly polled about which national issues they consider to be of primary importance to the future of the country, terrorism, illegal immigration, and private property rights would likely rank at the top. And on at least two of these issues, the official stances of Republicans and Democrats cannot be contrasted more starkly. As usual, the Democrats are on the wrong side.

For the past month, America has been bombarded with constant caterwauling from Democrats on Capitol Hill and the liberal press that the Bush Administration might have violated the privacy rights of terrorists.

Of course the left does not exactly characterize the NSA controversy with such frankness. Rather, they avoid direct references to the probable identities, national origins, and allegiances of the individuals whose incoming phone calls from known al Qaeda operatives overseas were monitored to prevent a recurrence of 9—11. Opinion polling works out so much better for the Democrats with questions phrased in terms of "civil rights" and "wiretapping by the Bush administration."

Admittedly, a continual barrage of such hysterics by the liberal press does indeed pose a risk that Americans might eventually become distracted by this straw man of lost privacy. The likely result would be the implementation of roadblocks to such surveillance, once again allowing the security apparatus that has so successfully protected the country since 9—11 to lapse into disrepair.

A disturbing number of Americans seem to be subconsciously toying with the notion of reverting to the 1990's mindset, when these matters were given abysmally low priority. And if the nation does not recognize the importance of remaining focused on the very real and unabated threat facing it, the trend could continue until the unthinkable happens...again.

For Democrats however, the opportunity for political grandstanding presently available outweighs such comparatively trivial concerns as the lives of the American people, on the streets of our cities and the battlefields where the terror war is presently being fought and won. Of sole importance is the potential prize of political dominance. So a bit of collateral damage among their fellow citizens is apparently a small price to pay.

The supposed 'outing' of Valerie Plame kicked off the latest round of Democrat harrumphing about Bush as a violator of civil rights. Yet information regarding her identity and profession was readily available prior to the eruption of the situation as a 'scandal.' Consequently, no harm whatsoever accrued to the intelligence activities of the U.S. Government as a result of that information having been made public.

In contrast, the covert monitoring of terrorist communications into this country (and this is the only true context in which this situation can be explained), which inarguably aided in the nation's ability to thwart terrorist incursions, has now been severely, perhaps fatally, undermined. Yet those on the left once again show no interest in getting to the bottom of a real security breach, but instead relentlessly seek to characterize and publicize the situation only as a means of exploiting it to their political benefit.

No doubt, if terrorists successfully strike America once again (a likelihood that has been greatly increased by the leaked information), George Bush's present critics will be among the loudest accusers of the Administration for its failure to 'connect the dots' in anticipation of any such attack. Regardless of the horrific cost to American citizens, every situation can, with sufficient imagination and moral flexibility, be portrayed as a political liability to President Bush.

But Americans see their future imperiled on another front. Despite the looming menace of murder and mayhem being suddenly inflicted by Islamist radicals, few anticipate the possibility of such people stealing their land and plundering their homes. That is the job of this country's own, out—of—control governing institutions.

Ever since last summer's Kelo decision in which the Supreme Court reversed the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, public officials throughout the nation have become increasingly aggressive in their seizures of private property. They now claim 'constitutional' authority to confiscate property and grant ownership to those with more lucrative ambitions. Clearly, the right to own property is no more protected than life or liberty.

Under the auspices of protecting 'rights' and 'liberty,' Senate Democrats needlessly delayed the committee vote on Judge Alito for yet another week. Hardly concerned with an overreaching government, their real concern is instead to appease certain vocal constituencies such as the abortion lobby.

This is no time for Republicans to go on the defensive. By unabashedly confronting liberalism and its malignant consequences, they can put the left to flight. The habit of playing defense is deeply ingrained that too many of us forget that the best defense is a good offense.

Were Americans to be honestly polled about which national issues they consider to be of primary importance to the future of the country, terrorism, illegal immigration, and private property rights would likely rank at the top. And on at least two of these issues, the official stances of Republicans and Democrats cannot be contrasted more starkly. As usual, the Democrats are on the wrong side.

For the past month, America has been bombarded with constant caterwauling from Democrats on Capitol Hill and the liberal press that the Bush Administration might have violated the privacy rights of terrorists.

Of course the left does not exactly characterize the NSA controversy with such frankness. Rather, they avoid direct references to the probable identities, national origins, and allegiances of the individuals whose incoming phone calls from known al Qaeda operatives overseas were monitored to prevent a recurrence of 9—11. Opinion polling works out so much better for the Democrats with questions phrased in terms of "civil rights" and "wiretapping by the Bush administration."

Admittedly, a continual barrage of such hysterics by the liberal press does indeed pose a risk that Americans might eventually become distracted by this straw man of lost privacy. The likely result would be the implementation of roadblocks to such surveillance, once again allowing the security apparatus that has so successfully protected the country since 9—11 to lapse into disrepair.

A disturbing number of Americans seem to be subconsciously toying with the notion of reverting to the 1990's mindset, when these matters were given abysmally low priority. And if the nation does not recognize the importance of remaining focused on the very real and unabated threat facing it, the trend could continue until the unthinkable happens...again.

For Democrats however, the opportunity for political grandstanding presently available outweighs such comparatively trivial concerns as the lives of the American people, on the streets of our cities and the battlefields where the terror war is presently being fought and won. Of sole importance is the potential prize of political dominance. So a bit of collateral damage among their fellow citizens is apparently a small price to pay.

The supposed 'outing' of Valerie Plame kicked off the latest round of Democrat harrumphing about Bush as a violator of civil rights. Yet information regarding her identity and profession was readily available prior to the eruption of the situation as a 'scandal.' Consequently, no harm whatsoever accrued to the intelligence activities of the U.S. Government as a result of that information having been made public.

In contrast, the covert monitoring of terrorist communications into this country (and this is the only true context in which this situation can be explained), which inarguably aided in the nation's ability to thwart terrorist incursions, has now been severely, perhaps fatally, undermined. Yet those on the left once again show no interest in getting to the bottom of a real security breach, but instead relentlessly seek to characterize and publicize the situation only as a means of exploiting it to their political benefit.

No doubt, if terrorists successfully strike America once again (a likelihood that has been greatly increased by the leaked information), George Bush's present critics will be among the loudest accusers of the Administration for its failure to 'connect the dots' in anticipation of any such attack. Regardless of the horrific cost to American citizens, every situation can, with sufficient imagination and moral flexibility, be portrayed as a political liability to President Bush.

But Americans see their future imperiled on another front. Despite the looming menace of murder and mayhem being suddenly inflicted by Islamist radicals, few anticipate the possibility of such people stealing their land and plundering their homes. That is the job of this country's own, out—of—control governing institutions.

Ever since last summer's Kelo decision in which the Supreme Court reversed the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, public officials throughout the nation have become increasingly aggressive in their seizures of private property. They now claim 'constitutional' authority to confiscate property and grant ownership to those with more lucrative ambitions. Clearly, the right to own property is no more protected than life or liberty.

Under the auspices of protecting 'rights' and 'liberty,' Senate Democrats needlessly delayed the committee vote on Judge Alito for yet another week. Hardly concerned with an overreaching government, their real concern is instead to appease certain vocal constituencies such as the abortion lobby.

This is no time for Republicans to go on the defensive. By unabashedly confronting liberalism and its malignant consequences, they can put the left to flight. The habit of playing defense is deeply ingrained that too many of us forget that the best defense is a good offense.