As Republicans across the country gather to celebrate September 11, a feeling of wistful nostalgia pervades the air. The terrorist attacks in which close to 3,000 people died have proven very advantageous to Republicans seeking to gain political dominance in the U.S., but the gains have been unexpectedly short-lived.
It hardly seems to be seven years since George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and other administration officials were thrilled and excited by the devastating attacks in New York and Washington. This was an opportunity crying out to be exploited, and they wasted no time in using fear to cement their political power and to gear the nation up for an attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Their gratitude to the terrorists has been deep and enduring, evidenced by the constant tribute paid to Osama bin-Laden and Al Qaida in the years since—Republicans citing the terrorists as support for whatever policy or initiative they might be pushing at the time. It was all part of an important campaign against the real enemy: liberals, Democrats, and other components of the “angry left.”
The voiceless victims of the 9/11 attacks became the perfect cheerleaders for the Republican cause. Photos and videos of the burning twin towers provided wonderful imagery for Republican campaign commercials and promotions. Whenever liberals or Democrats would seek to talk about issues, Republicans could threaten another terrorist attack if voters failed to continue supporting Republican candidates. Those who expressed doubts about the direction we were going in were obviously supporters of terrorism. Anyone who protested the war, or the use of torture, or the suspension of Constitutional rights, was suspect, a potential enemy.
But as the Iraq War turned into a quagmire, and various scandals exposed an inability on the part of the Bush administration to actually govern, Republican terrorism began to lose its luster. Most leading GOP figures remember 9/11 with fondness for the good times now gone, and wish that somehow the terrorists could strike again.
Rudy Giuliani, the ex-mayor of New York City, recalls with delight the day that events sunk to his level, so that he actually appeared as a leader rather than a psychotic prick. Ann Coulter stares at the poster of Bin Laden in her bedroom, dreaming of the day her idol will return and show the liberals who was right after all. Karl Rove chuckles to himself as he remembers the lovely sight of people jumping out of the flaming windows of the World Trade Center on that wonderful day. Why shouldn’t it happen again? he wonders. Well, there’s always hope.
On election eve of 2006, when the Democrats were taking back the House and Senate, Fox News’s Shepard Smith looked into the camera with a sad puppy-dog expression and said that he was worried. Even though the public was turning towards the Democratic Party, Shepard hoped that we wouldn’t forget the War on Terror and how important it was. Without the War on Terror, you see, Shepard Smith would be doing commercials for hair gel.
Dennis Milligan, the chair of the Arkansas Republican Party, was speaking for Republicans everywhere when he mused in June of ’07: “All we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on 9/11, and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country." Without more attacks, the naysayers continue to gain ground. If only our terrorist friends could come through again and help us prove them wrong.
Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton said that a terrorist attack would help Republicans. Some Democrats reacted with outrage, but she was only stating the obvious. Republicans love terrorism. The more terrorism, the better it is for Republicans. John McCain’s chief strategist Charlie Black later said that another attack on America would certainly be a big advantage to McCain. At the time, with public disapproval of Republicans at record lows, one could hardly blame the McCain campaign for indulging in some wishful thinking. Ah, if only there were some more burning bodies, panic in a major city, mayhem and destruction by fanatic Muslims, wouldn’t that be great for us? Why, we’d win in a landslide!
Although it’s clear to all the wise pundits and talk show experts that terrorism is good for Republicans, there’s another aspect that is rarely mentioned. Absence of terrorism is inherently bad for Republicans. Therefore, it would be a grave error for Republicans to actually try to reduce terrorism. That would be working against themselves. Instead, as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have demonstrated time and again, the correct strategy is to strengthen and support terrorism as much as possible. We must do everything in our power to make America hated in the Muslim world so as to create as many new terrorists as we can. If these policies result in an eventual follow-up attack on America, so much the better. Republicans love 9/11 and they love terrorists. Although it’s politically incorrect for them to say it too loudly, Republicans hope and pray for a terrorist attack on the United States that will return the Republican Party to the popularity and prestige it briefly enjoyed seven years ago. Hopefully the attack will take place on a big liberal city such as San Francisco, so that a bunch of homosexuals will get killed for their sins into the bargain. That would be best. But whatever—they’ll take what they can get.