Kristol KlearSubmitted 1 year agoFear is a great motivator, especially when it comes to politics. These are very fearful times and we depend on those we elect to safeguard his or her constituency from threats at home and abroad. The permanent-campaign style of government that we have endured over the past seven and a half years of the current administration has capitalized on how much of a motivator fear can be. Not just with those of us on the other ends of the internet and televisions, but more importantly with other members of the government and the press themselves. It continues in this current campaign as I type these words. Yet, the Republicans are not the only folks using fear; the Democrats are merely using it in a different way with arguably more subtlety. We are a nation facing serious issues and playing on the very real fears of the voters is arguably a good way to ensure the vote on election day.
I began thinking about this listening to Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday this week which I was watching to remind myself how much I am going to miss Tim Russert. Weekly Standard Editor and regular contributor to Fox News, Bill Kristol is a good one to make us afraid. His background is academic and he is involved in many of the conservative think-tanks here in the U.S. and even in the U.K. and he remains a respected member of the political and journalistic community. The discussion turned to Iran and at first it seemed as if it was just going to be your typical terrorists-love-Obama discussion. Yet, Kristol then speculated that he believed that President Bush would be more likely to wait on Iran if McCain wins the election or appears to be poised to do so. However, he then speculated that if it appeared that Obama were going to win, he would be more inclined to attack Iran. What disturbs me is that even though Kristol's predictions are often incorrect it does not necessarily mean he isn't correct when it comes to this.
He is currently serving as a foreign policy adviser to John McCain's campaign, so this is fairly considered as coming from his campaign. This of course was not disclosed during the program. It reminds me of 2005 when Kristol praised the president's second inaugural address in many places, never disclosing that he was a consultant in the writing of the speech. He also has very close connections to many members of the administration and the conservative think tanks he is associated with, which makes the outlandishness of his statements all the more unsettling to me. This is the counsel that is sought by those who guide the course of the government and the nation? What he seems to be saying is that either John McCain wins and gets to bomb Iran in his own due time or President Bush will be "forced" to do so before leaving office and he even suggested other enemies would nuke us to "test" the next President. There is no way out of going to war with Iran with this understanding of things. If this is the type of counsel he had provided in the past to the current administration and the type of counsel that will set the foundation for a McCain administration in the future further war is inevitable.
Obama has addressed that his opponents would try to instill fear in the voters about him. From my favorite allegation about his being a "secret muslim" to more subtle questions of his patriotism, race, and the impossible probability that he succeeded in Chicago politics an honest person. The democrats are using the potential horrors of the McCain(Bush III) term to scare voters, specifically Hillary Clinton supporters, in line behind the democratic ticket in areas where McCain is making it a contest. It is a much more feeble set of fears than enslavement of the white race or the idea of adding minarets to the White House, but it ultimately boils down to the same thing: our opponent equals more war, more government, more debt, and less security to the people. Yet, the Republicans seem more desperate with their attacks. The Democrats feel as though they are the team to beat this time - as they have for the past two general elections to no success. The Obama phenomenon has helped shape the media's narrative that this is Obama's election to lose rather than McCain's to win. As the campaign continues, I believe that these two candidates that love to be underestimated will have some surprises for us. In the meantime, the same old characters are using the same old talking points. Kristol's comments made me instantly think of the scene in Blazing Saddles where Cleavon Little's character escapes the townspeople by grasping his own throat and holding a gun to his own head. Only in this case, Black Bart is the whole country or possibly the world and there may be warheads on the bullets in the gun.