President Bush and the Republican Party are depending on the politics of fear and higher taxes to overcome widespread voter upset with administration conduct of the war in Iraq and other less alarming problems.
It may work if the electorate doesn't see through this 11th-hour attempt to overlook the mess the country is facing for years to come. This is taking place before any October surprise, if there is one, by Karl Rove.
First, the insurgents in Iraq do not seem to be threatening New York, Washington, or even Los Angeles. But to listen to some firebrands on the right, the bad guys are sailing past the Statue of Liberty as you read this.
Terrorism is certainly a huge problem, international in scope. The battle will continue no matter which party controls Congress over the last two years of Bush's term. The president talks a tough game, but Democrats recognize the evil opposition, too.
The linkage between the war in Iraq and terrorism is a phony issue exploited by the GOP. The U.S. military is caught in the middle of a sectarian conflict and near civil war in Iraq. Terrorism is plotted elsewhere.
The latest maneuver by Bush is the claim that Democrats will raise taxesthe tiresome shout of tax and spend. It is an old refrain to scare voters on the economic front. Although Bush is claiming good deeds on the economy, many are still scraping by on paycheck to paycheck.
In fact, Bush's medicine for the economy is to make the tax cuts permanent. That policy is a nice gift for folks who earn huge incomes but of little benefit to most voters. Forget to pay for the billions spent on the war in Iraq, and let future presidents and Congresses worry about it! That's the real message.
Conservatives, if true to their belief, should be railing against more deficit spending. Some on the right in the House have taken issue with spending by the administration in the past, but their voices are rarely heard with the election only six weeks away.
If Democrats don't fight back, Bush and Rove will prevail again with these flawed claims.