For Republicans to have any chance at winning the mid-term elections, Bush needs a boogeyman with a "Big Bomb" to scare the bejesus out of the electorate.
Iraq is dead as an issue; we have already screwed up, losing more Americans than we lost during 9/11, plus 30,000 plus civilian casualties. Most Americans now believe the Iraq invasion has been a net loss, ending up creating more terrorists than it has eliminated. A recent LA Times poll found that 57% of Americans say that the war has not been worth the cost. 71% of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave, according to yesterday's most recent poll.
Best not to talk about Iraq too much.
Afghanistan and Al Qaeda are also a problem. We haven't really gotten either under control yet. If the Republicans bring them up, it's going to be too easy for the Democrats to say, "Oh Yeh, let's talk about the problems with the Taliban and Tora Bora...." Political jujitsu at its best. You take the opponent's best issue and flip it.
But concern over national security and the war on terror is still the Republican's strongest issue and Bush's only hope to squeak through. Poll numbers show that Republicans lead on these issues by 17% from 48% to 32%.
How do you "Fear Monger" without getting wrapped up by Iraq and Al Qaeda?
All year long the Administration has been coming up with a number of "home grown plots and conspiracies". But after the Miami group of hapless wannabes, the media and the public have become skeptical about whether these conspiracies are really creations of FBI-CIA informants, or are just the average group of wannabe nutcases, who continually threaten the President and promise to blow up things, without any real ability to do so.
Bush needs a formidable adversary to keep playing "the madman-with-the-big-bomb" card.
Kim Jong Il is too weird and dangerous to fool around with. Anyhow, he already has the "bomb" and missiles that can hit Seoul and Tokyo.
Politically, nothing will ever take the place of Saddam Hussein. The guy looked evil and did some genuinely nasty things.
Bush made a major political mistake in invading Iraq. Strategically, he should have kept boogeyman Hussein around on a string -- like a cat keeping a mouse alive for a long time before devouring him. But with Saddam locked up, he's of no use to Karl Rove.
Gadhafi of Libya has turned into the nice guy. Hugo Chavez has possibilities, but he looks and acts like a Latin American clown...he's funny...but dangerous? Nah!
The Republican's last gasp (absent coming up with the body of Bin Laden in an October Surprise - maybe they have been keeping him frozen on ice for months) is Iran and Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad seems to more than willing to oblige - for the moment. He feints back and forth about building a bomb, increasing his international prestige, and providing his pal with a credible nuclear-armed boogeyman to terrify the local electorate.
George Bush is the best thing that ever happened to Ahmadinejad, as I said in a previous post. Think of all the wonderful things our President has done for his misbegotten country.
· Bush took out Iran's bitterest enemies, Saddam Hussein and the Sunni claque in Iraq, and opened the way for an eventual Shiite domination of the country and the region.
· Bush hobbled the Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan, another enemy of Iran.
· Our President's geopolitical adventures have tripled the cost of crude oil, thus swelling Iran's revenues to $45 billion last year allowing them to fund Hezbollah activities.
· Bush, by backing Israel's invasion, paved the way for a Hezbollah domination of Lebanon, upending the Sunni -- Christian -- Syrian supremacy.
· He has elevated Ahmadinejad and Iran from a minor league player into the dominant force among the non-aligned countries in world politics and economics. Moreover, Ahmadinejad's greater prestige gives him leverage over the Ayatollahs who wield the final power in Iran. It also begins to open the door to the dream of an Iran-Iraq Shiite Crescent --- the eventual domination of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Hormuz Strait.