"I'd rather be talking about this than all of the other things that Congress hasn't done well," a Republican congressional aide explained, requesting anonymity.
"'This is going to play big,' said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named."
Hey, in fairness, if I said these things I wouldn't want to be named either.
And if I didn't have any campaign issues, and controlled that Congress which "hasn't done well," I'd grasp at anything, too.
(Okay, almost anything. There are limits to decency for most feeling humans.)
So, this is how the White House and Republican Congress look at terrorist plots. As things that are "going to play big." It's like they think they're Hollywood studio execs. Waiting breathlessly for the box-office returns of their Oliver Stone flick. You sense they've been reading far-too much Daily Variety. Much better if, instead, they'd read the 9/11 Commission Report.
One gets the impression that if the plot had succeeded, these great, soulful thinkers would have considered it "Boffo."
At least they should watch television. Five months ago, MSNBC reported how explosives could be sneaked onto airplanes. When shown the evidence, Tom Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission, was "appalled and dismayed." (Yet again.) That was last March. That gaping hole in airport security still exists.
Forget for a moment the sheer callousness of considering a terrorist plot something you'd "rather be talking about" and that will "play big." Instead, let's just look at the reality of the situation. Real reality, not that neocon alternative reality stuff.
First, the plot was uncovered not by any American entity, but rather the British. Many months ago. And then followed up with Pakistan. Only later did anyone eventually get around to informing the Americans.
Second, in the five years since 9/11, for all the Administration's stomping over civil and human rights, wiretapping without warrants, Gitmo abuses, winking at torture - after all that, after five years of begging for trust - water just got banned from flights.
And toothpaste. And deodorant.
Here's that reality:
Someone else found these guys. And it took five years of protecting you for the Bush Administration to finally figure out to ban water.
And Republicans think this is going to "play big"?? Then again, these are the same people who bizarrely want to campaign on the Iraq War - despite the public wanting troops out by 61%-34%.
Here is the lesson from this arrest: the international community acted in concert superbly and uncovered a plot and stopped it. International cooperation is critical in stopping terrorism.
Yet, for five years, in its topsy-turvy world of alternative reality, the Bush Administration has been doing the very opposite. Isolating America from the world. Becoming hated by nations we should be embracing to fight terrorism.
And Republicans think this terrorist plot and arrest is going to "play big"??! This will play big like "Ishtar" played big. Except when that bombed, there was no literal danger.
It is absolutely wonderful that the plot was uncovered many months ago. Fighting terrorism should, indeed, be a significant priority.
But to actually fight terrorism, America should be implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report. Increase port security. Develop biometric airport scanners. Build an inter-operative emergency communications system. Increase first responders. And so much more.
Such programs takes a lot of money. Imagine, however, if we had $2 billion every single week to spend on safety. That's what the Iraq War costs. That's why withdrawing troops benefits America for actually fighting terrorism.
Not to mention not adding to the 22,000 American deaths and casualties.
We've spent $300 billion fighting the War in Iraq. Imagine if, right now, all of that had already been spent in America to apply the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Take a moment...
Just think of how far ahead fighting terrorism we'd be! The entire world was ready to join us, united right after 9/11.
But it was thrown away, along with $300 billion - and 2,800 American lives - on a country where no WMDs were found, where no terror connections with the government were found and where no involvement with the 9/11 attacks was found.
For any Republican officials to think that these terror arrests will "play big" and are what they'd "rather be talking about" - and that voting for Ned Lamont, as Dick Cheney screeds, is aiding the "al Qaeda types" - they are playing a foolish game, and are themselves putting America at risk.
Indeed, discovering these terrorists and the plot itself show that the current Administration has screwed up. For five years.
Or as Daily Variety might put it, "Bush League Sinks with Closing Weekend B.O."