Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2001 / 1 Kislev, 5762
You are all incumbents
SENATORS and Congressmen, in the post 9-11 environment, must forget their
partisan labels and understand that they will rise or fall together. They
are no longer Democrats or Republicans. They are simply incumbents.
If the dual issues of the war and the economy work out, it will benefit
all incumbents of either party. If they don't, all will suffer. This new
axiom is true particularly if partisan wrangling stymies either the war
effort or the drive to recover the nation's economic momentum after Bin
The current incipient stalemate between the parties over the economic
stimulus package is not a debate whose outcome will aid either Democrats or
Republicans. If it hardens into a deadlock, it will injure all incumbents of
either party. If talks lead to a joint package which passes and works, all
will be helped.
The national mood will not permit voters to examine the detailed
arguments of each party to decide if Democrats are really giving away the
farm in new spending or if Republicans are just seeking to feather the nests
of the wealthy. The sense of national danger is just too great for these
normal political and partisan considerations to hold center stage.
Americans will see only one issue in the debate over the nature of the
stimulus: is there action or inaction?
Voters see the need for economic stimulus as a war-related measure. They
grasp that Bin Laden sought not just to topple the Twin Towers but the
economy they symbolized as well. Americans grasp that if he is able to throw
the world into a recession with 19 suicidal terrorists that he will have won
in his bid to destabilize our society. If we do not have a full blown
recession, he will have lost. And Americans believe it is vital that he lose.
This is simply not the right time for either party to push its pet
agenda. Each must reach out and embrace part of the others' priorities in
order to get a package passed quickly. Partisan fighting and sniping will be
such a massive turnoff for all voters that the underlying issues will never
get a fair hearing in this environment.
Our wounded, tender nation looks to Washington in this crisis like
children look to their parents. When Mommy and Daddy are fighting, yelling,
and screaming, the child doesn't look to the underlying issues to find virtue
or fault. He or she just knows that his world is threatened and that his
parents are fighting.
It is in that light that the voters see partisan controversy and woe to
the party or politicians who take part in it. This is not the
JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, The New Prince. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Dick Morris