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Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2001 / 1 Kislev, 5762

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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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 Laden's blows.

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 time.

JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, The New Prince. Comment by clicking here.


11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2001, Dick Morris