First Posted: 1/15/2009
Sometimes a proposal is so bad that it suggests the one who filled the trial balloon with helium might have been inhaling some on the side.
That's what we think of a proposal that floated out of Tom Ridge's Homeland Security Department within the past week that the Nov. 2 election should be delayed if al-Qaida launches an attack inside the United States close to that date. Thankfully, all indications are that the trial balloon was shot down quickly.
Apparently some in the Homeland Security Department, using the elections in Spain as a model, are worried that al-Qaida could score a political victory by affecting the outcomes on the Election Day. But the postscript to the Spain election is this: The ouster of the previous prime minister had less to do with his support of the Iraq war than with his government's decision to mislead the people who were responsible for the train bombings in Madrid. There was a backlash to the deception.
We continue to hold firm to our belief that al-Qaida will not launch an attack inside this country before Election Day. We believe that Osama bin Laden badly underestimated this nation's response to 9/11 and doesn't want to risk a repeat, preferring instead to see who the president is on Jan. 20, 2005. We also believe bin Laden might calculate that such an attack would bolster Bush's re-election chances because all polls show that Americans believe the sitting president is the more determined of the two candidates in his pledge to fight the terror war.
Having said all that, we recognize that al-Qaida has been badly splintered, and that an attack by a rogue splinter group cannot be ruled out.
If that happens near Nov. 2, the elections should go on as scheduled. To postpone them would demonstrate to the terrorists that they can affect our political system. We trust Americans to go to the polls and cast their ballots for whomever they believe can best lead this nation during troubled times.