Given the brouhaha surrounding the crass comments by McCain aide Charlie Black that an attack on U.S. soil would give Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., "a big advantage" politically in his race against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., it’s worth recalling that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, in August 2007, while campaigning in Concord, NH, similarly noted the political advantage a terrorist attack might give the Republican candidate.
"It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself, ‘What if? What if?’ But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," Clinton told supporters in Concord. "So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that."
Hillary was pilloried for the comments at the time, with then-rivals such as Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn, saying, "Frankly, I find it tasteless to discuss political implications when talking about a potential terrorist attack on the United States."
Black’s comments were less carefully phrased than Clinton’s, clearly, but the general idea is the same: national security is an area where Republicans have an advantage, and a terrorist attack — God forbid — would make that issue more compelling in the minds of voters.
Of course, how one discusses such issues is crucial.
Hat tip, Finkelstein.