You can feel it, like a thunderstorm just off the edge of the horizon, when the leaves on the trees curl inward and the air feels charged and the hair stands up on your arm.
Or maybe it’s a drumbeat that you hear in the distance, growing louder so slowly that you don’t even really notice until suddenly you realize some moron is banging on a snare drum next to your ear: we’ve got to re-elect George W. Bush because of, um, you know. The war on terror! And stuff.
I know: any rational person would look at Bush’s record in the war on terror so far and run screaming to any other candidate. But we’re not talking about rationality here. We’re talking about appeals to the base emotions of fear and anger.
And you can bet Karl Rove’s been planning to roll this one out for about one year and eleven months now.
It’s already starting to rear its ugly head on the right wing blogs, which have kind of become the farm team of stupid right wing talking points (or maybe more accurately the farm team’s farm team). And it peers out in this excruciatingly wrong-headed (is there any other kind?) Wall Street Journal editorial about the need to install Ahmed Chalabi as our chosen puppet-leader in Iraq:
Open debate is obviously meaningless to those whose only experience of government is ruthless autocracy. What they think they see is division and fear and these encourage a return to their earlier perception of American degeneracy. Such a return could have dangerous consequences, including a renewal and extension of terrorist attacks in America. By terrorist attacks, they believe, they will encourage those whose response is to say, “Let’s get out of here” perhaps even procure the election of a new administration dedicated to this policy. (Emphasis added.)
Get it? The terrorists want you to vote Democratic.
There’ll be plenty more of this in the weeks and months ahead. Watch for it.