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Jeff Koopersmith: When A Tough Guy President Fails

Inviting Osama bin Laden to the Oval Office

By Jeff Koopersmith

As I was watching the somewhat obsessive Bob Woodward on “Charlie Rose” the other night, I was flabbergasted by Woodward’s insight when he said that Americans may re-elect George W. Bush because voters see him as a “tough guy.” His reasoning is that in these times, voters may believe that a roughhouse president is what the nation needs to combat what Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge believes will be an inevitable follow-up attack on the United States by Islamic fundamentalists, alive and well in Afghanistan and Pakistan despite what the White House tells us. [Read more…]

John Howard: We Are Allied With A Just Cause

Prime Minister John HowardThe Prime Minister, John Howard, has given a speech in which he sets out the so-called “intellectual argument” in favour of Australia’s involvement in the United States-led attacks on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Speaking in Melbourne tonight, at the mid-way point in the election campaign, Howard said: “The cause with which we are allied is just. It is no simple act of revenge. It is no knee-jerk response to combat terror with terror in return. It fits completely within the measured guidelines advocated by the UN, that all nations should do their utmost to banish terrorism from the face of the earth, and that ‘the force we use to fight it should always be proportional and focused’.”

In making the speech, Howard has again injected a defence and security component into the election campaign. The speech comes at a time when opinion polls show the government’s campaign on “leadership” faltering in the face of the ALP’s emphasis on domestic issues such as health, education and the GST.

The speech reiterates points Howard has already made in recent weeks. He lays the blame for the terrorist attacks on Bin Laden and the Taliban government of Afghanistan: “No one now doubts that the Al Qaida network, led by Usama bin Laden, was responsible for the attacks and that the Taliban has allowed Afghanistan to become a safe haven for international terrorism. Bin Laden’s hatred for the United States, and for a world system built on individual freedom, religious tolerance, democracy, and the international free flow of commerce, is non-negotiable.” [Read more…]