With the course the Democratic race has taken in the last couple of days leading to today's Pennsylvania primary, we are given a very good test case for guaging the Politics of Fear.
Senator Hillary Clinton has a new ad that describes the presidency as "the toughest job in the world. You need to be ready for anything-especially now, with two wars, oil prices skyrocketing, and an economy in crisis." The ad quotes Harry Truman-"if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen"- and concludes with this question: "Who do you think has what it takes?"
Among the images in the ad is one of Osama bin Laden.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton responds:
"It's ironic that she would borrow the president's tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points," Burton said.
"We already have a president who plays the politics of fear, and we don't need another."
Got it? Invoking Osama bin Laden to score political points is Bad, Bad, Bad, Politics of Fear.
Now, let's compare and contrast.
Obama: The Bush-McCain decision to take our eye off of Afghanistan to launch a misguided war in Iraq diverted resources from the fight against terrorism, allowed Osama bin Laden to escape justice, and has enabled al Qaeda's core leadership to reconstitute a sanctuary in northwest Pakistan.
Obama: Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan because the Bush-McCain war in Iraq diverted resources from Afghanistan and allowed al Qaeda to escape into Pakistan."
Obama: Every time we send units to serve tour after tour of duty in Iraq, we limit our ability to deal with other crises. Every month that we're spending $8 billion in Iraq, we neglect other priorities. Every time we hear a plea for more support in Afghanistan or get another message from Osama bin Laden, we're reminded that this war has distracted us from real threats.
If you're confused, you may have a condition called Nuance Deficit Disorder (NDD). Invoking Osama bin Laden to score political points is Bad Politics of Fear when used by Republicans. Invoking Osama bin Laden to score political points is Good Politics of Fear when used against Republicans generally and President Bush specifically.
To further test for the presence of NDD, let's return to Burton:
Senator Clinton voted with President Bush to authorize the war in Iraq, she made a tragically bad decision that diverted our military from the terrorists who attacked us, and allowed Osama bin Laden to escape and regenerate his terrorist network.
Now, is invoking Osama bin Laden to score political points Good Politics of Fear or Bad Politics of Fear when used by a Democrat against a fellow Democrat?
If your answer is some variant of "WTF?", your NDD is completely normal as your nuance deficiency falls within the preferred range for mentally stable and healthy adults.
However, for those who persist in trying to make sense of the various scenarios presented, please consider: when Politics of Fear was used by Hillary against Obama -- Burton cries foul by using Politics of Fear against Hillary.
Does that sound rational? Logical?
If you answer yes, you have Nuance Hyperactivity Disorder (NHD).
If these symptoms last for more than four hours, consult a physician immediately.
Other symptoms of NHD may include: abdominal pain, sore throat, agitation, an inability to feel pride for one's country, constipation, irrational fears of a coming Christofascist theocracy, decreased sex drive, diarrhea or loose stools, sleepiness, dizziness, hallucinations of black helicopters above your house, fatigue, tingling that runs up your leg, gas, visions of impeachment dancing in your head, decreased appetite, anxiety, increased sweating, dreams from your father, uncontrollable cursing at images of Bush, indigestion, an insatiable desire for change, insomnia, dry mouth, headache, fainting, swooning, nausea, nervousness, rash, pain, tremor, vision problems and vomiting.