Friday, July 16, 2004

The American Enterprise Institute chimes in today on the wisdom of planning a Bush coup d'etat in November.
Long before the Madrid terrorist bombings, it was clear that the 2004 American presidential election would be a prime target for al Qaeda. Now that threat has been made even more concrete and tangible by the warning from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. And the need to protect against the worst kinds of disruptions caused by an attack has been crystallized by a letter sent to Ridge by DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission, warning that no agency has the authority to suspend or postpone a presidential election if a disaster occurs.

No doubt the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and other agencies will work to their utmost to prevent an attack or attacks targeting our elections. But that is not enough. Should an attack occur, there are dozens of unanswered questions, along with gaps in law and the Constitution, that could create chaos or worse. The failure so far to grapple with the problems has left us with precious little time to fill the most serious gaps.
Note that Ornstein goes beyond simply postponing to suggest the election might be suspended indefinitely.  Condi Rice publicly turned down the idea earlier this week (why is the National Security Advisor the one to speak out on this?), but clearly the neocons at AEI -- the Bush administration's intellectual shock troops -- are determined to keep the idea alive.

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