Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Monday, April 19, 2004
An Idea I Hope AQ Doesn't Get

Nick Confessore at Tapped reads Rice's worry about terror attacks that are intended to affect our election as a possible attempt to suppress turnout.

"I think we also have to take seriously that they might try during the cycle leading up to the election to do something," she said. "In some ways, it seems like it would be too good to pass up for them, and so we are actively looking at that possibility, actively trying to make certain that we are responding appropriately."

She added: "The hard thing about terrorism is that they only have to be right once, and we have to be right 100 percent of the time. And nobody can be certain there won't be another attack. But, of course, we are concerned about the election cycle."

This comes a little too close to trying to talk down voter turnout for my comfort. I do want the administration -- any administration -- to be vigilant. But rap against the White House regarding the summer 2001 warnings was that they ignored relatively specific, credible intelligence regarding an attack that was imminent. This time around, the Times reports, even the now-very-on-alert CIA says "abroad, like at home, they have heard nothing that suggests an imminent attack."

I think Confessore is misreading Rice here (sorry). She's clearly talking about attacks during the runup to the election, intended -- maybe -- to influence the election, as -- maybe -- happened in Spain. (Never mind which way the influence would go -- we don't want to get back into that they-think-that-we-think-that-they-think stuff again, do we?) Note the words "during the cycle leading up to the election". (It does, however, make me uneasy about attending the Democratic Convention, which I expect to be able to do through my Extensive Media Contacts...but believe me, I thought of that months ago.)

Having said that, what would be really nasty would be for a couple of bombs to go off at polling places early on Election Day...but only in cities, by which I mean predominately Democratic areas...and only in tossup states. If that happened, wouldn't you wonder if someone was very specifically trying to suppress Democratic turnout?

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