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Could the 2016 election hinge on whether or not to close Gitmo?

Elections are quirky, and often unpredictable. Sometimes there are broad themes that shape races.

Bill Clinton had “it’s the economy, stupid!” as his mantra.

Ronald Reagan promised us the vision that “it’s morning again in America.”

Less remembered today, but very effective then, was Dick Cheney’s refrain during his 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican convention, “Help is on the way!”

And sometimes it’s one single issue, one event, which shapes an election, for better or worse.

Michael Dukakis had Willie Horton.

JFK had his “missile gap.” Against the background of an intensifying Cold War, and Americans nervous about the Soviet’s “Sputnik” and our failures to launch a satellite, the idea that we were at the mercy of Khrushchev’s missiles, which he claimed the USSR was turning out “like sausages” propelled Kennedy to the nomination, and the win over Nixon.

And then there’s Bush 41’s “read my lips, no new taxes.”

The day after the terrorist attack in Paris, and the overall deteriorating situation throughout the Middle East, it ‘s not unreasonable to surmise that national security will turn  out to be the key issue in the 2016 election.

After all,  to use the vernacular, it seems that the “junior varsity” terrorists got game.

Obama is in way over his head, and sadly,  it will only get worse these next two years.

“National security,” as a campaign issue in 2016, will cover many areas: securing our border, Benghazi, the beheading of innocent Americans,  the rise of ISIS…. to name but a few.

The first thing Obama did upon taking office was to announce that he was issuing an executive order to close Gitmo, without a plan in place to do so, and without the consent of the Congress, including many Democrats.

He’e been releasing prisoners over the years, sending them to places like Yemen, where they will supposedly be supervised and rehabilitated.  As if.

Many of those released have return to the battle. The “worst of the worst” remain incarcerated.

Even worse, if and when we capture terrorists, we are giving them lawyers and putting them into the criminal justice system. We have lost any ability to interrogate them, and thus to gain valuable intelligence that can prevent future attacks. Be assured the French  will are not extending any “rights” to anyone they grab  in connection with yesterday’s attacks.

I expect Obama to continue to try and empty out Gitmo before he leaves office. It’s a legacy thing for him, man. And because of that, anyone who runs for the White House will have to take a stand on the question.

No equivocation. Either utter  clear, definitive “yes, shut it down, and move everyone into the Federal system, or ship then to Qatar” or “no, keep it open, put more terrorists in there, and vigorously interrogated them.

We have forgotten how the Democrats successfully made Gitmo an issue, and demonized the Bush administration for supposedly “not acting according to America’s values.”

That’s not going to work this time, because everything Obama has said and done has turned out to be wrong.

Any every Democrat contemplating the WH has come out in favor of closing Gitmo. Well, there’s Jim Webb…he’s flipped flopped..in Kerryesque fashion, Webb was first in favor  of closing Gitmo, but now he’s opposed to the idea.

Gitmo will resonate. It’s short, catchy..monosyllabic. Doesn’t quite have the cachet of, say..”Remember the Alamo,” but most Americans today do know Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth” soliloquy from “A Few Good Men”

This time, the truth will out.

Sadly, I do believe we will see an attack like that in Paris here in the US in the next two years. Innocent Americans will die. And the question of who best can protect us going forward will dominate the 2016 election.

And if Democrats insist that they can best do that by closing Gitmo, that could well be the issue that decides the election.

 

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