Let's face it: "The sky is falling" or "the nukes are coming" is a frighteningly effective sales pitch.
Don't get me wrong: North Korea testing a nuke is real bad news. But I couldn't help but wonder what political use Karl Rove and the president would put this real bad news to. After all, banging the fear gong and trying to scare the hell out of us has worked like a charm for President Bush and the GOP.
Ever since 9/11, "be afraid" has been their No. 1 talking point. They sold us on invading Iraq with warnings from Condoleezza Rice that the "smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud" and dire predictions from Bush and Cheney about all the ways Saddam could rain death and destruction on us. And it's remarkable how the terror rhetoric always seems to hit Red just before elections.
Whether it's the specter of North Korean nukes or Iraqi insurgents making their way to Main Street USA, fear is a powerful, universal emotion — always there to be exploited. So as Election Day draws near, be on the lookout for those attempting to scare us into voting our fears.
To quote FDR, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And those who use it for their own political purposes.
Arianna Huffington is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of 10 books and co-founder and editor of the HuffingtonPost.com. She is also co-host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's popular political roundtable program. Her weekly commentary is syndicated in newspapers across the country by Tribune Media Services.
On May 9, she launched The Huffington Post, an Internet publishing venture featuring an innovative group blog where some of this country's most creative minds weigh in on topics great and small, political and cultural, important or just plain entertaining.
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