Wartime elections are nothing new for this country. We held one during the Civil War, the only nation ever to do so and, in 1944, during World War II, Republicans waged such a vigorous campaign against Franklin Roosevelt, he feared he would lose. Democracies understand what elections are about; the terrorists may not, and that is why I believe the president and John Kerry should take an extraordinary step.
The president's running as a war president; Kerry is a critic of how the war is being run. Fine, that's what elections should be about. But when, that had to encourage the terrorists. That leaves us at a dangerous moment, perhaps the most dangerous moment since 9/11.
So here is what I propose. Kerry and the president should hold a joint news conference. Kerry should reiterate that whatever their differences, he agrees with the president that terrorism threatens our way of life, that he will not allow terrorists to intimidate America and, if elected, he will never back away from the fight against them. The president should then say that on this issue he takes the senator at his word. Then the two of them should campaign across the country debating the only question about terrorism that matters: the best way to defeat it.
The terrorists must draw only one conclusion from our election: Whoever wins, they lose.