Al Qaeda and the 2008 presidential race, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" Memo.
Presidential Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend answered press questions today about a national intelligence report that says Al Qaeda is getting stronger. According to the Bush administration, the chaos in Pakistan is a primary cause of that.
Not good news, because the Bush administration has spent billions trying to destroy Al Qaeda over the past six years. But the threat from Al Qaeda is a strong Republican issue. And President Bush knows it. So if Americans are dialed into that threat, they are more likely to cut the president some slack in Iraq and the terror war in general.
It's interesting to note that Stratfor, a private intelligence outfit that has been very accurate, disputes the Al Qaeda analysis. On its website, Stratfor says "Bin Laden is probably gone for good, and Al Qaeda likely lacks the ability to strike in any strategically meaningful way."
Now on the other side, the left understands that if Al Qaeda does strike America, it will be in deep trouble. Liberal stands against Guantanamo, NSA listening, and other anti-terror measures will come back to haunt the left. So their strategy is to paint President Bush as soft on bin Laden and dumb on Iraq.
In the newspaper Newsday, a daily promotion for liberal causes, one columnist said this; "Our well-rested president has not found bin Laden...[instead] Marshal Bush rode down out of the hills with his posse against Iraq. They lynched Hussein, murdered his two sons and tried mightily - without success - to link the dictator to bin Laden..."
Of course, the Iraqis hanged Saddam and his sons were killed in a shootout with U.S. troops. But it's Newsday, so what do you expect?
Anyway, the central theme of that column is a theme the Democratic Party will use if terrorists hit us again. That Bush failed to neutralize Al Qaeda and wasted American resources in Iraq.
"Talking Points" believes both the right and the left are playing games to some extent. Certainly, Al Qaeda remains dangerous, but the only way to hit them is to invade Pakistan. Do the Democrats want to do that?
On the other hand, it would be a tragedy if after all the blood and treasure Americans have sacrificed, Al Qaeda has not been badly damaged.
America should be united in fighting these savages, but we're not. Ideology has poisoned a reasoned, disciplined approach to defeating the jihadists. America's great strength, diversity of thought, can also be a weakness. And Al Qaeda knows it.
The old saying goes, "United we stand, divided we fall." Well, we're divided. And that's the Memo.
Most Ridiculous Item
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." As we mentioned, JetBlue is sponsoring a far left hate web site. And I didn't know this until yesterday, but one of JetBlue's initial investors was far-left financier George Soros. Aha! But not so fast.
It seems that Soros has been dumping stock recently, selling almost two million shares. Since the stock is way down, Soros is getting out on the low end, which may be ridiculous, but maybe the guy knows something we don't.
—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York.