The “campaign architect,” as he is commonly called, built a case against President Barack Obama’s order to close Guantanamo, an overseas CIA detention center where terrorists and other “enemy combatants” are held. Obama’s order could enable terrorists to be tried in U.S. courts, to be given undeserved rights afforded American citizens and could cause damaging long-term effects, Rove said.
“One year from now, Gitmo won’t be closed,” Rove said. “If it is, there will be an uproar in the U.S. about where to put these people.”
Interrogation tactics used by the CIA during Bush’s term in office were not torturous, Rove said, but he did not deny that the CIA strongly pressed terrorists for vital information.
“You bet we squeeze them for information,” Rove said. “If we hadn’t, those same terrorists could have executed their plans to kill, and [people] would be asking why Bush didn’t protect American soldiers’ lives.”
That's going to be the strategy going forward. If Obama closes Guantanamo, terrorists will be shopping next to you at the Pic 'n' Save. Before long, there will be a TV ad with a revolving door at the gates of a prison, and a closeup on a bearded Muslim face while the voice-over intones "America can't afford that risk."
We have, then, the outliines of a political strategy for the next election. President Obama and the librul Congress want terrorists to work in your office while tough daddy Republicans want to keep you safe. Never mind that it's the height of weakness to think that maximum security prisons aren't sufficient, or that our security can only be bought with a loss of liberty.
You'll note that the lie quotient since Republicans have lost power has, if anything, been raised. But these kinds of appeals to emotion, to safety and protection and xenophobia, have a resonance in the lizard brain. I wouldn't discount them, nor would I combat them solely with an appeal to reason. There has to be an emotional counterpart, perhaps from pointing out how being terrified by the prospect of prisoners in a nearby prison is a triumph of terrorism, and the ultimate weakness.