As ISIS Roars, The GOP Resurrects ‘The Politics Of Fear’

With the midterms a mere six weeks away and Islamic extremists back in the headlines, Republican candidates are taking a page out of the GOP’s early 2000s playbook by portraying their Democratic opponents as being soft on terror.

The strategy was a clear winner for the GOP in the years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. George W. Bush and his neocon advisers spun America’s very-real and very-warranted fears into political gold, expanding their congressional majority and sealing another presidential term in no small part by using the Ground Zero nightmare as a political weapon.

Of course, things are different today as the U.S. continues airstrikes against the terrorist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. There has been no attack on the homeland – ISIS is terrorizing innocents across the Middle East. So whether the GOP’s fear mongering ads work this time around is yet to be seen. But candidates are certainly willing to try.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell disagreed, saying the ads are “effective at this point.”

“They’re rallying the Republican base, which is concerned the president isn’t going far enough … national security has always been a GOP priority,” said O’Connell.

According to a CBS News/New York Times poll released last week, 57% of Americans don’t think Obama is being tough enough in dealing with ISIS. While 50% of Democrats think Obama’s approach is about right, the majority of Republicans –83% – believe the president should more aggressively go after ISIS.

Read more from Aliyah Frumin at

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Analysis & Political Strategy