Spain Is The New France

11-M, as the Spanish have named the Madrid train bombings (and who else should name them?), was in many ways almost eagerly anticipated by opinion peddlers, maunderers, and litterers.  Benumbed by the prospect of eight more months of fact-checking Lee Atwater’s posthumous exhalations, charges of appeasement flew fast and furious as hawks both neo- and paleo- remembered what they loved about the war as a campaign issue: its clarity.  Krauthammer declared Spain "decadent," and the wags at The Corner vied with Charles Johnson to be the first to lead a post with the Spanish translation of "surrender monkeys."

As handy an analogy as Munich is, it doesn’t really apply (if indeed it ever did).  As Krauthammer points out, no one could seriously believe that ejecting Aznar’s party would reduce Spain’s risk of attack from Al Qaeda.  The corrolary of this principle is that no one should seriously believe that re-electing the Popular Party would increase Al Qaeda’s desire to attack Spain; everything we know about Al Qaeda suggests that we are simply props in their internal fantasy, and modifying our policies in the hope that we can deter or discomfit Al Qaeda is to engage in psychological shadow boxing with an invisible shadow.  Might it then be more plausible to assume that the Spanish voters were motivated by factors other than how their nation figures in the dramatic narratives of either Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush?  Particularly when you consider the reports the Socialists were gaining on the PP prior to 11-M, and that Spaniards themselves stated that a chief motive for their rejection of the PP was that they didn’t appreciate being deceived on the eve of an election.  This is what really alarms Bush’s supporters: the refusal by an elecorate to see everything through the lens of the "war on terror."

Kevin Drum asks: how does it serve Bush-supporters’ interests to breezily generalize this single electoral result into a trend threatening to alienate all of Bush’s European allies?  Perhaps the recent Wonkette-driven Punking of the Bush re-election site unintentionally (?) handed Rove the campaign’s new theme: "Bush-Cheney '04: Thrown Out of More European Countries Than the Visigoths."

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