Much as it pains me to defend Dick Cheney, it seems to me as though his alleged "scare tactics" vis a vis the threat of terror if we make the "wrong choice" on Election Day rest on a straightforward misreading of his statement. Here's what most of the articles I've seen are quoting:
Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.
Here's the full relevant statement from the transcript:
Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
Most of the reports either omit the rest of the quotation entirely, or append it elsewhere, as though they weren't part of one long, multi-clause sentence. As I read this, he's not saying the danger is that if we elect Kerry, then the danger is that we'll be attacked. He's saying that if we elect Kerry and we're attacked, then the danger is that we'll treat it as a criminal act rather than an act of war. And in context, it's actually pretty transparent that this is what Cheney intended. So transparent once you look at the full transcript, in fact, that I wonder whether some of the misreading isn't deliberate, either as a partisan tactic or an attempt to generate a news story.