The great politico Roger Simon visits the future and comes back with the story of John McCain's capture of the presidency. Or, as he tells it:
In a universe parallel to our own, John McCain awoke on January 20, 2009, to prepare for his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States.
I am begging to have someone correct me, but I don't think "parallel universes" are on different chronologies than this one. Nevertheless, McCain wins the primaries, is fighting the Edwards/Obama ticket to a standstill, and then right before the election terrorists try to blow up the Gateway to the West and are stopped by a burly lone American.
Though the nation was stunned—there was no loss of American lives this time, but terrorists had struck deep inside the country—the political upside to McCain was obvious. Not only was he running as a strong, mature leader who could protect the nation, but his progun stance now seemed more justified than ever by the actions of America's newest action hero, Timothy Roop.
The public was told nothing about who the terrorists were except that, to the dismay of the Minutemen guarding the Mexican border, they had entered the United States from Canada.
First off, I hope that this parallel universe hero gets a show on the Spike channel and it is dubbed "Roop! There It Is!" More seriously, what would be the impact of a terrorist attack in 2008? In 2004, everyone basically agrees that the mere emergence of an Osama bin Laden tape inspired a mass trouser prolapse that cost Kerry thousands of votes and possibly the presidency. A successful Republican spin at the time was "By golly,* if bin Laden could have attacked us, he would have! This is a sign of how weak he is!" A terrorist attack in 2008 would come seven years after 9/11 and five years after the start of the Iraq war.
In Simon's fantasy the Democrats end the Iraq war this year; in that scenario, it's possible to imagine the GOP spinning that the terrorists were able to attack because we sheathed our swords and fled from a battle we were winning. If, as is more likely, we are still in Iraq and a terrorist attack explodes deep into American territory, the last rationale for the war is obliterated, as would be the GOP.
*I think only Zell Miller said that part.