Few would dispute that the economy is the issue in this election. (Or, as my stepson Ben likes to quote from Joe Biden in 2008, the key for the middle class is a three-letter word: jobs, J-O-B-S.) So who cares about foreign policy and national security? Actually, national security is a major issue for Midwestern states such as Ohio, even if it is not the necessarily the number one issue.
As the Heritage Foundation reports, four of the 50 terrorist plots prevented since 9/11 have had a nexus with Ohio, including a foiled plot to bomb an Ohio shopping mall, a terrorist from Columbus convicted for providing material support to al-Qaeda to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, three men convicted in Toledo for plotting to commit acts of terror against Americans overseas, and Christopher Paul, a Columbus citizen who was arrested for conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against targets in Europe and the United States, and who agreed to a plea deal under which he is serving 20 years in prison.
The threat is not just to the coasts, it is to the heartland. And so is the sacrifice. Having embedded in 2004 as a contributor for National Review Online with Ohio troops in Iraq, I can tell you firsthand about the sons and daughters that the Midwest sends into harm’s way. This is an issue that touches families throughout Ohio and the Midwest.
While the American people rally behind their president in wartime, there are limits to their support. When a coordinated attack is made on U.S. embassies on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 by al-Qaeda, when a U.S. ambassador is killed and dragged through the streets after calls for additional security at U.S. embassies went unheeded, and when the black flag of al-Qaeda is raised over U.S. soil, while the response from the U.S. is at best a whimper at worst and a surrender on free speech — then the patience of those who send their sons and daughters into harm’s way is tested.
— Robert Alt is contributor to National Review Online, and is President of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions.
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