William Safire must not have cable TV, internet, or newspaper delivery wherever he is spending is retirement. He writes:
“Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country,” he cried angrily. “Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.” Who’s telling him that? By escalating criticism, he knocked down a straw man, the oldest speechifying trick in the book. He promised to “restore our moral standing” (shades of Jimmy Carter) “so that America is once more the last, best hope for” (Lincoln wrote of) “all who are called to the cause of freedom” (shades of George W. Bush). But does he apply that idealist “cause of freedom” to the invaded Georgians? He didn’t say.
You have absolutely got to be kidding me. Who is telling him that? That claim–that Democrats won't defend you–has been the cornerstone of the right's argument against the Democrats for seven years–made in various forms by nearly every one of their intellectual and political superstars.
But he's right. It is a straw man.