In Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory speech on Tuesday, he boldy stated that “our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation – they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime … In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.”
Politico’s Josh Gerstein today reported on how Brown’s victory — and views on terrorism — may impact President Barack Obama’s anti-terrorism agenda, which to date has included plans to shut-down Guantanamo Bay, moving those prisoners to the mainland United States, and trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed plus five other terrorists in a civilian court in New York City, rather than before a military tribunal.
This is a game changer. I think all this stuff is up in the air,” said Bill Martel, a professor of international security studies at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “My sense is this is an issue of tremendous political vulnerability for the White House and I think what Brown and other Republicans are signaling to the White House is this is going to require a higher level of scrutiny. …Operating under the assumption that we use the status-quo policy, it’s going to be very hard to accomplish what the White House wants to accomplish.
Heritage’s Sally McNamara wrote yesterday that much of President Obama’s intense popularity in Europe stems from deciding to close Guantanamo and decrying America’s record on ‘torture.” But according to Politico’s report, those issues may not be playing so well at home. From Politico’s interview with pollster Neil Newhouse, an advisor to Brown:
Newhouse told POLITICO that he was initially dubious about gaining traction on the issue but … put a question on terrorism out on two nights of polling in early January. “It really tested through the roof,” the pollster said. “There’s no question that this played a role in defining the candidates and framing their values.”
“On the issue of dealing with accused terrorists, for whom would you vote for U.S. Senate if you knew that Scott Brown believes that accused terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants and face military justice [and] Martha Coakley believes that accused terrorists should be provided constitutional rights and tried in civilian courts?” the Brown camp’s poll asked. Respondents split 61% to 29% in Brown’s favor, Newhouse said.