Does the Bush administration get serious about national security around election time as a cynical ploy to shape the vote? Or does the administration understand that the most opportune time to present serious issues to Congress is during the campaign stretch run when Congressmen are most accountable to the people?

We have seen a plethora of stories purporting to explain how Karl Rove leverages elections with hot-button issues (implying that politics drives policy). I suggest that the Bush administration uses key moments of vulnerability to leverage politicians into tackling hard issues that ordinarily they are reluctant to address.

For example, consider the vote on the Iraq war prior to the election of 2002 in which the President garnered an overwhelming authorization to use force: Was he using the war vote to win the mid-term election? More likely, he used the mid-term election to pocket a resounding affirmation for his policy (taking advantage of politics to achieve policy).