Democrats from the beginning should have argued "The Fight Against Terrorism" within the "Criminal Justice" frame. The U.S. deals with domestic terrorists, abortion bombers and the Timothy McVeighs, within this frame. Why the difference with Osama and friends? Terrorism, whether domestic or international, is an expression of idealogy through the illegitimate use of deadly force to instill fear and panic in the civilian population. Terrorism, as an continuous threat to society, rightly belongs within the confines of criminal justice. Osama is a criminal, nothing more.
The distressing aspect of this situation is that the Democrats have not only failed to frame this to their advantage, but they have also even failed to use the "War in Terrorism" frame to any benefit. They should have used it to address anti-abortion and white supremacy violence and make Bush uncomfortable in the process.