THE LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDRELS….A few days ago I remarked that although Democrats would like corruption to be the primary issue in this year’s midterm elections, the White House still has something to say about that. Today the New York Times reports that Karl Rove gave a speech in which “he left little doubt that once again ? as has been the case in both national elections since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ? that he was intent on making national security the pre-eminent issue in 2006.” Here’s what Rove said:

The United States faces a ruthless enemy, and we need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment America finds itself in. President Bush and the Republican Party do. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many Democrats.

Let me be as clear as I can be: President Bush believes if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they’re calling and why. Some important Democrats clearly disagree.

Now don’t get me wrong here. Corruption is a good issue for Dems if they can bring themselves to stop being so damn timid about it, and it’s also possible that Republicans will eventually discover that they’ve gone to the terrorism well once too often. Maybe.

But I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. Banging away on both corruption and the broader topic of Republican fealty to corporate special interests may help Democrats at the polls this year, but I don’t think national security is going away either. Unfortunately, I’m not getting a sense that Dems are spending much time thinking about that.