: Josh Marshall advises:

The Kerry campaign went up with an ad today in response to the president’s new round of negative ads. The Kerry one took aim at the president’s claims about the economy.

But Kerry really needs to hit back on defense too. Now.

Yes, I want to see defense and homeland security as issues in this campaign.

But when I go to Kerry’s site, and look at the box on the upper-right of the page, listing big issues — Economy & Jobs, Education, Health Care… — defense isn’t even listed.

Homeland Security is listed but going there gives you ideas about expanding Americorps and its role in Homeland Security but nothing about defense.

In other words, there’s nothing about going to get the bad guys where they fester.

If I click through under foreign policy, I finally find a speech with this:

At the core of this conflict is a fundamental struggle of ideas. Of democracy and tolerance against those who would use any means and attack any target to impose their narrow views.

The War on Terror is not a clash of civilizations. It is a clash of civilization against chaos; of the best hopes of humanity against dogmatic fears of progress and the future.

That’s the ticket.

But I want to hear the guy say he will not rest until he gets the bad guys. I want to hear the guy say he will spare nothing to defend us. As Marshall says, I want to see him talk defense. Now.

But the talk is spare and hidden.

Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds went looking for a statement from Kerry on the horror in Madrid. He finally found it. But this, too, was hidden.

Kerry is still acting as if he’s up against Howard Dean, scared of his own military shadow.

He’s up against George Bush and he better come out tough on terrorism — he’d better talk and act as if we are at war, because we are — and he better be loud and clear on it. Now.

: UPDATE: Matt Stoller says it’s time to turn this into a liberal war.

: Mathew Gross sums up concurring comment — it’s a damned bandwagon! — from Atrios and Kos.