On Fox News this Sunday, President Bill Clinton offered Democrats a timely lesson in defeating tired Rovian election-year ploys when Chris Wallace asked him, “Why didn’t you do more to connect the dots and put [al-Qaida and bin Laden] out of business?”

On the heels of the ABC faux drama – not much documentaryThe Path to 9-11, a fiery Clinton was on display. His response (and performance) was fierce, relentless, and stuck to the facts. Clinton didn’t allow Wallace to do a Fox trot of an interview. Instead, he passionately defended his record and turned the conversation back to where it belongs – on the real failings of the Bush administration, neo-cons, and their lock-step GOPsters when it comes to national security and fighting terrorism.

Holding that band accountable just became a lot easier. A National Intelligence Estimate, representing the consensus view of the 16 spy services, suggests that the War in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat. But the White House and Republicans continue to avoid any and all inconvenient facts, and insist that only their failed policies are keeping Americans safe. Ready for media folks like Wallace (and the “we distort, you decide network) to rush off and ask Republicans the tough questions required if we’re going to call ourselves a democracy ? I’m not holding my breath.