Look, I'm not happy that the war on terrorism is being led by an idiot like George W. Bush, but I find the progressive pushback against the idea that we are at war to be kind of ridiculous in a "I wish we had unicorns" kind of way. What do people hear when you step away from the "war on terror" idea? Not what you mean to say but what they actually hear? They hear "I don't think there's terrorism, I don't think there's a terroristic threat against the USA and our allies." Sure, some people actually believe that but to be absolutely frank about it it is the fringe of people. And for my money, these people are wrong. We are at war, against a specific branch of terrorism. The big question is how do you fight it, and that's where Dems have not asserted themselves. But saying there is no war on terror is a bad move politically, rhetorically, and common sense-ically.
I also note that this is the kinda stuff that's going to make Senator Clinton win at least the Democratic nomination if the other campaigns don't step up. It's all well and good to play to the sort of ivory tower liberal discourse, but elections are won by appealing to the hearts of minds of normal people who really don't want to quibble about this sort of stuff. Why do you think Bush is doing so badly? It isn't because he has embraced the idea of a war on terror but because he is fighting the war on terror horribly. People ask their president to kill the bad guys, not rhetorically redefine them.