As soon as I heard that Osama had re-emerged with a video, I thought it had to be a big plus for shrub. Anything that focuses attention back on 911 and the Middle East (like Arafat’s apparently imminent death) helps the GOP ticket. And, of course, nothing delights our Islamofascists like having a galvanizing, ultra-controversial figure like shrub in the White House. It keeps our friends at arms’ distance and keeps the Moslem community hating us. And it creates a motherlode for Al Qaeda recruiters. They’d do just about anything to keep him there. The last thing they want is a peacemaker who might actually succeed in Iraq.
Billmon notes that the video is an act of communications brilliance on Bin Laden’s part, more effective even than a physical strike.
Osama’s video bomb, on the other hand, is a brilliant example of “virtual” terrorism. It’s perfectly designed to keep the media tape loop spinning from now until next Tuesday, with minimal risk of a backlash. It not only wipes the missing explosives story off the map (that is, until they do the same to some unsuspecting Americans) it also allows the GOP to turn every remaining campaign event into a bin Laden hate rally. It is, in short, the definitive October surprise.
What was it Rove said the other day when Sean Hannity asked him about October surprises? “We’ve got a couple of things we intend to spring.” Something like that.
Best not to go there. I’m paranoid enough as it is.
Could Rove have arranged this with Bin Laden? Or, even more likely, is Rove Bin Laden? Well no, most likely not — but they both know how to play the media and the public’s emotions like a fine fiddle. Let’s see if this is enough to tip the scales back in shrub’s direction. I certainly hope not, but it’s definitely bad news for Kerry.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.