Friday, October 29, 2004

Our Heartiest Congratulations on Catching the Guy Who Didn't Do It 

Osama bin Laden is still at large, and shame! -- shame! on John Kerry for reminding the American public why that is. From Agence France-Presse, via Josh Marshall:
President George W. Bush called Democratic rival John Kerry's charges that Bush failed to catch or kill Osama bin Laden "especially shameful" given a new tape by the terrorist mastermind . . . .

Speaking to reporters outside the campaign rally here, White House communications director Dan Bartlett said that the tape should not affect the way Bush campaigns but that Kerry should have marked a 12-hour truce.

"You would think that there would be a, maybe, 12 hours to let the American absorb what has just happened today," he said.

Prodded on why, if the tape ought not to affect the campaign, Kerry should have stopped criticizing the president, Bartlett revised his statement, saying that the problem was that Kerry's attack had been "discredited."

However, unchallenged news reporting about the standoff and public remarks by Bush aides, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, also placed Al-Qaeda's mastermind in the remote bastion.
If the Incompetent-in-Chief had devoted the resources of the nation to catching the guy who did it instead of the guy who didn't, we WOULDN'T BE HAVING THIS GODDAMNED CONVERSATION, NOW WOULD WE?

UPDATE: Holy Moses, Billmon's back! Back, back, all the way back:
If anyone had any doubts about which candidate al-Qaeda prefers in this election, I think you can put them to rest now. This tape -- coming hard on the heels of "Azzam the American" -- is obviously designed to have U.S. voters as obsessively worried about the terrorist threat as possible when they go into the voting booth next Tuesday. Osama, like Bush, understands the electoral value of zapping the deeper reptilian centers of the brain. Call it hypothalamus politics. Or, as one member of the media idiot chorus cheerfully told CNN a few days ago: "Fear works."

In a way, this move is even smarter than an actual terrorist attack on American soil -- which al-Qaeda might not have been able to pull off anyway. A real attack would have been an unpredictable gamble. It might have given Bush a huge boost, but it's at least conceivable it would have had the opposite effect, by underscoring the hollowness of the endlessly repeated Republican claim that our cowboy-in-chief has made us all safer.

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.

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