Kathryn, you are so right about this — a nightmare for Kerry. But don’t think that’s how bin Laden sees it — and that goes to something we’ve all been talking about recently, which is the mindset of these jihadists. Bin Laden probably thinks he is hurting Bush because he (Osama) is a megalo-maniac. He thinks that the mere rearing of his fearsome head saying a few threatening things might cause America to quake and try to appease him by ousting Bush. It worked in Madrid, he thinks, why not in the U.S? Bin Laden’s egotism has overwhelmed his powers of analysis. He should long ago have figured out — from the simple fact that he must remain in constant hiding — that America ain’t Spain. You knock down our buildings, and we don’t change governments; we come over and kick your a**.
One down side of all this, though. A lot of folks out there assume that Bin Laden is a master tactician, and that he wouldn’t attack us if he could right before the election because he knows that would help Bush. This tape, assuming it is authentic and recent, shows the folly of that view. Bin Laden would undoubtedly think an attack would hurt Bush, just as he thinks a taped threat helps Bush. He would order one if he were in a position to do so. I suppose it’s possible that he may think Kerry is going to win so he rushed a tape out there now so he’d be in a position to take credit next week. But I really don’t think he cares that much. He would hate and look to kill us just as much if Kerry were elected. What is stopping al Qaeda right now is capability, not calculation, and that’s the best reason for re-electing the president.