Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Political Impact of the Bin laden Tape

It should be expected that the political implications of the Bin Laden tape would dominate political discussion considering it was aired only days before the presidential election and was made with the express purpose of influencing the outcome. There are two excellent articles on the impact of the tape. The first is by David Brooks in the New York Times. An excerpt:

Here was this monster who killed 3,000 of our fellows showing up on our TV screens, trying to insert himself into our election, trying to lecture us on who is lying and who is telling the truth. Here was this villain traipsing through his own propaganda spiel with copycat Michael Moore rhetoric about George Bush in the schoolroom, and Jeb Bush and the 2000 Florida election.

Here was this deranged killer spreading absurd theories about the American monarchy and threatening to murder more of us unless we do what he says.

One felt all the old emotions. Who does he think he is, and who does he think we are?

One of the crucial issues of this election is, Which candidate fundamentally gets the evil represented by this man? Which of these two guys understands it deep in his gut - not just in his brain or in his policy statements, but who feels it so deep in his soul that it consumes him?

It's quite clear from the polls that most Americans fundamentally think Bush does get this. Last March, Americans preferred Bush over Kerry in fighting terrorism by 60 percent to 33 percent, according to the Gallup Poll. Now, after a furious campaign and months of criticism, that number is unchanged. Bush is untouched on this issue.

Bush's response yesterday to the video was exactly right. He said we would not be intimidated. He tried to take the video out of the realm of crass politics by mentioning Kerry by name and assuring the country that he was sure Kerry agreed with him.

Kerry did say that we are all united in the fight against bin Laden, but he just couldn't help himself. His first instinct was to get political.

On Milwaukee television, he used the video as an occasion to attack the president: "He didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down Osama bin Laden. He outsourced the job." Kerry continued with a little riff from his stump speech, "I am absolutely confident I have the ability to make America safer."

Read the whole article and email it to everyone you know. The second article is by Bill Kristol and Stefen Hayes in The Weekly Standard. They point out the disgusting opportunism of the Kerry Campaign's politicization of the Bin Laden tape:

IN THEIR FORMAL STATEMENTS reacting to the new videotape from Osama bin Laden, both President Bush and John Kerry were statesmanlike. Each man called for Americans to unite against terror and vowed to defeat bin Laden and al Qaeda.

The Bush campaign wisely avoided going political. But the Kerry campaign--in comments from a top adviser and the candidate himself--did not.

Kerry gave what appear to be his first extemporaneous comments about the tape in a previously scheduled satellite interview with Kathy Mykleby, a veteran anchor with WISN TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"I find myself in the unexpected position of giving you breaking news at this moment because I don't know if you're aware of the Al-Jazeera tape that has just aired with Osama bin Laden admitting to the 9-11 attacks for the first time. What is your reaction?" Mykleby asked.

"My reaction," said Kerry, "is that all of us in this country are completely united. Democrat, Republican--there's no such thing. There's just Americans, and we are united in hunting down and capturing or killing those who conducted behind that raid. We always knew it was Osama bin Laden."

Mykleby followed up: "What do you think impact of this videotape might have on our election?"

"I don't think any," Kerry answered. "I think Americans understand we are living in a dangerous age." So far, so good.

But Kerry fi couldn't resist politicizing the tape: "I am prepared to wage a more effective war on terror than George Bush," he added.

Kerry's comment was unfortunate, and mild compared

to those made later in the day by his senior foreign policy adviser, Richard Holbrooke.

The tape itself is an indictment of the Democratic Party's rhetoric of the past three years. It is as though Osama bin Laden is reading directly from the DNC's talking points. I am sorry but it is true. If you would like to know how true, read this round up of comments by members of the Democratic Party as compared to Bin Laden's comments in the tape (and another page here).

The similarity between Bin Laden's statements and the DNC's talking points has not gone unnoticed on the left either. Kerryspot has more on the subject here.

The Democrats do indeed need to take a long hard look in the mirror. They have become a party of demogoguery and conspiracy theories. So much so that their rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of Osama bin Laden. Think about that for a moment. No, the Democrats are not threatening to blow up a city like bin Laden, but their view of America's role ion the woprld and of teh current administration is the same, and that should raise flags for the more reasonable members of the party. Until the mainstream segment of the Democratic Party throws out the Michael Moore wing, currently led by John Kerry, they will have to be satisfied with being the minority party. The American people, who do realize that the real threat is not George Bush or America as a whole, will not allow the left fringe of that party to run the country. It is pretty simple.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.