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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Remember: This Is About The US, Not Osama

As it has already been stated many times, external factors can be a powerful influence in national elections. One of the powerful recent examples is the election in Spain in March of 2004 whose outcome was influenced by the terrorist attacks in Madrid several days prior. To an extent, it is true that terrorists managed to install a coalition that otherwise had little chance of coming to power.

As Dick Morris, a former Bill Clinton advisor, writes in his comment,
...the key issue is whether America is at war or at peace. And Osama bin Laden has more to say about that than any other person. If he ratchets up the terror threat to the United States and has us looking over our shoulders and thinking twice before we fly, we will feel at war and will back Bush. But if he lets up and backs off for the election, we will revert back to our peacetime posture and likely elect the Democrat.
Personally, I am unsure why Democrats in general and John Kerry in particular ought to be expected to be any less competent to prosecute a war than the current administration. However, Morris likely describes the common sentiment correctly when he states,
If Americans feel they are at war, they will rally to Bush. By a strong majority, they feel he is the best candidate to keep America safe, prosecute the War on Terror, and – even on his worst days – stabilize Iraq. But if they feel the war is over or winding down, they are likely to vote for Kerry. By similar majorities, most surveys indicate voters trust him more to create jobs, help the economy, lower health-care costs, stabilize Medicare and Social Security, reduce prescription drug prices, help improve education and protect the environment.
But let us not forget that Osama's anti-Americanism is not known to have grown any weaker over the last several years. Likely, the same can be said of most of his followers. I have no doubt that if they can hit somewhere in the US, they will. And as we know from numerous reports the security at home remains close to what some would call a joke in many ways. Suffice it to say that, to my knowledge, over 90% of the sea-borne containers still enter the country unexpected. Given all that, the fact that since 9/11 Al Quaida has not yet perpetrated another sizeable attack in the US probably is an indication that they are not quite as big a power as some would think. Also, short of another terror attack actually, taking place, as I have said before there is a good reason to be skeptical about the US government's terror warnings.

Writes Morris,
...I think bin Laden will remind us frequently and graphically that we are at war. And I think that may re-elect George W. Bush.
Well, I hope Bin Laden does not get very far in his attempts. But even if he does, I believe that is even more of a reason to vote. And to vote as if Osama was long gone from the scene, for it is difficult to imagine a President who would not fight a menace like Al Quaida, and it is difficult to imagine a President who would wage that fight less competently than George W Bush. And, after all, this is a US election,- and last I heard Bin Laden was not a US citizen, so he should not be allowed to participate in the process.

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