Can Bin Laden affect the elections?

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#1
According to this article, OBL's 2004 video appearance has influenced the election results and it could do the same thing if a video would be released anytime between now and November 4.

If Osama Bin Laden does release a video, and if you think that video could influence the results, which candidate would benefit from it more?

I've cut the article's introduction but you can read the full article here.
Another October surprise?

Two weeks is an eternity in presidential politics, which means we're likely to have one more twist before this ends -though with early voting, more than a quarter of the electorate now votes before Election Day.

What will the twist be? .........(see link for full text in between).........

My money is on Osama Bin Laden popping back up with a hate video, just as he did the weekend before the 2004 election.

That tape reminded the public that the country was still at risk from this sickening terrorist and that President Bush had kept us safe for the three years since the 11 September 2001 attacks. In that close campaign, it was this video - not the Swift Boat tactics that got all the ink - that made the difference.

John Kerry, who led in several polls that weekend, saw his margin melt away.

Deciding factor

In 2005, Kerry himself said that 9/11 was the "central deciding thing" of the 2004 election and that the bin Laden video ended any chance he had of being elected.

Just because it was convenient for him to say that doesn't make it untrue.
Why did the Bin Laden tape do so much damage? The 9/11 attack was still fresh in Americans' memories, and the possibility of another one was on our minds.

While sophisticated analysts could explain that bin Laden released the tape just before the election because he hoped Bush would win (Bush was a better recruiting tool for Al Qaeda than a President Kerry would have been), none of that got through.

The tape had the effect of freezing the 2004 campaign in place. Kerry couldn't criticize Bush at all for a pivotal 24 hours. This was partly Kerry's own fault. After his 2003 speech attacking Bush for letting Bin Laden escape at Tora Bora, Kerry dropped most Bin Laden references from his speeches.

Internal polling by the Kerry campaign showed that voters didn't respond well to his talking points about Bush's failure to catch bin Laden, so he gave the whole subject a rest. This was a terrible mistake. Had Kerry kept the heat on, bin Laden's re-emergence would have reinforced the message that he had not been caught. That's what would happen this time if Bin Laden tried to intervene in another American election.

Seven years after 9/11, the country is in a different place, and the Obama campaign would respond to a Bin Laden tape in a different way. For two years, Obama has been reminding audiences that the Bush administration has failed to catch Bin Laden. First with Hillary Clinton, then with McCain, Obama has made a point in debates of saying he would risk destabilizing Pakistan by bombing the border with Afghanistan if he had actionable intelligence that Al Qaeda targets had been identified.

In the second debate, on 7 October, Obama brought up Bin Laden again, making a point of stressing that he would "kill him" if possible. McCain's position on Bin Laden has opened him up to attack in a way that Obama failed to exploit.

In the second debate, McCain said, "I know how" to find Bin Laden. This should have led Obama to respond that if he knows how to catch him, he should have told his friend George Bush. Obama missed a chance for that riposte in the debate, but he may yet have another opportunity.

New dynamic

All of this sets up a quite different dynamic should Bin Laden release another tape.

After condemning the new tape, Obama could launch right into renewed criticism of the failure to catch Al Qaeda's mastermind seven years after 9/11. Instead of making him look like another weak Democrat, a new tape would give Obama a chance to seem muscular on national security.

McCain would try to argue that the country would be safer with him, but it probably wouldn't have the potency of Bush's similar claim in 2004. Should there be, God forbid, an actual terrorist attack between now and the election, all bets are off.

But it's instructive that only three days after the 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid that killed 193 people, the most deadly act of Islamic terrorism in European history, the Spanish socialists won national elections. We aren't Spain, but we're also not a country that can have a whole election thrown into disarray by terrorists. At least I hope we aren't any more, though we won't know for sure unless it happens.
 

Stab-o-Matic5000

Cutting Edge in Murder
#4
Yeah, 7 years is a long time, the 9/11 attacks are starting to move to the back of peoples collective memories, especially since the world has this financial crisis to worry about right now. That's one of the main reasons why even though McCain scores higher on national security issues, Obama's ahead in the polls. Americans frankly don't care about national security so much right now since the news is practically shoving wall street down our throats 24/7.