Still, the staggering idiocy of the following commentary is awe-inspiring. First, Roger Simon:
That’s why I think energizing the base is so important. Any little unexpected thing — we thought the October surprise might be the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden. This tape is better than either of those things for George Bush.
Now, Andrea Mitchell:
And it almost makes it more difficult for John Kerry to use a standard part of his stump speech when he talks about having his allegation that George Bush let Osama bin Laden get away In Tora Bora. It is almost difficult now for him to do that because he would appear to be taking advantage of this new tape.
I’ll admit it: compulsive worrier that I am, I thought it was possible that tape might provide a modest boost for Bush. Upon reflection, I don’t think it did, or will, no matter how much Chris Matthews thinks it should. But a bigger boost than footage of some American soldiers dragging him out of a cave in handcuffs? Are you kidding me? Capturing Saddam Hussein provided a modest boost for Bush in the polls, and this would be bigger, since a) Bin Laden is, to state the obvious one more damn time, a much bigger threat to the US than Hussein ever was, and 2) We’d already overthrown Hussein’s government before we captured him, and we sure haven’t done anything like that with Al Qaida. In that sense it’s much more meaningful. It’s possible the impact at this point in time might be minimized by cynicism about the opportune timing of the capture, but I doubt that effect would entirely cancel out the boost.
And as to Mitchell–where to start? The tape is a “little gift” for the Bush administration, but now Kerry can’t criticize Bush because those criticisms would be further supported by a new piece of empirical evidence, and using evidence to criticize the Bush administration just wouldn’t be fair. Or something.
We’ll close with Charlie Cook:
I mean I can argue this thing either way, but the case for it helping John Kerry is fairly anemic. Yes, you could say that it puts the attention back on the fact that we went into Iraq and went after Saddam Hussein instead of Osama bin Laden. But to be honest, I have to think that this helps President Bush a great deal.
Sure, you could say something that makes a bit of sense, but honesty demands you say the opposite.
Always to know my worries must be silly by discovering they’re shared by the pundits.