In the Financial Times, Joseph Nye dusts off the old “October surprise” nugget for one last pitiful run-through. Nye suggests that “Barack Obama must be unsettling for Mr bin Laden,” and therefore bin Laden might launch an attack on America to tip the race in favor of John McCain:
[O]n the crucial soft power skills of emotional intelligence, vision and communication, Mr Obama has the edge as reflected in the global polls and that must be giving Mr bin Laden a headache. In the next few weeks, as the remaining undecided voters have to make up their minds, Mr bin Laden may again be tempted to enter the fray. Given the scale of the financial crisis, it might take more than a video tape to refocus the attention of the American electorate this year but we should be alert to Mr bin Laden’s temptation and the danger it presents.
Nye is exactly wrong on three points.
First: It is doubtful that Osama bin Laden is in a position to launch an attack on American soil. The best evidence for his even being alive for the past four years is a video tape in which the image freezes when bin Laden discusses current events. If the terror mastermind has the ability to attack America, does Nye suppose he’s been keeping his powder dry for seven years, waiting until his network was decimated and public support for jihad hit a new low, to make sure he’d have something in store to stave off the dawn of the Obama age?
Second: What exactly concerns bin Laden about Obama? Obama has been calling for what amounts to American surrender in the theater of war where U.S. troops have done the most damage to al Qaeda. Bin Laden once said that beating the Russians in Afghanistan was hard, but that defeating the Americans would be piece of cake because Americans don’t believe in anything fervently enough to stay in the fight. Couple Obama’s eagerness to exit Iraq with his blanket promise to chat up enemies, and bin Laden could hardly hope for a more accommodating American administration.
Third: In spite of common “wisdom,” an attack on American soil would do nothing to bolster John McCain’s fortunes. Are we forgetting that the U.S. is currently in the midst of a financial crisis brought on in large part by Democratic policies and Democrats’ financial chumminess with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, yet Obama has successfully convinced the electorate that it’s all George W. Bush’s and John McCain’s fault? If we were attacked tomorrow, Obama would come out and say it’s the inevitable result of eight years of Bush policy, of dropping the ball in the hunt for bin Laden and fighting the wrong war in Iraq. He’d say: America can’t survive four more years of the same failed approach. And this message would immediately course through the veins of the MSM until it was gospel.
Joe Nye strikes out. If Osama bin Laden is contemplating doing anything to effect this election, he’s figuring out how much to donate to the Obama campaign. (And there are enough shenanigans going on with names of Obama contributors for him to sign the check, too.)