Not one to boast of his own mastery of politics, George W. Bush credits Osama bin Laden with helping nudge him over the top in 2004. As Reuters reports (Feb. 28):
U.S. President George W. Bush said his 2004 re-election victory over Sen. John Kerry was inadvertently aided by Osama bin Laden, who issued a taped diatribe against him the Friday before Americans went to the polls...
"What does it mean? Is it going to help? Is it going to hurt?'' Bush told [White House correspondent Bill] Sammon of the bin Laden tapes. "Anything that drops in at the end of a campaign that is not already decided creates all kinds of anxieties, because you're not sure of the effect.
"I thought it was going to help,'' Bush said. "I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn't want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush.''
The next question, normally, would be: "Why would bin Laden want to make Americans believe that something must be right with Bush?" Was it inadvertent? Or might it have something to do with the fact that bin Laden had enjoyed three years of life and liberty following the attacks of 9/11, thanks to Bush? (Osama'll never tell.)
Not to worry, though. On his way to Pakistan, where bin Laden is known to reside, Bush gushed:
"So long as I'm the president, we'll stay on the hunt and we'll use resources and power and influence to convince others to join us on the hunt as well." Bush told ABC [News], "I'm an optimistic person. I believe we will bring him to justice [omitting the 2001 "...or take justice to him" --ed.].
Will Osama issue a taped diatribe on the eve of this November's midterm elections (five years after 9/11), just to remind the American electorate once again that there must be something right with Bush? Who knows? --It's worked before.
[Update: More detail of Bush's interview with Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News:
"VARGAS: If when you leave the Oval Office, the White House, Osama bin Laden is still at large, will you consider that a failure?
"BUSH: What I'm looking at is management structure, operators, and whether or not we're doing everything we can to protect the American people. Of course, we'd like to bring him to justice, and we'll stay up -- you know, the only thing I can tell the American people, so long as I'm the president, we'll stay on the hunt and we'll use resources and power and influence to convince others to join us on the hunt as well. And, you know, I'm an optimistic person. I believe we will bring him to justice."
Five years, five months, 18 days and counting.
...and our "operators" are staying up and still standing by.]