I am surprisingly unworried about the Osama video. And I’ll tell you why.
We’re too polarized already. The trenches are dug too deep. Sure, there are probably some people–who ought to be bloody well ashamed of themselves–changing their mind on the word of a terrorist. That’s the sort of thing I consider “letting the terrorists win,” no matter which way your mind changes. You oughta be ashamed.
But I’m not all that worried. Mildly disgusted at the notion, but not really worried. Anybody dumb enough to say “Osama doesn’t like Bush, so we HAVE to elect him!” either already had their mind made up or is behaving in a manner so antithetical to being an American that I would much rather have them on the other side anyway. (They had also better not own guns, since by all accounts, Osama’s a gun owner, and once you’re determined to be that pigheadedly wrong, you better take it all the way to the logical conclusion. And while you’re at it, Hitler liked dogs, so if you own a dog you’re a Nazi. And Stalin was really opposed to abortion, too, so anybody using that logic better be voting pro-choice, while we’re on the subject of Doing Stuff In An Attempt To Spite The Bad Guys.)
It may shift a very few people. Sure. And it doesn’t take all that many, god knows, but still, eh. Bill O’Reilly and his ilk can yell as loud as he wants–if you’re taking him seriously, you’re already voting a certain way. Everyone who could be swayed has swayed. This election is, I think, no longer defined by who undecided people are voting for, but by how many people are voting at all.
Had he captured Osama, that might have been a different story–that would’ve been admittedly impressive–but I just don’t see it mattering enough–any benefit from the sort of asinine “He hates Bush! We must do the opposite!” attitude is likely to be canceled out by “Hey, Osama’s still out there! Some war on terror, jackass!” effect. If you’re paying attention, you’ve made up your mind, and if you aren’t, this is one more thing not to pay attention to.
Now, I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be first time. Hell, according to the polls, being a woman who isn’t worried about terrorism makes me a freak of nature. (I chalk this up to good basic math skills. I know that I’m more likely to be struck by lightning than blown up.) But I’m still guessing that it’s not gonna sway things enough to matter.
Also, now that it’s conclusively proved that they don’t have Osama on ice, I b’lieve James owes me five bucks.