Thursday, July 29, 2004


In the past month or two, a few stories have surfaced in the mainstream media (and mirrored in Left Blogistan) regarding the Bush administration's efforts to finally throw a rope around Osama bin Laden. Optimum timing suggested included this week, supposedly to take the media spotlight away from John Kerry and the Democratic Convention.

Well, it's not looking like Osama's gonna turn up before Friday. Or next Friday. Or the one after that.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about the potential for eventual capture / killing of Osama, I'd have to think that there's a better than even chance that, if we're ever going to get him, he's coming in from the cave sometime this year. A bit of concern is starting to rise that the Democratic Party has done little to inoculate the party or its candidate against the potential GOP political capitol of capturing Osama.

Here's what I mean by "inoculate" - suppose you wake up one morning, and there's a newsconference in progress - "We got him." Immediately, TV news networks go "All Osama, All the Time". Basically, they produce a non-stop Bush reSelection commercial. How does the Democratic Party respond?

If history is any guide, poorly. There's not a PR person in the world who likes to be put into a reactive position. And that's exactly where the Democratic Party would be - swatting at buzzing Republican bees from the sidelines.

How's this for an alternate scenario? Right now - as in, today - start talking about the capture of bin Laden as not a possibility, but a joyous probability. Acknowledge that a current, bipartisan effort is being placed on bringing in Public Enemy Number One. Emphasize John Edwards' position on the Senate Intelligence committee as an entree of influence in the process of capturing Osama. Express the hope that Osama is brought to justice tomorrow. Do this, and the party has, to a degree, inoculated itself from voter swing on this issue should it come to pass between now and November.

Most importantly, the Democratic Party talking heads have to start this conversation before the events occur. Dems have to be seen as out-front on the issue. Support and bipartisanship have to be stressed. Dems can not afford to let the GOP own the issue, and must sink a stake in the ground well in advance of the event itself.

And, as election day draws closer, the focus can shift to this: George Bush has had over three years to capture the most wanted man on the face of the planet. It's one guy. Someone, somewhere, knows the exact GPS coordinates of bin Laden's location. A Kerry administration will pull out all of the stops, and most importantly devote the resources, to making the manhunt successful.

Think about it, Terry.

Addendum, 7:10PM: Damn, not an hour after I posted this comes word that a "high value target" was captured in Pakistan -- last Sunday. What timing on the press release, huh? Interestingly enough, the topic of catching Osama came up in a Pentagon briefing yesterday, but narry a word on this capture. Coincidence? I think not. Learn from this, Terry.