Frankly, if I'd been John Kerry, I would have said immediately, in reaction to the bin Laden tape -- no focus groups, no consultation with aides -- "See? This proves what we've been saying all along." But he's the guy who's gone 15 rounds with Bush/Rove/Cheney and I'm not, so we'll see. Meanwhile, in contrast to the Bushies' glee at living proof of their failure ("A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush"), there's this New York Times story:
Enemy Rears His Head, but Can't Shake Opinions Set in Stone
DENVER, Oct. 30 - If Osama bin Laden imagined, in releasing a threatening new videotape days before the presidential election, that he could sway the votes of Kerry supporters like David and Jan Hill and Bush supporters like Paul Christene, he has another thing coming.
"We're dug in," said Ms. Hill, an accountant in Denver who said she would vote for Senator John Kerry. "People I know are so polarized, it doesn't make any difference."
Her husband, a musician, added that having been subjected to a constant barrage of commercials from the candidates, and a flood of news reports about the election, the bin Laden tape was just another note in the cacophony. "I don't think people are really responding anymore," he said. "We're shellshocked."
Many supporters of President Bush seemed equally unfazed.
"It doesn't have anything to do with the election," said Mr. Christene, an aircraft supervisor from Walford, Iowa. "I will stick with Bush."
In dozens of interviews on Friday and Saturday in five hotly contested states, such steely sentiments were echoed again and again. Supporters of Mr. Bush said the bin Laden tape had strengthened their resolve to vote Republican by reminding them of the grave threats still faced by the country, while Mr. Kerry's supporters said the tape was yet another reminder that the Bush administration had failed to catch Mr. bin Laden. Even the undecided said the tape would not influence their decision....
I haven't posted anything about the bin Laden tape because I was baffled that it was being treated as big news: He's alive? He hates us? He's taunting us? Duh. If this Times story reflects opinions nationwide, then Americans agree with me, and only their alleged betters in the political establishment regard this all as a big shock.