A new video by America's public enemy number one might well engender any number of feelings--anger, regret, frustration, maybe even a little fear, certainly concern for what may be afoot in the coming weeks and months from those who wish us harm.
Notably missing from that list is glee. I don't think any reasonable person ought to look at a new video from Osama bin Laden and decide that it is best used, even tailor-made for, partisan advantage.
Which, of course, didn't stop Jessica McBride:
[I]t's worth reading the actual transcript of Osama bin Laden's latest televised diatribe because of the things it clears up.I'm not really sure at what point the hypothetical voting habits of bin Laden became ripe for speculation (as opposed to, say, where he is and what he might be trying to get from his followers). But it seems to me an unlikely prospect that someone intent on bringing religious government to every land he touches would be likely to vote for a party that staunchly defends the separation of church and state against those who claim it doesn't exist. The Whallah finds the notion that bin Laden is a Democrat unlikely as well, and if you're willing to brave the Great Orange Satan, you can trace the connections one brand of fundamentalism (Islamic) has with another (Christian).
It's irrefutable: If bin Laden lived in America, he'd be most inclined to vote Democrat. After all, he's pretty much adopted the Democratic Party's rhetoric and platform. However, in fairness to the Democrats, bin Laden is also mightily ticked off at them. So maybe he'd be a frustrated Democratic voter. He could land a job as a propagandist at moveon.org. He'd post angry comments on Huffington Post and Daily Kos. Maybe he'd join Cindy Sheehan's campaign, write a column for the New York Times, or do research for Noam Chomsky. Who knows. But I can tell you one thing. He would never vote Republican.
But calling bin Laden a Democrat--like calling him a Republican, for that matter--makes about as much sense as investing all your money in Countrywide Mortgages right now. I suppose that had the Soviets never invaded Afghanistan, and, subsequently, if the US had never trained and armed bin Laden and the Mujahadeen, a wealthy Saudi like Osama bin Laden may have ended up here, and who knows how he would vote. But those things all happened, and now bin Laden believes exactly one thing about the United States: He wants to kill us all. He's no more a Democrat or Republican than an earthquake is a terrorist--he no more discriminates in his destruction than the earth plans its upheavals.
I don't think that he'd bother to stop and ask the people he was about to blow up their political affiliation, their position on abortion or immigration, their plans for fixing Social Security. Osama bin Laden is the enemy of the United States. That means you, me, Jessica McBride, and the 300 million others of us together. All of us. That McBride's instinct upon seeing a bin Laden video is to use it to bash Democrats says a lot more about her than it does about him, the Democrats, or this country. Six years ago, this country was united and singular in its purpose--to track down and eliminate whoever was responsible for attacking us. And now she are using exactly that person to further the divide that has grown since. I feel dirty even having to respond to it.
Perhaps sensing that she was losing that particular battle, McBride later refined her attack:
Challenge for liberal readersThat's kind of a follow-up to one line in that original post of hers, "[T]he left can stop arguing that if America changes its foreign policy, Al-Qaida and other terrorists will suddenly like us." But that whole line of thinking is just as tainted--and just as offensive. At least in part, because "the left" does not argue that changes to our foreign policy would suddenly ally al Qaeda with us. I'd like to know who on "the left" it is who says this, in particular since the line from the left about our fight in Iraq is that it was a mistake to abandon our search for bin Laden. It may be true that bin Laden thinks our adventure in Iraq is a mistake for us, but it is also exactly what he wanted us to do when he attacked us on 9/11/01. Democrats generally stood against the war with Iraq that bin Laden wanted, with the majority of Congressional Democrats voting against the Iraq War Resolution (something Jessica McBride still refuses to acknowledge as true).
On the Iraq war and George Bush specifically, how does Osama bin Laden's rhetoric differ from your own?
If we had listened to people like, say, Russ Feingold back in 2002 (I assume he qualifies as "the left," right?), we would have intensified our efforts against al Qaeda, hardly a strategy to make them "suddenly like us." If we'd elected John Kerry (kind of "the left") or Howard Dean (certainly "the left" in minds like Jessica's), they would have pulled US troops out of Iraq to go after al Qaeda. Even Noam frickin' Chomsky can't believe Bush let bin Laden get away!
This is perhaps the last resort of the last dead-enders. They have no refuge left but to call the vast majority of Americans terrorist sympathizers, a supposition that is not only patently false on its face but is deeply, deeply offensive. It may be the lowest McBride has sunk yet.
(Update: Seems Plaisted beat me to it.)