After sleeping on it, I find I’m not quite as inclined to imagine that OBL’s tape was a conscious effort to swing the election for Bush. It doesn’t seem to me that he understands us quite that well, and it doesn’t seem to me that I understand him well enough to be that certain of what he’s up to. I think the message might actually have been: “Hi. 9-11 was all my idea. And you haven’t been able to catch me, so I’ll do it all over again if I decide to. I know you’re having an election now, but that won’t make any difference either way. In order to make a difference, you’ll have to get your government to stop doing the things they’re doing that keep me wanting to attack you again. ‘Bye.”
It gets harder, the more I think about it, to see that causing many of the remaining pool of undecided US voters to go Bush. I think OBL needed a logo moment, though, in terms of the ongoing validity of his global brand, and look what he’s been able to pull off, with virtually no outlay: The world’s full attention, as both candidates drop everything to respond.
You know who would’ve completely gotten OBL? Andy Warhol.