The Peach is not sure what to say about the new Osama Bin Laden videotape. Some are saying that any big news story that takes the focus off of news that is helping drive momentum for Kerry is a positive for Bush. The Peach for its part would note a couple of things.
1. The appearance of Osama Bin Laden, looking fit and healthy, all but holding a tall, frosty tropical drink with a little umbrella swizzle stick, underscores even more starkly Bush's failure to bring Bin Laden and Al Quaeda to justice. It provides clear evidence supporting John Kerry's assertions that Bush has let Bin Laden get off scot free.
2. The SCLM is paying attention to this, but they don't seem to be dwelling on it obsessively. We mean, it's not like it's the Scott Petersen trial or anything. Many commentators are saying they expect this tape to be a wash as far as the election is concerned. And after a few minutes, all have moved on to the missing explosives at Al Qa Qaa, the poor economic indicators and other news du jour.
3. On the tape, OBL seems to be taking total responsibility for 9/11. If Saddam Hussein had helped him, one has the sense that he would celebrate the former Iraqi dicatator, as he does about the nineteen hijackers. He does not. There is no mention or acknowledgement of any relationship whatsoever.
4. Finally, unlike in past communications, the latest OBL tape does not sound -- to The Peach at least -- like a clear new threat. Unlike in the past, when OBL's apocalyptic pronouncements and graphic language really made our blood run cold, in this tape, he adopts a curiously rational, explanatory tone. Whatever we might make of this latest tape, it does not aappear on the face of it that he is issuing an imminent threat. Or if he is, it does not seem any more or less imminent than any of the past threats have been. It is yet another situation where the public can only throw up its hands and acknowledge again that it has no idea how to assess this or how much weight to accord it.
Obviously, the Peach will watch this story closely as it develops. But we believe that if the SCLM pays it the attention it deserves, it can only hurt Bush -- or at worst, prove neutral in the great scheme of things.