This is what is happening:
1. We are told to be more alert. The terrorists might be contemplating another attack:
In the wake of a new videotape from Osama bin Laden, a federal bulletin is urging state and local authorities to be extra vigilant ahead of Tuesday's elections.
The government says the videotape and a second video showing a self-proclaimed American member of al-Qaida are "clearly intended to influence and instill fear in the American people."
The bulletin says the government remains concerned about al-Qaida's interest in attacking the U-S, and that the video may be intended to promote violence or serve as a signal for an attack.
I thought that he had been plotting attacks all along. We've certainly had enough raised alert levels when the administration has wanted to cover unpleasant news or influence support levels.
2. The polls tell us that Osama is herding likely voters straight into the voluminous bosom of George Bush:
U.S. President George W. Bush leads Senator John Kerry by 6 percentage points among likely voters, compared with a 2-point advantage last week, a Newsweek magazine poll said.
Fifty percent of likely voters favor Bush, compared with 44 percent for Kerry, within the Oct. 27-29 poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, Newsweek said. Independent candidate Ralph Nader is supported by 1 percent. Last week, Bush drew 48 percent from likely voters and Kerry 46 percent, the magazine said. The race is tighter among the 1,005 registered interviewed, with 48 percent backing Bush and 44 percent supporting Kerry.
Newsweek started its third night of polling after Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, appeared in a videotape warning Americans that another terrorist strike on the U.S. is possible.
``Whenever the subject of the campaign has turned to terrorism, it has benefited Bush,'' Newsweek said on its Web site. ``In every poll since the campaign began, voters have said they trust Bush more than Kerry to handle the challenges of terrorism and homeland security -- usually by a 15-to-20-point margin.''
Remember, polls are not very reliable this election season (many new voter registrations, cell phone owners not polled, a possibly biased Gallup). But the pollsters are telling us that Osama bin Laden's message is supporting Bush. How is that for a Halloween trick?
3. The Bush campaign officials understand that this is really a treat:
"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."
A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."
He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.
(This via Atrios.) Clearly, voting for Bush is what Osama wants.
Let me go and bang my head against the wall again.