October surprise

by Daniel on October 29, 2004

About two hours after the Osama video hit the newswires, and the good old Iowa Electronic Markets have marked down the two DEM04 contracts from about 48% to 44%. Ouch.

By the way, there might be a small prize for the first CT reader to find an online use of the “see, Kerry agrees with Bin Laden” talking point that is no doubt being lined up on the Mighty Wurlitzer …



Kieran Healy 10.29.04 at 11:01 pm

Naturally, video confirmation that Bin Laden is alive and well and laughing his ass off at the President is a reason to mark down the DEM04 contracts.


matt butler 10.29.04 at 11:21 pm

Dear George:

Merry Christmas. You owe me big time.

Your pal,



neil 10.29.04 at 11:40 pm

Kerry agrees with bin Laden is all over FreeRepublic. Here’s a good place to start.

However, I find it promising that more freepers seem to think that we shouldn’t be listening to this terrorist, or that this is some sort of media conspiracy to help Kerry.

Neither candidate will politicize this. The backlash would be too much to risk.


neil 10.29.04 at 11:43 pm

Oh, and by the way, Tradesports does not show a Bush bounce after the tape was released. In fact, their Bush contract has declined in the last week to a near lifetime low (except for one crash when someone flooded the market going short).


Miss Authoritiva 10.29.04 at 11:45 pm

So even bin Laden fully grasps the “My Pet Goat” meme. I wonder how Bush feels being taunted this way — not that he doesn’t deserve it.


David W. 10.30.04 at 1:09 am

When the taunting that bin Laden gives Bush is so blatant, I think that cuts right at Bush’s presumed strength – namely his manly pride. Bush can’t just kick back and let others smear Kerry on this, he has to step up and respond to bin Laden, and I really wonder if Bush has it in him to do it.


neil 10.30.04 at 1:39 am

Responding to bin Laden is a step away from negotiating with him. It’s not an acceptable course of action and neither one of the candidates is going to dignify this two-bit criminal by talking tough to him.


matt butler 10.30.04 at 1:53 am

Unfortunately, I don’t think Bush has to resond to anything. To address the content of the bin Laden tape would be dignify a dispicable terrorist (and to risk people noticing that the tape is a pretty clear backhanded endorsement).

The safe strategy for the Republicans is to sit back and pretend that this development is too grave to “politicize”. The serene face of America’s bogeyman will be all over every television from now until the election, and an electorate worked into a frenzy of fear and rage is an electorate that votes Bush.


mitch p. 10.30.04 at 4:01 am

GNXP.com had a post, “Osama endorses Kerry”. That was the first I saw. PacificViews.org, meanwhile, predicted that the American public would hear Osama as saying, “vote for Bush”.


Joseph Briggs 10.30.04 at 4:04 am

Matt, you appear to be correct. Kerry’s response wasn’t turned into an opportunistic attack on Bush. But it might force BC04 to avoid invoking 911 in the next few days.


Professor von Nostrand 10.30.04 at 5:28 am

We don’t really need to wait for the online version. According to Andrew Sullivan, Bill O’Reilly said the following on his show tonight: “So Eminem joins Osama in coming out against Bush.” Is it a ‘no spin zone’ or a ‘no sane zone’?


dsquared 10.30.04 at 10:56 am

Of course, conventional wisdom was that the Madrid bombing would seal it up for Aznar …


yes bush can 10.30.04 at 2:05 pm

Videotape – $1.50. Vintage tunic and turban from the Karachi market – $25. Desk from Ikea – $30. Postage – free. Bin Laden on tv quoting a scene from Michael Moore’s film and calling Bush a liar 3 days before elections – priceless. For all the rest, there’s Bush/Cheney ’04.


abb1 10.30.04 at 4:53 pm

I was just watching the McLaughlin Group and Eleanor Clift said she thought the Osama tape should be concluded with “I am George Bush and I approve this message”.

I am not so sure, though. People have been saying that there is ceiling to Bush support and he’s reached it already. I can’t imagine that anyone who was going to vote for Kerry would change his/her mind because of this tape.

Now it’s all about voter turnout and I don’t see how this tape can affect it.


Martin Wisse 10.30.04 at 5:02 pm

In a sane universe, this video would hurt Bush, who had 3 years to get Bin Laden and didn’t, rather then Kerry.

In the universe we live in, it’s the media response which will determine whom it hurts.

Therefore Kerry needs to get his message across loudly: this proves Bush was asleep at the job.


david 10.30.04 at 9:20 pm

This is very confusing.

1. The video seems to be an endorsement of Kerry by bin Laden.

However, Americans hate bin Laden, so whatever he recommends they do, they tend to do the opposite. Bin Laden, presumably, knows this. So,

2. The video is really an “opposite day” endorsement of Bush.

So bin Laden is really trying to get Americans to vote for Bush. However, again, most Americans hate bin Laden and want to do the opposite of whatever he recommends. So you’d think that given (2), they should vote for Kerry. If we assume that bin Laden knows this about Americans, then

3. The video is really an opposite-opposite day endorsement of Kerry.

I’m not sure how many times this thing can reverse itself before it comes to a stop. Two questions:

(A) Supposing everyone knows what everyone knows (including knows that they know, etc.), is there any point at which this opposite-land thing can stop and the video can be interpreted as an endorsement of either candidate?

(B) In the real world, is it really so obvious whether bin Laden is endorsing either candidate? Seems to me that depends on 1. how far-sighted bin Laden is and 2. how far-sighted bin Laden thinks Americans are.


John 10.31.04 at 10:06 am

Somebody PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take me away from Bizarro Earth.


dsquared 11.01.04 at 1:39 am

Back up to 46% …

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