Washington Post asks various worthies “what could change the election?” I’m surprised nobody brings up al-Qaeda. It’s been previously reported that Osama bin Laden’s October 2004 tape release was aimed at bolstering George W. Bush’s re-election. Presumably the same calculation applies today. Al-Qaeda would prefer an American president who increases US-Muslim tensions and polarizations, and one who would pursue a scattershot foreign policy aimed at a vast and shifting rogue’s gallery of villains, over one who would try to reduce tensions and focus closely on international terrorism.
An audiotape would be simple enough to do, and it wouldn’t take a genius to craft a message that would help McCain. And of course it’s possible that something worse than a message could head our way. An actual terrorist attack on American soil might well rebound to McCain’s benefit, even though logically it ought to merely illustrate the failures of conservative anti-terrorism policy. But whoever such an attack helped, it would definitely change the election.