One big question

Sometimes an entire political campaign can be encapsulated in one big question.  The trick is to figure out what this question is, and to ask it so clearly, and so often, that no voter in the country can pretend that he or she didn't hear it.  If you get it right, the question answers itself so fast that neither ideology nor party affiliation can stop the correct answer from popping into every voter's consciousness.  And, as the old saying goes, you cannot unring a bell.  Ronald Reagan did this brilliantly in his 1980 campaign to unseat President Carter when he asked, 'Are you better off today than you were four years ago?'  The inescapable answer was 'no,' and Reagan won the election handily.

Here's the one big question of tomorrow's presidential election: 'Which candidate does Osama bin Laden want to win?'

Admit it: the answer popped into your head even before you started reading this sentence.  And if the answer popped into your head, so too will it pop into every other voter's head.  And well it should, because Osama bin Laden has made it very clear — most recently in that videotape released on Friday —— that his objective is to kill as many Americans as possible, by whatever means he can: hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings, pouring botulism into our water supply, setting off nuclear devices in our cities.  We may think there's a huge difference between a pro—life, pro—gun, people—matter—more—than—flowers Christian conservative and a pro—choice, repeal—the—Second—Amendment, save—the—spotted—owl secular liberal.  But to bin Laden and his fellow radical Islamists, both are infidels and both deserve equally to die.

Knowledgeable translations of the full eighteen minutes of Osama bin Laden's latest tape indicate that he may even be attempting to intervene in our election on the side of Kerry: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."  The invaluable MEMRI website adds:

The Islamist website Al—Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."

It's obvious that President Bush understands we are in a global war for our very lives, and for the survival of western Civilization itself.  Cut through all the words, focus on the action, and the president's strategy for winning this war is clear: to keep fighting until the last terrorist is dead and the Mideast is no longer a seething cauldron of anti—American hatred.  Has the war gone as smoothly as we hoped?  No, it hasn't.  Have we made some stupid and serious mistakes along the way?  Yes, of course we have.  But in just three years the President has thrown al Queda out of its base in Afghanistan, removed that country's ghastly Taliban regime from power and organized the first democratic election in Afghanistan's history.  In addition, he has brought Pakistan on—side, shut down the nuclear—weapons bazaar that country's weapons chief had been running, and forced Libya to surrender its own nuclear weapons and thus cease to be a global threat.  Saddam Hussein is gone in Iraq, and while that country has a long way to go before our efforts there bear fruit, the upcoming January elections hold the promise of more stability than this violent and unstable land has ever known and even the promise of a democratic Iraq.  (Just saying 'democratic Iraq' takes the breath away and — more to the point — scares the you—know—what out of Syria and Iran.)

President Bush says that if we re—elect him, he will keep going.  Indeed, even Senator Kerry concedes that if we re—elect the President we will get four more years of the same approach to fighting this war.  On the other hand, if we elect Senator Kerry, he will — well, what will he do about fighting a war in which our enemy's objective isn't merely to defeat us, but to destroy us?  Again, cut through all the words and the answer is obvious: he will cut and run in Iraq, play footsie with France and grovel at Kofi Annan's feet in hopes of putting our country back into the UN's good graces.

Gentle reader, if all this is too blunt — too bad.  There are people out there whose objective is to kill us all, and on Tuesday either we will elect as President and Commander—in—Chief the candidate these people want — or the candidate these people fear.  And there is really no question as to which candidate is which.  The only question is whether the majority of Americans is capable of facing reality, however unpleasant and frightening reality may be.

It's a mystery why President Bush, who has learned so much from President Reagan, hasn't asked the one big question that would cut through all the blather and focus voters on what matters most, or arranged for his surrogates to ask it.   But there is still enough time left to get cracking and ask the big question to as many voters as possible.  Talk with your neighbors and your colleagues at work.  Send out some emails, and make some phone calls.  And when you've done that, go ahead and make a sign that says, 'Which candidate does Osama bin Laden want to win?' then hold it up as close to your local polling place as the law allows.

It could just make the difference.

Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.  His DVD on The Siege of Western Civilization is a nation—wide best—seller.

Sometimes an entire political campaign can be encapsulated in one big question.  The trick is to figure out what this question is, and to ask it so clearly, and so often, that no voter in the country can pretend that he or she didn't hear it.  If you get it right, the question answers itself so fast that neither ideology nor party affiliation can stop the correct answer from popping into every voter's consciousness.  And, as the old saying goes, you cannot unring a bell.  Ronald Reagan did this brilliantly in his 1980 campaign to unseat President Carter when he asked, 'Are you better off today than you were four years ago?'  The inescapable answer was 'no,' and Reagan won the election handily.

Here's the one big question of tomorrow's presidential election: 'Which candidate does Osama bin Laden want to win?'

Admit it: the answer popped into your head even before you started reading this sentence.  And if the answer popped into your head, so too will it pop into every other voter's head.  And well it should, because Osama bin Laden has made it very clear — most recently in that videotape released on Friday —— that his objective is to kill as many Americans as possible, by whatever means he can: hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings, pouring botulism into our water supply, setting off nuclear devices in our cities.  We may think there's a huge difference between a pro—life, pro—gun, people—matter—more—than—flowers Christian conservative and a pro—choice, repeal—the—Second—Amendment, save—the—spotted—owl secular liberal.  But to bin Laden and his fellow radical Islamists, both are infidels and both deserve equally to die.

Knowledgeable translations of the full eighteen minutes of Osama bin Laden's latest tape indicate that he may even be attempting to intervene in our election on the side of Kerry: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."  The invaluable MEMRI website adds:

The Islamist website Al—Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."

It's obvious that President Bush understands we are in a global war for our very lives, and for the survival of western Civilization itself.  Cut through all the words, focus on the action, and the president's strategy for winning this war is clear: to keep fighting until the last terrorist is dead and the Mideast is no longer a seething cauldron of anti—American hatred.  Has the war gone as smoothly as we hoped?  No, it hasn't.  Have we made some stupid and serious mistakes along the way?  Yes, of course we have.  But in just three years the President has thrown al Queda out of its base in Afghanistan, removed that country's ghastly Taliban regime from power and organized the first democratic election in Afghanistan's history.  In addition, he has brought Pakistan on—side, shut down the nuclear—weapons bazaar that country's weapons chief had been running, and forced Libya to surrender its own nuclear weapons and thus cease to be a global threat.  Saddam Hussein is gone in Iraq, and while that country has a long way to go before our efforts there bear fruit, the upcoming January elections hold the promise of more stability than this violent and unstable land has ever known and even the promise of a democratic Iraq.  (Just saying 'democratic Iraq' takes the breath away and — more to the point — scares the you—know—what out of Syria and Iran.)

President Bush says that if we re—elect him, he will keep going.  Indeed, even Senator Kerry concedes that if we re—elect the President we will get four more years of the same approach to fighting this war.  On the other hand, if we elect Senator Kerry, he will — well, what will he do about fighting a war in which our enemy's objective isn't merely to defeat us, but to destroy us?  Again, cut through all the words and the answer is obvious: he will cut and run in Iraq, play footsie with France and grovel at Kofi Annan's feet in hopes of putting our country back into the UN's good graces.

Gentle reader, if all this is too blunt — too bad.  There are people out there whose objective is to kill us all, and on Tuesday either we will elect as President and Commander—in—Chief the candidate these people want — or the candidate these people fear.  And there is really no question as to which candidate is which.  The only question is whether the majority of Americans is capable of facing reality, however unpleasant and frightening reality may be.

It's a mystery why President Bush, who has learned so much from President Reagan, hasn't asked the one big question that would cut through all the blather and focus voters on what matters most, or arranged for his surrogates to ask it.   But there is still enough time left to get cracking and ask the big question to as many voters as possible.  Talk with your neighbors and your colleagues at work.  Send out some emails, and make some phone calls.  And when you've done that, go ahead and make a sign that says, 'Which candidate does Osama bin Laden want to win?' then hold it up as close to your local polling place as the law allows.

It could just make the difference.

Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council.  His DVD on The Siege of Western Civilization is a nation—wide best—seller.