This is the best take I’ve seen so far on the “Al-Qaeda is run by expert psephologists who can exactly predict their bombs’ political effects” argument. It was originally posted by someone named Josh Yelon (who appears not to have a web presence) in Matthew Yglesias’s comments section; it deserves republication:
Actually, I think Al-Qaeda engineered the entire process:
Step 1. They observed that the conservatives produce ridiculous lies whenever placed under stress.
Step 2. They observed that the spanish populace won’t tolerate lying.
Step 3. They deduced that if they bombed a train station, the conservatives would lie about it, and that the spanish wouldn’t tolerate the lies, which would cause the conservatives to lose the election.
Step 4. They bombed a train station, and the pieces fell into place, as intended.
Well, it’s more convincing than any of the other related theories…