Michael Rubin’s point is well taken. Almost every institution in Pakistan has been hollowed out by agents of the forces it claims to be opposed to. That’s why thinking of these factions only in terms of the front man is not useful. Whether Musharraf represents “the army” any more than Nawaz Sharif represents “democracy” is unlikely. All that matters on the street is a crude symbolism: Miss Bhutto was seen as Washington’s choice. Now she’s dead. From an Islamist point of view, when we try to export our influence to Islamabad, it’s a bust. When they try to export their influence to the west – via the perpetrators of the London Tube bombing, the Daniel Pearl killing, etc – they seem to have rather more luck.
By the way, I would like to believe that JPod is right about Benazir’s murder marking the end of Campaign ‘08′s Holiday from History. But my sense is that the entire Democratic primary base and a good chunk of the GOP’s is in the mood for a post-”war on terror” election, and that one more dead distant foreigner will not shake them from that.