Democrats have been worrying a lot lately about a possible October surprise. You know, some dramatic game changing event deliberately dropped into the closing months of the campaign in the hope of saving John McCain’s bacon: something along the lines of war with Iran, catching Osama bin Laden or McCain proving the Beltway pundits right by actually walking on water.
So does worrying so much about this (other than the walking on water part) mean we’re paranoid?
Let’s check the definition:
Paranoid: Exhibiting or characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others.
Nope, no paranoia here: There’s obviously nothing irrational about fearing that George W. Bush will do anything — and I mean anything — to keep his team in the White House. He’s proven as much on multiple occasions, most shamefully through the deliberate manipulation of terrorism alerts for political gain. Besides, Bush & Co. have plenty of incentive to continue their pattern of gaming the machinery of American democracy. If nothing else, how happy can they be over the prospect of having Barack Obama’s Department of Justice investigating their various crimes?
No, it seems pretty clear that the irrational thing would be to not worry about an October surprise.
But would one even work?
It might, I suppose, but personally I doubt it. Bush, the most politically obsessed president in memory, in terms of subverting federal policy for political ends, overplayed his hand long ago. No one believes him anymore. In fact, even if he were to act in absolute apolitical sincerity in, say, launching a few missiles at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a month or two before the election, people would still assume the worst.
He’s earned our abiding distrust the good old-fashioned way — by lying almost every time he opens his mouth.
Sporting his impressive 24% approval rating, no one is ever going to give Bush the benefit of the doubt again.
I don’t doubt that he may well try to help McCain through an October surprise, but my money’s on it backfiring in a big way