Would an October surprise even work?

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

4 Responses to “Would an October surprise even work?”

  1. Larkrise Says:

    One would think that such “surprises” would no longer work. One would hope they no longer work. But, pessimist that I am, some idiot act that Bush/Cheney cook up, could make the election terribly close. And, a close election is what I fear. Never underestimate the incredible corruption of the Republican Party. They will cage votes, intimidate voters, use voter ID laws, and heaven only knows what else. Naturally, they will misuse electronic voting machines, then destroy the hard drives. They are masters of that ploy. They will use every trick in the book to steal this election. Since McCain is basing his campaign on “keeping America safe”, bombing Iran would not surprise me one bit. The drums of war have been thumping again. First, there is the media-embraced rumor that Iran has nuclear material and bomb -making plans from some radical that was in Pakistan. Now, that total fool, Evan Bayh, and that absolute ass, Mike “Nuke ‘Em Now” Pence, are going to introduce some bill that would require a blockade of the Straits of Hormuz!!!
    It is insanity at it’s finest. Both are joined at the hip with the Israeli lobby. So was Hillary.
    All of this is incredibly ill-advised. We are losing two wars. So, let’s start a third that we cannot afford, and kill thousands more in the name of oil and war-profiteering. The Carlyle Group is licking its evil, drooling chops. You know, in a way, this obsession of Bush and Cheney with Iran reminds me of the battered wife syndrome. Bush and Cheney are hideous bullies. They have battered this country to the bone, sending thousands of men and women to their deaths; destroying our economy; attempting to destroy civil liberties and freedom of speech; destroying regulations that protect our air, water, land, food, and even worker safety; degrading education; leaving millions without health insurance; and using fearmongering at every step. Yet, they have been repudiated. Their approval ratings are in the basement. If they cannot control us; they will destroy us. Like the battered wife, if we try to leave, they will attempt to kill us, one way or another. The Republican Party has much of the same bullying anger. It is all about control and power. It is all about saving face. They cannot tolerate being held accountable for their cruel and vicious actions; their greed; their incompetence. “If I can’t have you, no one else will,” has become their underlying pathology. To sane, intelligent people, it is obvious that attacking Iran will destroy this country,put the final nail in the coffin to our economy, overstretch our military to the breaking point, and further divide the country into the very rich versus everyone else. The Democrats in Congress most certainly have acted like battered spouses, refusing to show any spine, and giving in to the obstructionist Repugs. I wonder if they will have guts enough to bring criminal proceedings against this administration, should they win the election. I just hope Keith Olbermann keeps on yelling long and loud. I am not sure Bush/Cheney care about the Republican Pary in the end. They just care about having their way.

  2. RJHall Says:

    Here’s how an October surprise might work: by making Obama, whose foreign policy statements (like pledging to continue the embargo on Cuba, like deploring “demagogues like Hugo Chávez”, like Columbia “has every right to defend itself” from terrorists by bombing Ecuador and pledging to keep giving them billions, and like Jerusalem “must remain undivided” as the capital of Israel and pledging to keep giving them billions) are already almost indistinguishable from McCain’s, tack so much closer to the Republicans that, even if Obama wins in November, the Republican positions will win too. If Bush bombs Iran, Obama and McCain might try to out-cheer each other in support of the war and in opposition to Ahmadinejad. In short, the October surprise might be the Republicans playing the “If you can’t beat ‘em, make ‘em join you” card.

  3. dogtired Says:

    If an October surprise does happen the blowback from that will be tremendous. David Sorota has it about right in his book The Uprising. There is a seething resentment and much pent up anger afoot in this country and most everyone I know around my neck of the woods is ready to step into the streets with dry poowder if this administration tries to pull off some kind of political coup. The Democrats have proven hopeless in defending the Constitution. It is time for the people to gather and fight.

  4. RJHall Says:

    Sigh… Just hours after I posted above that Obama would “tack so much closer to the Republicans that, even if Obama wins in November, the Republican positions will win too”, we get this little gem from him:
    “Obama: NAFTA not so bad after all” (go here)

    “In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn’t want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

    “”Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

    “Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.”

    Almost adding insult to injury, Obama’s own web site (Link) tries to shrug this off to his supporters who liked his “overheated and amplified rhetoric” by explaining to them at length what those of us farther to the left already knew: “But my core position has never changed. It’s been consistent if you look all the way through.” I predict we’ll be hearing that mantra more and more from him in the months (and years if, as I hope, he becomes President) ahead on a whole lot of issues.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.