(Were I a Republican, I'd be most afraid of an October Surprise of... Osama bin Laden being captured. It'd remind everyone of GOP = Bush = Failure more effectively than a thousand campaign ads or speeches, IMHO)
I'm not a Republican either, but I disagree; if Bin Laden was captured, both parties would argue over who gets the credit. Even with Obama in the White House, you'll notice the GOP treats all terrorism-related news - whether good or bad - as vindication of Bush's policies; and their ability to co-opt national security as "their" issue is still far superior to the Dems. Bin Laden's capture would probably embolden the GOP even more than the Democrats.
But that's my point--Republicans' only option, what they'd surely do, is make stories up about how what is apparently an achievement under the Obama administration is REALLY a triumph of BUSH'S policies. That is, the only way for the conservative media echo chamber to detract from the Obama-Is-A-Superhero narrative would be to **talk up Bush**. Bush is freakin' radioactive.An October Osama capture would be devastating.
I'm a Republican, and I'm concerned that Obama will open the gates of hell, and release Satan's minions, just before the election.I'd expect no less from a socialist Luo tribesman...
But what you've described is not a true October Surprise. A genuine surprise is a tactical move that's supposed to have one party energized and the other either ducking the issue or crying foul; Bin Laden's capture wouldn't do that. Republicans wouldn't avoid it, they would gladly take it on as a talking point. It wouldn't devastate them at all, and it wouldn't affect independent voters - conservative and liberal-leaners would still lean the same way.The capture would be such a big deal, I don't even think you'd see much partisan posturing from the politicians... Obama would probably call Bush to the White House for photo ops. Most of the arguing would be amongst the pundits and think tanks.
I'm not a conservative, but I saw one on TV once:is the question supposed to mean one from the GOP camp or the Dems?From the GOP camp: somebody emerges with dirt on Pelosi. She, I dunno, beats her limo driver with her riding crop for slowing down to avoid running over a middle-class person or something like that. Or possibly a tape of her taking minority voters for granted.From the Dem camp: a tape gets leaked of (pick one: Palin, Boehner, McCain--and Johnny Mac is only in there because he carried the flag in '08) calling the Tea Partiers "a bunch of fucktards. I can't believe these hicks are buying this shit!" (complete with cusses, so I think the 'fucktard' thing is necessary so that it's offensive)You wanted surprise, so I shot for the moon. In reality, the biggest surprise I would expect (can you expect a surprise?) would be good economic numbers from some sector, like maybe retail sales up 5% or something.
"October surprises" have become so common that they reflect that organizational maxim: "never overpromise and underdeliver". Every pundit is looking for them, as such the reveal has to work hard to surprise to the upside, by being startling enough to impress the chattering classes who are well braced for it.A classic example of an October Surprise fail was the reveal the weekend before the '08 election that Obama once said in an interview that the suburbs bored him. (You can't even write that two years later without letting out a little chuckle - man the McCain campaign was SAD). Surely McCain didn't lose in '08 because his October Surprise was Hall of Fame ridiculous, but at the margins it seems likely to have backfired with more persuadable voters than it convinced.In summary, is there an October Surprise available that will meet or exceed expectations?More pertinently...do the Republicans really want to win next month?(Having said all that, Nancy Pelosi whacking her driver with a riding crop would be doubleplusgood as such surprises go. For all the obvious reasons, but also because one gets the impression that Pelosi is "Martha Stewart controlled", that is, everything is packed in tight to belie the ravages of her 7+ decades on this earth. One feels that the riding crop incident would reveal facial expressions and other Pelosi ephemera that we the hoi polloi rarely experience. I'm all in for that).
I'm not a republican either (thank god). But if the Obama DOJ was fairly devious, they could deliver a well timed grand juicy verdict for the Senator Ensign sex scandal, and they find a way to tie the coverup to Coburn & C-Street. If they're really incredibly lucky, maybe the DOJ has somehow discovered evidence showing GOP congressmen trading favors for passing TARP, or maybe the recent pocket-vetoed foreclosure bill.If the DOJ's *reall*y reckless, they could release some more old CIA torture evidence and tie it to senior republican leadership.Are there any other bigger underreported scandals/crimes?
No October surprise. There is little the President (or Democrats) can do at this point.I don't even think the bombing of Iran's nukes would change the landscape - and would probably depress the progressive turnout.No October surprise.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect