Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Surprise Bowl, 1st Quarter

Political partisans all live in fear of the October Surprise, the game-changing gotcha in a presidential race that always turns up in October.  It all started in 1972 with Henry Kissinger promising "peace is at hand" in Vietnam a few days before the election.  George W. Bush nearly lost the 2000 election after a story about his DUI surfaced in the week before the election.

Now, of course, political campaigns plan for it, on offense and defense.  In fact, I dare say they plan it out as a four-quarter bowl game, since there are four weeks in October.

I'm not sure that the weak-kneed AFSCME garbageman ad counts as an October surprise: more likely a JV busted play, because it turns out that, far from being a guy that doesn't have a clue what it's like to be a gargbageman, Mitt actually spent a day as a garbageman when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002.  And he made a mess of it.  It's in his book, No Apology.

But you'd have to assume that the 2007 tape of Barack Obama doing the jive-talk thing to a meeting of black ministers and made available to the Daily Caller is the real thing.  A real October Surprise, doubtless fed to the media by the Romney campaign.  The point that the video makes is the one that Republicans want to make about Barack Obama.  He is not the racial healer that ran for the presidency to heal the festering sore of race politics.  He is a full-blown black racist, riling up the brothers just like a Jackson, a Sharpton, or a Wright, and telling his black listeners that the Republican federal government doesn't care about them.

(Yeah.  If only.  That's what Frederick Douglass prayed for over a century ago.  Do nothing about the Negro, he said.  Let him alone. "Your doing with us has already played the mischief.")

Well, that's just the first play in the first quarter.  No doubt there is more to come, from both sides.

However, you really can't say that the collapse of the Obama foreign policy is an October Surprise.  We were supposed to get through the election before the roof fell in on that.

But for conservatives, the timely October Surprise from the Romney campaign is a good sign that the Romney team is out to win.  And there is always the chance that it is putting the Obama people off their game plan.

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