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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Who Needs an October Surprise?

After watching and reading a week of coverage about the recent political news, familiar and troubling patterns are emerging.

Democrats see the news and see "proof" that the inevitable outcomes of bad Administration policies are finally coming home to roost for voters to see and consider in the upcoming elections. Finally, America will wake up and change things at the polls.

Traditional conservatives must be approaching current events much like parents getting a call in the middle of the night to pick up Junior from the drunk tank at the Beverly Hills police department. They can't believe things have gone this wrong, they think they might be able to get someone to look the other way, and they're a little worried about the whispers at the country club afterwards. We didn't get what we wanted, but it WAS our guys. Maybe we'll get one more electoral mulligan and save our butts in a squeaker.

Far-right conservative supporters of President Bush see events and ... and... well, I have no idea what they see. Maybe rose-tinted dollar signs?

The two trends that bother me the most are the blogger froth about some sort of "October Surprise" and the hysteria over the page scandal. The tin foil hat crowd is convinced Karl Rove has something up his sleeve to pull an electoral rabbit out of his hat one more time by playing the terror card, the war card, or some other card. At the same time, the media has become completely fixated on the page scandal which seems ready-made for the current news climate. It involves Congress, corruption, sex, whispers of HOMOSEXUALITY, power struggles within a political party, and the inevitable guessing on the political impacts of the race for the House seat of Podunk, NY.

What everyone seems to be forgetting is that Bush isn't running again and most Republicans on the Hill don't want to run too close to him to produce any chits for future favors (in either direction). (CAVEAT: In reality, Bush DOES need to worry about keeping a Republican majority in the House to fend off impeachment...) Most importantly, he is surrounded by advisors, like himself, who have a messianic, fatalistic view about the wisdom of their policies and strategies. The bigger the flames when they go down, the more he'll actually think he made the "tough" (right) decision.

I said this after Katrina and it bears repeating again:

We cannot afford to become too fixated on any one disaster or political crisis with this administration in power. No matter how big the current problem may appear to be, you must continue watching EVERYTHING this administration does because they are ALWAYS capable of making even greater mistakes.

What plan do you think Cheney and Rumsfeld might be hatching right now as the media circles Dennis Hastert's office with 25 mobile TV trucks waiting for a comment on what he didn't know and when he didn't know it?

We don't need an October surprise to give this Administration another chance to screw something up. ANY opportunity will do. We faced the exact same scenario two years ago. Bush opponents thought the harm to the country was SO obvious that the facts spoke for themselves and didn't clearly articulate the damage and the alternatives. Republicans who voted for Bush probably thought our obvious failure in Iraq was chastisement enough for any rational leader and they could safely assume we would change SOMETHING with our Iraq policy and Bush would pursue the other normal "pro-business" / "pro-family" agenda items.

How'd that work out?

If you don't like what you're seeing right now, don't get too caught up in the current fiascos. Worse things CAN and WILL happen if more incumbents return safely to their seats on November 7.