September 10, 2008
The Surprise Parties (Bob Franken)
@ 12:43 pm
We don't have a lot of time left until we arrive at that date so important to the United States. I'm talking about the still-to-be-announced disclosure of this cycle's "October Surprise.” Following that, of course, Election Day becomes an afterthought.
Actually, with all the sleazy political strategists chomping at the bit and with the shorter-than-usual post-convention campaign, we may have a "September Surprise,” or maybe one for each month.
Don't you LOVE surprises?!! If not, this is for you. Let's try and anticipate the dirty tricks ahead.
The Racist Ploy
Don't be startled if some of the clandestine Republican forces spread a rumor that was used so effectively against McCain in 2000 — that Barack Obama has fathered black children.
Don't scoff. While that would seem to be silly, it will serve as a terrific "Get Out the Vote" reminder to all the cross-burners and other bigots.
Democrats have their wealthy unscrupulous zealots too, and you can be sure they will find whatever way they can to spark an Internet widfire of reports that question McCain's conduct as a prisoner of war.
Whether they're disgracefully false doesn't matter. If Swift-Boating could be effective for the GOP, why not turn the tables?
The blogosphere will be teeming with scurrilous accounts of secret pre- and extramarital sex. If true, it would be difficult to distinguish the candidates from bunnies in heat — all of them. No matter how much of this is just fantasy, it will get a lot of notice, because it's so simple-minded, and when it comes to titillation, most of us never grow up. I know I haven't.
Palin and the Goliaths
This is the scenario that features Sarah Palin getting the best of the upcoming confrontations with her grizzled, male adversaries — first Charlie Gibson then Joe Biden.
Actually, given her low expectations and how she can portray any tough questions as sexist, it'll be a surprise if she doesn't win these perception battles. And lest we forget, perception is reality.
This is the granddaddy of all the surprises: Osama bin Laden gets killed or captured sometime in late-October. If Karl Rove and the other McCain advisers can pull this off, they deserve to win. Of course, the alternative Obama strategy would be for him to engage in negotiations and talk bin Laden into surrendering. Or sending Bill Richardson to do it. And you KNOW the Rev. Jesse Jackson would be willing to try, as long as cameras were there, too.
So you may think that we don't have a long way to go. But there's plenty of time for dirty politics. Oh, I'm sorry: Was that a redundancy?