Where is the October Surprise?

October 25, 2008

With all the fast-breaking political news on a daily basis these days, one question keeps looming — where is the October surprise? This term usually keeps everyone – including the candidates, their campaign staff, reporters and whoever else – on their toes.

A classic American political term, “October surprise” refers to a news event that can impact the outcome of an election, particularly one for the presidency. This term derives from the fact that elections are held in November, and any event occurring during October has a great potential to swing votes. These October events, as history has shown, can be either manufactured or as occurring beyond anyone’s control.

The October surprise first emerged in October 1968 during the presidential race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. The incumbent Democratic President Lyndon Johnson announced a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam, at a time when polls showed the Republican candidate Nixon in a comfortable lead. Johnson explained that progress had been made in the peace negotiations and he believed that the war would be over before the election in November. Well, the war did not end, but this announcement almost erased Nixon’s lead, down to only 500,000 popular votes over Humphrey on Election Day.

Four years later, when President Richard Nixon raced against Senator George McGovern, his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a startling announcement that “peace was at hand” with North Vietnam, due to a major breakthrough in the Paris peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese. With the help of this announcement, President Nixon defeated McGovern by a 20-point popular vote margin in one of the largest landslides in American history. The irony of this announcement was that the war continued until 1975, three years later, only after Nixon resigned from office due to the Watergate scandal.

Eight years later (1980), Democratic President Jimmy Carter attempted to create an October surprise by organizing a commando mission into Iran to rescue the American embassy hostages held there, a mission that collapsed when several helicopters crashed into each other, killing some commandoes. Then the Iranian government came out with its own October surprise, that the hostages would not be released until after the American election, a surprise that favored the Republican nominee Ronald Reagan. The hostages were eventually released, on the day of Reagan’s inauguration. This fueled suspicions that Reagan himself might have made a deal with the Iranians prior to the election, suspicions that have never been proven or disproved to this day.

The 1992 presidential election was overshadowed by an October surprise when Caspar Weinberger, former President Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, was implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal, for participating in the transfer of missiles to Iran and then lying to the investigators about his role in this transfer. This announcement jeopardized President George H.W. Bush’s re-election chances, losing to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas. The Republicans angrily accused the Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh over the timing of the indictment for political purposes. On Christmas Eve, before leaving the White House, President Bush pardoned Weinberger several days before his trial was scheduled to begin.

A few days before the November 2000 election, a Fox News reporter discovered an old report that Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving in Maine in 1976. Bush held a press conference immediately to confirm this incident, resulting in his poll standings being affected greatly. However, this only led up to a very hotly-contested presidential race that ended up in the Supreme Court deciding in his favor against Vice President Al Gore.

In the 2004 presidential election, two October surprises came on the scene. On October 29, the Arabic news agency Al Jazeera aired a video of the terrorist Osama bin Laden who claimed, “Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda… Your security is in your own hands.” This is believed to have helped President Bush’s campaign as it thrust the war on terrorism back into the public eye.

The second 2004 October surprise took place on a 60 Minutes broadcast with this remark: “Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told us that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election to ensure the US economy is strong on Election Day.” In other words, this promise from the Saudi prince helped deliver a Bush victory.

The most recent October surprise occurred in the last national election two years ago, again through two different events — North Korea’s underground test of a nuclear weapon and the other event being the Mark Foley scandal, in which the Republican congressman resigned over sexual computer messages with underage congressional pages. The Foley scandal broke on September 28, 2006 and dominated the news in early October.


This year has been rather unprecedented in terms of record-breaking fundraising efforts and voluminous news events, so much events that media pundits are still filtering to see if an October surprise, one or several, has already taken place. On the surface, one can say that it is the economy on the brink of collapse, or the government bailout, which effectively nationalized our financial institutions in the socialist fashion. What about Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe makeover? Joe the Plumber? A McCain campaign worker lying about being beaten up by an Obama supporter? Or is there a real October surprise still waiting to happen?? But then again, we may not see one in during the month of this October.

Looking back to the last election cycle, news came out that the Saddam Hussein trial verdict would be rendered on November 5, 2006, just two days before the U.S. midterm elections, leading Tom Engelhardt of liberal magazine The Nation to dub it the “November Surprise.” Maybe we ought to wait for a “November surprise” instead of an “October surprise”??

Will it be October? Or November?? Still holding my breath…

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors



October 16, 2008

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


American Politics — Blurring the Lines

October 12, 2008

The presidential race has become more bizarre these days and now taking a dangerous turn. Each day brings in major news at a breakneck speed that it becomes rather difficult to digest news and write up posts for this blog. Also, it seems as if the line between reality and fantasy is becoming blurred in American politics.

Since our last post on this blog, a government report on jobless claims came out for the month of September—159,000 new claims. Then the Congress passed a $700 billion bailout plan with a new name — economic stabilization plan, but this did not prevent the Wall Street from crashing in 8 consecutive sessions, devaluing stocks by 40% in one year and erasing 2 trillion dollars from retirement savings nationwide in 15 months. Also, two debates (both presidential and vice-presidential) took place, revealing even more disturbing aspects of the Republican ticket.

At the second presidential debate, Senator John McCain continued to minimize the Democratic nominee Barack Obama, calling him “that one” and still had not improved his eye contact with Obama. Also during that debate, McCain proposed yet ANOTHER bailout program, this time to buy up “bad mortgage loans” totaling $300 billion. The vice-presidential debate provided more fodder when Governor Sarah Palin created a spectacle of Obama raising the white flag in Iraq. However, she raised multitudes of red flags when she explained the need to expand the role and power of the Vice President of the United States, something ALREADY defined in the United States Constitution.

The tone of the presidential campaign has become more venomous with Senator Barack Obama being blamed by the Republican ticket for everything under the sun. One example was an attempt to connect Obama with terrorists and radicals such as William Ayers, one of the Weathermen from the 1960s when Obama was only 8 years old. Another example was that Obama was really a “foreigner” and a Muslim.

In the meanwhile, Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden have focused on the economy, since roughly 60% of the Americans considered the economy as the number one issue these days. Yet the McCain campaign chose to focus on frivolous claims against Obama rather than discuss the economy, claims so frivolous that Senator Biden accused McCain of taking the lowest road possible to the highest office of the land.

McCain’s behavior these days is resembling more and more that of the crazed prison warden Dwight McClusky in the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers, a role memorably played by Tommy Lee Jones. This character was so out of touch with reality and very stuck in his power trip. When a prison riot broke out, he came up with solutions and options that backfired on him. Now the national media is delivering a verdict on McCain’s leadership in two words — erratic and uncertain.

Governor Sarah Palin is another story. Each week brings more and more revelations from the great state of Alaska. At the same time, the American public flocks to the ever-popular TV show, Saturday Night Live, to get a “reality check” through Tina Fey’s impersonation as Sarah Palin. This show is now enjoying a 48% jump in its ratings, its best showing in 7 years.

News coming out of Alaska included a videotape of Sarah Palin being “ministered” by an African pastor who claimed success in “curing” witch doctors, a tape that was repeated continuously on several TV networks. When asked about this videotape, Sarah Palin kept thanking this pastor for putting her on the right track.

Another piece of news from Alaska disclosed Sarah Palin’s husband Todd being involved with Alaska Independence Party for several years, a party that advocated secession from the United States of America. Members of such groups are usually recruited from fundamentalist Christian churches, and these ultra right-wing members are considered domestic terrorists by our government. While the Palins maintained that Todd Palin was no longer a member of this party, it was recently disclosed that Sarah and Todd Palin continued to attend their annual conventions, the last time being last year when she spoke there, telling them to “keep up the good work.” This brings up the question as to where her loyalties lie, although she has been paying lip service of being a proud American citizen.

Then there is the Troopergate, an investigation into whether Sarah Palin misused her power. Upon becoming a governor, Sarah Palin tried to get her former brother-in-law fired as state trooper. When this failed, the public safety commissioner was fired for not following her orders in this attempted termination. During the investigation, she and her husband refused to comply with the subpoena. Later on her husband changed course and testified. As of yesterday, the legislative report out of Alaska concluded that Palin abused ethics, using her office to apply pressure for personal gain. This whole fiasco really disproves the Republican ticket’s claim of being reformers and mavericks.

In several TV interviews, Sarah Palin fumbled through them, providing a wealth of material for Saturday Night Live spoofs. At the vice-presidential debate, she declared that she would not answer questions from the moderator and would address to the American people instead. She also accused the media of limiting her participation in this debate by imposing timed responses like 90 seconds or two minutes! She was starting to come across as the Queen of Blame. In response to Palin’s comments about “expanding” the vice-president’s role, Joe Biden called Dick Cheney as the most dangerous vice-president in the United States history. Still Sarah Palin wants to out-do and outshine Dick Cheney!

When you look at Sarah Palin’s overall behavior, you have to wonder about her attitude towards rules, laws and especially the United States Constitution. Does she really think she is above all of these? Are we witnessing a new dictatorship ticket being formed by McCain and Palin? Their whole tone is now affecting the presidential race.

This past week, someone in the Georgia senator race debate screamed “Bomb Obama.” At several other Republican rallies, people have screamed Traitor, Terrorist, Killer, etc. whenever Obama’s name was mentioned. On Friday, October 10th, in a Minnesota town hall meeting, a woman expressed to McCain her concern about Obama being an Arab; at that, McCain grabbed the microphone from her and said this had to stop and that no one should be scared if Obama became president. For his defense of Obama, McCain got booed by the audience.

Because of these incidents, some conservative newspapers are accusing the McCain/Palin camp of creating a “lynch mob” mentality across the country, and the Republican party leaders are saying “enough is enough,” bearing in mind our nation’s history and our predisposition toward violence. This is a dangerous turn in American politics today where we need to stand ready to express our displeasure.

What McCain DOES NOT UNDERSTAND is that the American voters are an intelligent lot; that all the twisted slogans, accusations and sound bites are working counterproductively; and that he cannot continue to insult our intelligence. Furthermore he does not understand that in this economic crisis, we are now facing the thin breaking point which can beget several forms of violence. This may explain why Obama is now maintaining an 11% lead in national polls. If this tone promoted by the McCain/Palin ticket keeps up, we just may see a Democratic landslide come November 4th. These times of crisis require calm and steady leadership, which McCain has constantly failed to demonstrate and of which Obama is providing shining examples.

The bottom line is that this presidential race has come down to this choice — the Democratic ticket versus the Dictatorship ticket…

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


Is McCain Taking Acid or What?

October 2, 2008

nullThese days, it is becoming more and more fun to watch TV news and other media, just to see the latest escapades of the McCain/Palin team! Apparently we thought our lives would be quiet again after the massive media coverage of the Beijing Olympics. We never anticipated that the presidential politics would create high drama, providing great fodder for nightly entertainment on numerous TV shows, especially the Saturday Night Live show!

First of all, Senator John McCain DID show up at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi to debate with the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama. Right there, McCain shot his own credibility because at the time of the debate at Ole Miss, a bailout package had not been agreed on yet. When he announced the suspension of his campaign, he said he would focus on the bailout issue and would not attend the debate until a bill was passed or something solid was in the works. At the time of the debate, no bailout plan was formulated yet.

The debate itself provided several eye-openers. For one thing, not once did McCain look at Senator Obama, and this body language itself was very telling. In our last posting, we raised the question of possible racism involved, and we also discussed the significance of the debate taking place at Ole Miss of all places. For McCain to completely ignore Obama except to scream at him at Ole Miss certainly brought flashes of racism for some viewers. The days of Old Jim Crowe ain’t over yet, not just yet!!

Another startling thing to come out of the debate was the language John McCain used against Obama — Obama doesn’t understand, he doesn’t seem to understand, he just don’t understand, etc. Obama himself portrayed a steadfastness which polls later showed to have an impact on American viewers as his numbers kept increasing. McCain’s use of these lines gave material to the Saturday Night Life spoof the next night along with Tina Fey’s guest appearance portraying Sarah Palin, a portrayal that provided millions of laughter across the country.

Thirdly, another spectacle of this first presidential debate was John McCain’s body language, other than refusing to look at Senator Obama. His face showed a lot of tension, with jaws clenching at times, eyes blinking constantly, and on several occasions he seemed about to blow his temper, which he smiled inappropraitely instead but then he showed his clenched teeth!! The group I was watching the debate with ended up rooting for Obama to push a button in McCain and let him throw a tantrum; unfortunately this display of his legendary temper did not happen on nationwide TV.

This was how the debate went this past Friday night in Oxford, Mississippi. Over the weekend, John McCain ran into another bloop when on Sunday night and early Monday morning, he ran an ad claiming credit for helping resolve the economic crisis by putting together a bailout package. He ran this ad several hours before the House of Representatives delivered a stunning defeat to the bailout bill!

Then yesterday, McCain finally blew off some steam during a televised interview with Des Moines newspaper editorial board. When asked about the rumors of dropping Sarah Palin from the Republican ticket after a series of embarrassing interviews with the media including Katie Couric, McCain got feisty and said that he did not see any data indicating that Sarah Palin was a liability, including his private polls, party leadership and among his base, and that he thought Palin was doing great! This in spite of the most recent national poll where 51% of those asked thought that Palin was not qualified at all, not even as a vice president!

Really, each day brings on a more bizarre aspect to the whole presidential campaign, an aspect that makes Senator Barack Obama come across as very even-minded and even-handed. Once again, is McCain in touch with reality? Is he high on something like acid or what?

Now the latest from McCain — he believes that his Veep candidate Sarah Palin will do very well in the Veep debate in St. Lous and that he has full confidence in her. We shall seeeeeeeee…..

Go Joe Biden, GO GO GO!!!

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


Hi, McCain? Hello? HELLO??

September 26, 2008

Do we all need a huge reality check? Or is it Senator John McCain who is in a SEVERE need of a reality check?? Apparently McCain thinks he can continue to trivialize this election, and he probably gets his tips and tactics from the 1997 movie, “Wag the Dog,” a comedy on the electoral process being manipulated by creating artificial situations.

After months and months of relatively quiet campaigning for the nomination, McCain suddenly occupied all our attention and the media’s attention, whether intentionally or inadvertently, starting around the time of the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

First, Senator John McCain did not know how many houses he owned and that he would have to ask his wife about it. Shortly after, an announcement came that McCain had never touched a computer, much less send an email message. Yet a bizarre announcement followed this one – that McCain invented the Blackberry pager! Hahaha, someone who has never composed an e-mail invented the pager???

Then Senator McCain made a surprise announcement on his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, after talking with her only twice (depending on which media report you read) and claiming that she was adequately vetted for this role. Then we got this Troopergate and the Bridge to Nowhere, and now most recently a home video showing Sarah Palin receiving a “blessing” at an Assembly of God church from an African pastor who claimed to have “cured” witch doctors!

These events/incidents made one wonder about John McCain’s judgment skills and soundness as a leader. However, several more incidents further raised even more questions. A few weeks ago, when asked about our economy, McCain made this now often-repeated quote, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong…” This quote was made right BEFORE our economy came crashing down!

Another area of concern was the handling of his Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. The media were deprived of access to her, as the campaign decided on a “blackout” for Palin and accused the media of “sexism” when attempting to question her and sometimes challenging her positions. The media balked at this blackout and threatened not to show up at any Palin event, to which the McCain campaign gave in. Another example of the campaign’s shallow handling of Palin took place at the United Nations Assembly in New York City. There the McCain campaign created several photo opportunities of Sarah Palin meeting with several world leaders, so to create an impression of her getting foreign policy experience. How does sitting with these leaders and making small talk with them give her any “foreign policy experience” other than a cosmetic makeup??

Now with our economy spiraling downward speedily, John McCain decided that he absolutely had to suspend his campaign and skip the first presidential debate held at the University of Mississippi. His reasoning?? He had to go to Washington, DC to help resolve the financial crisis and stay there until it was resolved one way or another, including a $700 billion bailout.

Where is McCain’s grip on reality? Did he really believe that if he left Washington, DC for several hours to attend the debate at the University of Mississippi, the whole American economy would COLLAPSE just because of his absence from the capital?? We already have 435 fantastic congress people and 100 esteemed senators (minus 2 who are supposed to be in Oxford, Mississippi tomorrow), plus countless Administration people who together are presently and fervently working together to develop solutions.

McCain claimed that this financial crisis was too serious for him to focus on the debate. Well, we all would expect our President of the United States (POTUS), regardless of which party affiliation, to possess this popular skill nowadays – MULTI-TASKING!! During any time of crisis, the American people would expect our POTUS to maintain contact with us, whether through a presidential address, press conference or a presidential candidate debate.

McCain’s skipping the debate tomorrow (Friday, September 26th) at the hallowed University of Mississippi, well known as Ole Miss, will create huge repercussions. Ole Miss claims huge fame as the site of the 1960’s racial confrontation over desegregation, with the National Guardsmen escorting a new incoming black student James Meredith, a confrontation forever etched in our memory. McCain’s refusal to show up will certainly reek of racism on some levels, not willing to debate with the first-ever black presidential candidate in American history, especially at Ole Miss of all places! This kind of setting with these players will make an eloquent statement on how far our race relations in this country have come, and the symbolism behind McCain’s refusal to debate at Ole Miss will not be lost on us all!!

During the GOP convention, several media pundits and news broadcasters commented on the lack of any real Republican platform being presented and that the John McCain story/personality was being sold to the American public instead. This may explain McCain’s tactics and turns/twists and blatant attempts at controlling this presidential election. Apparently he thinks we are a mass of morons who can be manipulated easily. His rash decision-making skills beg the question of his fitness as a leader whose style is becoming more and more obvious — wagging the dog at us all!

Seriously, John McCain, hello? HELLO??

(At the time of this posting, the national media has announced that Senator John McCain would attend the debate at Ole Miss after all. Still the same, his credibility has been shot to smithereens because all week long, he repeatedly claimed that he would not attend the debate until the bailout agreement was reached or close to agreement. By all accounts at this time now, no agreement has been reached or even near to being reached, and that the so-called agreement as of yesterday collapsed at the White House meeting last night thanks to a “Republican revolt.” Furthermore, there have been charges of “political theater” created by McCain who by the way did NOT speak very much at the emergency White House meeting last night.)

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


The Race Is OONNNN!!

September 10, 2008

Yes, dear, the 2008 Presidential race has officially begun!! Both the Democratic and Republican conventions have settled on their candidates — Barack Obama / Joe Biden for the Democrats and John McCain / Sarah Palin for the Republicans. Already words are flying out of the coop. Words and charges such as change change change, “no way, no how, no McCain,” “pitbull with lipstick”, racism/sexism, Troopergate, the “bridge to nowhere,” swift-boating, and now “lipstick on a pig but still a pig.”

The amazing thing is that with a woman in the presidential election equation now, everyone is becoming obsessed with lipstick. Is this McCain’s way of diverting our attention from all the real issues of the day? The American public has every right to be appalled at the McCain campaign’s attempts to trivialize this election. This proves true those allegations of the Republicans’ view of the American people as a mass of morons. Since the McCain campaign has begun the trivialization of this election, he and his running mate Sarah Palin have become “fair game.”

Hey, John McCain, guess what? Sarah Palin DOES NOT own a monopoly on lipstick!! Billions of women all over the world enjoy lipstick, too!!

Let the discussion begin…

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


A New Poll from Deaf Democrats — West Virginia Primary!!

May 11, 2008

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors