In politics the vaunted “October Surprise” has been a powerful tactic to turn the tide of past elections. Perhaps the most infamous was the charges leveled against George W. Bush by CBS News and Dan Rather in the run up to the 2004 presidential election. CBS News and Rather aired a hit piece stating that “W” only really served in the National Guard to avoid a stint in Vietnam. Rather’s dramatic use of documents from the National Guard came back to haunt him as bloggers quickly and easily identified the documents as forged and faked. How embarrassing that a national news organization was unable to determine the legitimacy of documents while folks sitting at home could.
This wasn’t Rather’s first amBUSH. In 1988 Rather lured then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush onto the set of Sixty Minutes to do a candidate profile piece. In true Sixty Minutes fashion Rather went after Bush over the Iran-Contra affair. Unfortunately for Mr. Rather Bush held his own and won election. I guess Rather didn’t learn much other than don’t allow the accused to have a voice. Political ambushes work better when they cannot defend themselves.
Now that we are in October of an election year the Democrats have again unveiled their October Surprise. This year’s theme seems to be one of personal hit pieces against Republican candidates. Conservative candidates have been accused of gay bashing to hiring illegal maids to working for “Wall Street” to being in favor of “big business” or “big oil.” Perhaps the most sinister is the recent claims about conservative organizations taking foreign money and using it in our elections.
In perhaps his most “presidential” moment yet (I hope the intense sarcasm shows), Barrack Hussein Obama levied this attack on his political opponents;
“So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won’t tell you where the money for their ads come from.”
As usual with these kinds of attacks, the leader makes the charge while his minions defend and try to strengthen the case. White House advisor David Axelrod appeared on ABC’s Face the Nation and in a surprising exchange the liberal media seemed to do its job and question the accusations rather than accepting them. Host Bob Schieffer asked Axelrod for proof of the charges to which Axelrod replied,
“Well, do you have any evidence it’s not Bob?”
Here is what we get from this White House. A request to prove the negative. Prove that you didn’t beat your wife. Prove that you didn’t cheat on your taxes. Prove that you didn’t know that the maid was illegal. Unfortunately, most Americans recognize this tactic and we have an alternative media and Fox News to expose the bias of the left-winged media. Fox News did what most networks should have done and provided the opportunity for the other side to reply and Karl Rove did just that;
“Have these people no shame? Does the president of the United States have such little regard for the office that he holds that he goes out there and makes these kind of baseless charges against his political enemies? This is just beyond the pale. How dare the president do this…They have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie. This is a desperate and I think disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of, you know, enemies list unrestrained by any facts or evidence whatsoever.”
These surprises unfortunately will sway some voters, but probably few. The rapid left and right voters already have made up their minds. This attempt is to perhaps engage citizens to get out and vote. I am not sure that leveling baseless charges will excite people to get out and vote. Remember Obama doesn’t have a fully functioning ACORN to get votes this time. The money quote on this story is from, of all people, a left-winged media figure, Bob Schieffer;
“Is that the best you can do?”