The Benghazi Gambit That Could Save Obama
During a weekly briefing of Tea Party Patriots local coordinators on Sunday evening, a veteran of the Reagan administration's national security infrastructure pointed activists to the work of Pat Caddell at Breitbart.com. "Caddell was George McGovern's pollster in 1972, and Jimmy Carter's pollster in 1976 and 1980. The man knows the inner workings of the high command of the Democratic Party as an inside operator, so his insight is particularly valuable."
Caddell warns Republican operatives and conservative activists to be wary of a late October surprise (even a November surprise) which could shift momentum toward President Obama if the public is not inoculated now. From Breitbart:
“October Surprises,” real and imagined, have been recurrent in US political history. The term can be thought of two ways: First, it is the simple reality that the unexpected “black swan” can emerge at any time, including on the eve of an election. Second, there’s the more nefarious idea that an incumbent could use the power of his office to affect the election. And such possible abuse by an incumbent has provoked challengers in elections to use the October Surprise phrase preemptively, as a way of warning voters to discount some last-minute bombshell.
Caddell anticipates a move by the Obama administration which could serve such a "nefarious" purpose:
[A] possible US military action against terrorists in Libya. We might first note that the entire Obama narrative on Libya has collapsed, leaving any Obama politico--including the totally political national security adviser, Tom Donilon--understandably desperate to do something to change the Libya story.
The national security expert advising Tea Party Patriots further fleshes out the potential scenario for PJ Tatler in this email:
As Commander in Chief, [President Obama] has power and authority over U.S. military assets.
His Administration has taken the art of drone strikes to a new level. See this Washington Post piece on counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's June 2012 speech acknowledging publicly for the first time the Obama Administration's new policy on the use of drones.
It would not stretch my imagination at all to conceive of a scenario in which the President, determined to show that he is a strong and determined leader (and in the process destroy the image of him as weak and feckless, an image clearly displayed by his administration's response to Benghazi), would order drone strikes against militant targets in Libya -- WHETHER OR NOT they were targeted against the terrorists who were responsible for the deaths of four Americans -- so that he could then announce from the Briefing Room podium something along the lines of the following:
"Since the tragic events in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans on September 11, 2012 -- including my Ambassador and personal representative, Chris Stevens -- my Administration has worked to identify and bring to justice those who were responsible. Today I am announcing publicly that last night, in (fill in the blank) Libya, (fill in the blank name) and (fill in the blank name) -- identified by our intelligence sources as leaders of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi -- were killed as the result of military action I ordered.
"Let the word go forth to all those who would seek to do harm to the United States, its people, or its vital interests -- we will hunt you down and bring you to justice."
And then he'd walk away from the podium, and leave his national security and communications aides to spin a pliant media with the notion that a month's worth of "confusion" and "contradiction" on what happened in Benghazi -- was it the result of a YouTube video? A planned terrorist assault? etc. -- was actually part of a brilliantly crafted, deliberate plan undertaken by the administration in concert with U.S. intelligence agencies, who knew within hours who was responsible for the attack, but needed to "throw them off the scent" -- that is, we didn't want the terrorists to know just how much we knew about who was responsible for the attack, so the Obama White House made the politically dangerous decision to show itself as weak and rudderless and confused DELIBERATELY to confuse the terrorists. Thus, in this spin, Obama selflessly DID THE RIGHT THING, EVEN AT GREAT POLITICAL COST TO HIMSELF AND HIS REELECTION.
I shudder to think just how deeply the MSM will plant its collective nose up his collective rear end if/when this scenario occurs. Krugman, Matthews, Maddow, Schultz … they'll think he's martyred himself for the good of the nation, and we'll never hear the end of it.
If Mitt Romney, the Republicans, and their allies want to win this election, they will have to put the issue of an October Surprise into a persuasive narrative, as a way of inoculating themselves against whatever the Obamans might be able to do. After all [there is much to] suggest that the Obama administration is quite capable--a better word than “capable” might be “eager”--to use national security variables for their partisan purposes.
Caddell's full article is well worth a read, and it's prescription of context-building should be followed.