The October Surprises Start Early this Year
Here we go! Or as Michelle Malkin writes, "Not again:"
From Zoe Baird to Michael Huffington to Linda Chavez to Bernie Kerik, the political class can’t seem to follow the same tax and immigration laws everyone else is required to follow when it comes to hiring and paying their household help. Tim Geithner got away with it. But as the links above show (and it’s by no means a comprehensive list), there’s a long history of candidates and nominees torpedoed over their failures to cross the t’s and dot the i’s at home.
So, what was Meg Whitman thinking?
Yes, it’s politically timed.
Yes, I repeat: Gloria Allred is a crapweasel.
Yes, it’s absurd for the housekeeper who stayed on for nine years at $23/hour to complain about being “abused.”
But the question remains: Did Whitman receive a red-flag no-match letter years before she fired this woman or not?
One last point: If you think I’m saying Jerry Moonbeam Brown is preferable to Whitman, you think wrong. What I am saying is that we should be honest about how careless and lame both of these chucklehead candidates have been (need a refresher on Whitman’s gushing over Van Jones? Here.)
At the start of the month, Jim Geraghty's campaign guru, "Obi-Won Kenobi" predicted near-daily October Surprises:
Q: The atmosphere can’t stay like this for two months, right? Something has to go wrong for Republicans.
OWK: Can the Democrats outplay the GOP in the closing weeks and save just enough to hold on?
One problem area is that Republicans don’t usually get the media dynamic. Look at the week of the Obamacare vote — while Republicans were focused on legislative maneuvers and talking amendments, the White House created the right media climate, one where wavering Democrats could feel comfortable by citing the support of the Catholic nuns and the hospital associations and the CBO in a nice little series of TV set-pieces.
Remember that Politico piece about the daily phone call of Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, Begala, and George Stephanopoulos on the White House line of the day? ABC News has been tracking pretty accurately on the White House various pitches this spring and summer — the Tea partiers are haters or Timothy McVeigh types — then the whole setup for the NAACP convention launched the “they’re all racist” theme, etc. So keep an eye on ABC, especially Stephanopoulos and also First Read and Politico — they’re usually the first-wave transmitters of the White House line. Believe me, they’ve already got a pollster or two who’s ready to bend some numbers and journalists ready to write about the “sudden Democratic surge.” I’d love to know which week they have picked for the “Democrats are back in business” story. They have tried it twice this summer, but neither polls nor events carried the storyline any further. They will badly need the networks’ news departments to come through if there is a real domestic terrorist incident or some ugly display by someone on the right.
This fall they will know no checks — October Surprises, maybe every day and all day. What this means, I don’t know — bombing Iran? Capturing Osama bin Laden or some other big name and announcing the news two days before the election? Get tough with Paris Hilton and send her to Guantanamo?
[I am fairly certain my mentor is exaggerating. Having said that, I hope Paris pays her lawyers well.]
Q: What can the GOP do?
First, predict it. Just tell the people that the White House and Democrats will try and control the media dynamic and narrative. This is what they do. They don’t really know how to govern for the public good; if they could do that, they would be in better shape. What they do know to do is use media events to hold onto power, to go on television and blab.
Second, Republicans ought to be using the words “October Surprise” endlessly. Hold a contest to see who comes up with the most creative suggestion for what the Dems might do.
Third, and above all, they need to cut off the one escape route the Democrats have, particularly the “moderate” Democrats who are trying to run away from Obama. Get the word out that this election is not just about Obama — he is just a symptom of what the Democratic party has been since 1972.
There are no moderate Democrats in Congress, because when you vote for a supposed Blue Dog you are voting for the enablers — the ones who keep the House and Senate run by liberals.
And don’t sit on the lead — throw the damn ball! Keep the issues coming and keep the Democrats off balance. Berwick’s appointment was an amazing double down by the White House and the biggest gift of the campaign season. Every GOP Senate candidate can talk about the rationing that is coming to their state with this guy as the personification of it. He wants to decide whether grandpa or for that matter Dad gets his medical device or drug.
It’s a little encouraging what Boehner is doing — calling for the economic team’s dismissal, and then going to the national-security issue. For the first time in a long while, the GOP is selecting issues and talking to a national audience and trying to influence the media dynamic.
As George Will wrote in September of 2003 during the California recall election, October Surprises are the signature of power-hungry Sacramento Democrats and their followers:
Can the tone of the recall campaign get worse? Just wait. Ken Khachigian, a veteran Republican strategist, warns that Schwarzenegger should brace himself for what has become the Democrats’ trademark tactic. In football it is penalized as a “late hit,” but in politics it is often rewarded with success. George W. Bush received such a hit in the final weekend of the 2000 campaign — the revelation of his drunk driving arrest 24 years earlier. That probably contributed to an unusual development: Late-deciding voters, who usually break against the incumbent party, broke for Vice President Gore in 2000.
California Republicans have experienced late hits three times in the past 11 years. In 1992 Bruce Herschensohn narrowly lost a Senate race against Barbara Boxer when it was revealed on the Friday before the election that he and his girlfriend and another couple had visited a strip club. In 1994 Michael Huffington narrowly lost a Senate race against Feinstein when, a few days before the election, it was revealed that he had hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. In 1998 Darrell Issa — he is now a congressmen; his $1.6 million funding of the recall petition drive produced this recall election — lost a Senate primary when it was revealed that he had embellished his military record.
A late hit by the Davis campaign against Schwarzenegger cannot come so late that there is no time for another such hit, one against Davis’s other problem, Bustamante. This could get even uglier.
On the other hand, it could always be worse. "I mean the missile crisis saved the Dems in 1962," Obi-Wan notes in a new update, although he continues to see remarkably robust numbers for the GOP in general in the House. "From Congress to Obama, everything they do reinforces their own implosion -- it looks like McGovern, or the Dukakis campaigns."
But then, October doesn't actually begin until Friday.
Update: At the San Francisco Chronicle, Debra J. Saunders (one of the very few center right journalists employed by that palace guard newspaper) calls Allred and Brown's stunt "a bunch of garbage:"
What proof does Allred have that Whitman knew? Allred alleges that the Social Security Administration sent a letter informing the Whitman household that their housekeeper's Social Security number did not match her name.
Whitman and her husband deny having seen such a letter. So far, Allred has failed to produce it.
"If Ms. Whitman would like to dispute our claims of what she knew and when she knew it, then she should be prepared for the release of evidence," Allred said. And you thought the burden was on the accuser.
"This entire political circus is targeted at one demographic," said Whitman spokesman Tucker Bounds. "New polling numbers show that Jerry Brown is nearly losing in the Latino community. This is a political play."
Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford released a statement that hit Whitman for showing "that she thinks the rules don't apply to her. After more than a year of Whitman demanding immigration policy that 'holds employers accountable,' we learn that accountability doesn't extend to her own actions."
Without proof that Whitman knew about Diaz, that's a cheap unsubstantiated shot from the Brown camp.
Expect plenty more of them to come. But then, as Jim Treacher writes at the Daily Caller, "Not everybody hates the Democrats yet…but it’s still five weeks until the midterms!"
Update: Hugh Hewitt adds, "Gloria was my guest today, but she hung up. The audio and transcript below are self-explanatory. Every media account of her press conference tomorrow should mention that she couldn't or wouldn't state the law on air."