The Cuban Missile Crisis began on October 17 (my sister’s birthday), 1962. As October Surprises go, that is early by today’s standards, but Americans had a much longer attention span back then: television news routinely carried “actualities” of candidates and elected officials that featured the figure actually speaking his own words for thirty or even forty uninterrupted seconds. With the decline of American education since then, today’s viewer is lucky to see a brief silent video (two or three seconds max) of a public figure while the newsreader/actress gives the viewer her critique of what the figure supposedly said.
Given that intellectual decline, referred to as “progress” by the National Education Union, today’s October surprises must come much closer to election day (often capitalized to indicate reverence). Hence, George W. Bush’s DUI arrest was announced by the media on the Friday before the 2000 general election, lest anyone forget over the weekend. According to reliable estimates, that bit of news (hardly a surprise, given his previous candor regarding that aspect of his past) kept some four million blue-hairs (as they are known in showbiz) from the polls the following Tuesday.
So apparently the working estimate of the most attractive day for an effective October Surprise is — today! Heretofore, the Emperor’s approval ratings have been sinking (or should we say slouching?) towards next Tuesday. Watch to see whether there is a bump, as he finally has a chance to act “presidential.” If so, the response just might derail the cruising omnibus of GOP dreams and make 2010 another ho-hum year on Washington’s road to perdition.
Of course, no politician of either party would ever dream of suspecting such a thing.
We are at War with Eastasia. Eurasia is our Ally. We are at War with Eurasia. Eastasia is our ally.6:29 pm on October 29, 2010 Email Christopher Manion