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Obi Wan Returns, and The October Surprise Contest

Thursday, September 2, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Geraghty the Indispensable has long had the assistance of political oracle “Obi-Wan.” Obi-Wan returns in a post at today’s Campaign Spot, which should be read very closely indeed by all candidates and activists.

Among many insights is one overriding one: Desperate Democrats, fully supported by a kept MSM, will try anything between now and 11/2 to retain power.

Which means an October Surprise. Or a whole series of them.

Recall, these are Chicago pols we are talking about.

Here’s part of the key Q&A with Geraghty:

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.

I will devote at least part of today’s show to just such a contest. If you cannot phone in your prediction, email it to hugh@hughhewitt.com.

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