Does an ‘October surprise’ await us?
For more than 30 years, political pundits have raised red flags about an “October surprise,” an unexpected announcement or event that blind-sides a political opponent or party just before the November election.
Google “October surprise” for a quick course in previous suspiciously timed disclosures or actions that seem to be aimed at maximum effect on the electorate. Note that both Democrats and Republicans have been accused of dropping October surprises onto the public plate.
With the midterm elections poised to provide an anticipated smack-down of Democrats, here’s my suggestion of a scenario that really could turn the tables in the election — and unleash a wave of unanticipated counter-events following the election.
Suppose — just for a hypothetical exercise — that sometime in the fall, maybe October and more likely late October — but before Tuesday, Nov. 2 — President Barack Obama, in close coordination with the nation of Israel, unleashes a military attack on known nuclear sites within the nation of Iran.
Hold for a moment all knee-jerk reactions about the wisdom or rightness or effectiveness of such an attack. Just concentrate on the likely effect of such a thunderbolt out of the blue on an electorate angry at Obama and the Democrats.
Remember the rallying around the flag following 9-11? Remember Democrats and Republicans standing together in support of then-President Bush as commander-in-chief of a nation suddenly and unexpectedly at war?
What would you expect to happen following an early morning news bulletin that joint American and Israeli forces had launched air and sea (and maybe ground) attacks against the rogue Iranian government to destroy Iran’s capability of producing nuclear weapons?
And how would you vote a few days later when you faced the ballot choice of Democrat or Republican? At a time of war, would you vote against the President’s party?
Just hypothetical questions at this point, and maybe unworthy of your time or of serious consideration.
But here’s something that is not hypothetical: Iran is racing to build a nuclear weapon and then several nuclear weapons. Absent such a military attack, Iran will become the 800-pound gorilla in the Middle East. Iran will have to be treated with the deference and kid gloves that we now treat nutty North Korea.
With just the threat of unleashing the Iranian nuclear capability, think how much overt military bullying and damage Iran will be able to inflict on the region, short of outright nuclear exchanges. They will be able to bully many into submission, and those who won’t submit to their diplomatic bullying may well be subjected to their military bullying, including massive terror attacks and explicit invasion.
Unlike the first President Bush with Desert Storm following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, we and the world will be unable to mount a conventional non-nuclear military response to Iranian aggression. We will be impotent against any Iranian action. And short of a nuclear exchange between one tiny country and one much geographically larger country, so will Israel.
That’s no hypothetical scenario. That’s coming.
Maybe not by the November election, but soon. And then what will we do?
And let’s don’t even speculate about what nutty, nuclear thing North Korea might initiate.