An “October surprise” is some surprising event that happens just before the election to persuade the voters to vote one way or another. Usually such events have suspicious timing.
I didn’t see much of an October Surprise this year, except maybe the Osama bin Laden tape, which didn’t seem to have much impact.
But I would like to coin another phrase, the “November surprise”, meaning an event suppressed until after the election that if it had been known before the election would have persuaded voters to vote differently.
It’s just two days after the 2004 election, and we already have our first November surprise. The Los Angeles Times, after interviewing US soldiers that were in Iraq, disclosed that not only did the US fail to secure a major cache of high explosives after the fall of Iraq, but that US soldiers watched 100 trucks cart the stuff off over a month’s time. They said:
“The soldiers said about a dozen U.S. troops guarding the sprawling facility could not prevent the theft because they were outnumbered by looters.”
That is, the US went into Iraq with inadequate troop levels.
Let’s see…thirty days has September, April… Wonder how many more November Surprises we have in store before the month is over?
[Updated November 24]
Indeed there have been a few more November surprises. Most notable among these are:
- Resignation of Secretary of State Colin Powell and the nomination of Condoleezza Rice as replacement.
- Congressional failure to pass the 9/11 Intelligence Reform bill.
- Precipitous drop in the value of the US Dollar as foreign investors see US deficits continuing with no end in sight.