06 October 2008
Are you ready for the October Surprise?
The first October Surprise came about in 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson called a halt to the bombing in North Vietnam. His aim was to give a boost to the candidacy of Hubert Humphrey, a tactic that failed, but the idea entered the political lexicon to denote any wheeze introduced in October that aims at influencing the following month's elections.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the possibilities of an October Surprise that would aim at helping John McCain's bid for the White House. An attack on Iran is the hot favourite, but given the parlous state of the American economy - to say nothing of her war weary military forces - that option looks less and less likely.
If a surprise is to be mounted, then it could come from outside the USA, and from an organisation that takes a great interest in America's political health. Al-Qaida may have decided that having McCain in the White House suits their purposes down to the ground. Thanks to the Chimp relations between Western Europe and the USA are really at the lowest level that they have ever been, and many Europeans are looking forward to a Barack Obama presidency.
The October Surprise, therefore, could turn out to be an al-Qaida sponsored spectacular that aims at giving a backhanded boost to John McCain.