Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Notice What's Missing?

Like the dog that DIDN’T bark in the night, there’s a standard feature of election season that nobody has noticed this time around, because it hasn’t put it its normal biennial appearance: the “October surprise”.*

An “October surprise” is an artificial crisis, manufactured in the White House, designed to make its current occupant look strong, resolute, competent, and in charge — or at the very least to scare the bejesus out of the electorate so they fear changing horses in midstream. Of course, it’s ridiculously easy for any given administration to look like it’s on top of the supposed disaster, because
  (1) they know it’s an empty threat, since they invented it themselves, and
  (2) they’re well prepared to deal with that exact situation, since they invented it themselves.

The most recent examples of the “October surprise” came during the Bush/Cheney Administration, when the terrorist threat level jumped up a notch from yellow to orange** just in time for every election, but there have been many, many previous versions, during both Republican and Democratic administrations.

But not this one. In keeping with the nickname “no drama Obama”, homey don’t play that game. The closest he’s come to surprising us is showing up on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and that wasn’t exactly a glimpse of the potential horrors lurking just around the bend.

I’m sure his thinking is that the great middle of the American electorate is sensible and susceptible to sweet reason and doesn’t deserve to have its socks scared off for no good reason at all. God, I wish that were true. Maybe someday it will be.


*You’ll notice that I waited until the END of October to say this.

**There are 5 color-coded threat levels: green, blue, yellow, orange, and red. The only 2 that have ever been used are yellow and orange. After Tom Ridge left his job as Secretary of Homeland Security, he admitted that the White House had pressured him to raise the threat level prior to the elections, despite absolutely no reason to do so, but by the time this admission became public, the damage had already been done.

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