Notes on the Atrocities
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Thursday, June 03, 2004  

October Surprise

While we wait to sort out exactly why Tenet got canned, let's shift gears slightly. (Yes, canned. As Steve notes: "No senior official offers his resignation to the president in an election year unless he's been given a hint or two. George Tenet didn't jump, he was pushed.") As a follow-up to the Kerry post yesterday ("Kerry Going Away"), let me add a few thoughts about the possibility of an October Surprise. You know, something like, "Hey, looky, we captured Osama!" It's got conspiracy-minded lefties a little jumpy.

It's true that Rove may be planning a surprise (more likely an ambush of Kerry than good news for Bush), but, as the Tenet resignation demonstrates, the possibility of an October Surprise against Bush is far more plausible. Here's a top five of scandals that could mature into presidential torpedoes (or in some cases, criminal charges).

1. The Plame affair. Just yesterday, Bush decided to consult a private attorney regarding the Plame affair--evidence that he may be worried about how high up the scandal could go.

2. Abu Ghraib. For all the obvious reasons.

3. 9/11 Commission and related findings. This is more like a Summer Suprise, but that doesn't mean Bush can't lose outright by August.

4. The Energy Hearings/Cheney and Halliburton. The more the press and investigators dig, the more they discover that the relationship between the veep and oil companies may have been on the illegal side of cozy.

5. Chalabi. There are yesterday's revelations that Chalabi was secretly giving Iran classified US intelligence. It being Chalabi, the stories are probably true. What else has he done?

October surprises work in both directions. The president, who has had the reins for 4 years and a united Congress for two, is in a far more vulnerable place than Kerry. He's spent his whole life watching someone else clean up his messes, but that's not an option anymore. Whether he likes it or not, the buck stops with (or runs over) him.

posted by Jeff | 9:12 AM |
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