I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, October 02, 2006

October Surprise

We have been waiting for Karl Rove's October Surprise but it looks like Karl is the one who got surprised. First there was Woodwards book, damaging but probably not fatal. I think John Dickerson got it about right.
But the problem the Woodward book presents for the Bush administration is not that his anecdotes of mismanagement seem shocking or unexpected, but that they don't. Woodward isn't going to change minds, but he'll do something more dangerous: He will confirm the doubts about Bush that a majority of Americans already have.
No the fatal surprise is Congressman Mark Foley's outing as a potential pedophile. The Abramoff scandal resulted in limited damage because people expect their politicians to be crooks. But pedophiles? Now people can handle crooks in Washington but Foley's activities are too much. But the real damage may not be Foley himself but the appearance that Republican leaders knew about it and did little or nothing. Josh Marshall explains.
The simple fact is that Foley's downfall has pretty nearly decapitated the leadership of the House GOP with just five weeks to go before election day. And that's devastating.

What do I mean by decapitated? Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that nothing else really comes out about how the House leadership handled this. No more shoes drop. Not a safe assumption from what seems to be in the reporting pipeline. But let's assume it.

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) is in a tight race for reelection and he's chairman of the NRCC, the Republican House campaign committee. He's in charge of the effort to keep the majority.

What's the number one thing on his mind right now? I doubt it's the NRCC or even his race for reelection. I think Reynolds is, to put it mildly, distracted right now.

How about Denny Hastert and John Boehner? I don't see them going on shows or making any public appearances for a while. They'll get asked awkward and possibly unanswerable questions about Foleygate. I'd say they're out of commission for fundraisers too.

And pretty much any campaign joust or jab at the Democrats from one of these guys, on whatever issue, will be instantly transformed into some sex-with-pages snark. "How can we trust them to protect America when they can't even protect the summer interns on Capitol Hill."
And then of course Mullah Senator Frist hit Karl with another little surprise today.
U.S. Senate majority leader calls for efforts to bring Taliban into Afghan government
QALAT, Afghanistan U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan guerrilla war can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Taliban and their supporters into the Afghan government.
This of course set the wingnut supporters over the edge, asking themselves why should I vote for Republicans?

This from Josh Marshall
Is it me or is all hell breaking loose in this country's politics? We're in the last month of an election cycle and there are maybe four or five stories, each of which could totally dominate the national political news on their own. And each is flaming out of control at once. You've got the Foley debacle. The revelations in the Woodward book. The NIE revelations that almost seem like old news now. A major part of the pre-9/11 story that somehow never saw the light of day and may bring down Condi Rice. And did I mention the election?
Indeed - October surprises.

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