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I always thought that the term “October Surprise” was misleading.
It commonly refers to an incident that happens right before an election, something so intriguing or scandalous that it might have an impact on voters who would otherwise have voted predictably.
But the “surprise” part is a misnomer. There is nothing unexpected about ambush politics, and anyone who raises their eyebrows in a Betty Boop sort of “Oh no!” is either fatally naïve, or a good liar. Actually, not such a good liar.
Sometimes the attempt to turn what would otherwise be a neutral news story into a partisan hatchet job falls flat. When you examine it up close, it ends up reflecting so poorly on the “surpriser” that is manages to have the opposite effect.
In other words, you look at the guy or gal trying to slime their opponent, and you decide that the opponent looks a heck of a lot better than before.
This is happening in Georgia, with Herschel Walker.
The Democrats put out an ad on Craigslist looking for women who might have become impregnated by the former Heisman Trophy winner, and they came up with a bunch of distressed exes.
They then accused Walker, who has been outspokenly pro-life in recent years, of hypocrisy for urging those fertile gals to abort his kids. It’s interesting to note that none of these women made public claims in the past, and none of them seemed particularly desirous to have been mothers in the first place.
I mean, if you accept money for an abortion and then have that abortion, you cannot lament the fact that you’ve been victimized. To be more accurate, you’ve been subsidized.
But the Democrats pushed this story for over a month, and while it did have some traction in the early days, recent polls have shown that Walker is neck and neck with his Democratic opponent Rafael Warnock.
The Rev. Warnock has his own ethical issues when it comes to domestic relationships, including a credible claim that he’s skimped a bit on his child support.
But after a debate that saw Walker’s number climb in the polls, it seems as if this particular October surprise missed the mark.
The Walker incident pales in comparison to what the Democrats are trying to do with the Paul Pelosi tragedy.
Nancy Pelosi’s husband was brutally attacked by a psychotic, hammer-wielding vagrant last week. By every metric and measure, this was a horrific assault, and anyone who makes fun of it, as a distressing number of those in my conservative tribe have done, is a soulless creep.
But let’s be clear: Questioning the circumstances surrounding the attack is not the same thing as mocking the victim.
Wondering how the intruder was able to break into a well-guarded home, wondering why the police didn’t immediately overcome the attacker when they arrived, wondering why a man who spent most of his life as a psychotic left-winger suddenly shifted to being a psychotic right winger, wondering why the security cameras in this well-fortified home weren’t turned on, and simply wondering why the police gave out information in bits and pieces is not cruel, mocking or inhuman.
In fact, it is extremely human to ask questions about strange situations.
Because of these questions, Republicans have been accused of everything from elder abuse to white nationalism. And that has now morphed into a new Jan. 6 narrative, an attempt to remind undecided voters that the Democrats love democracy, and Republicans not only force their exes to abort their babies, they also want to revive the Third Reich, just in time for the midterms.
This is the classic October surprise: trying to turn your political opponent into a satanic figure.
It would be laughable if it weren’t so offensive.
Democrats accuse Republicans of exploiting the assault against an 82-year-old man, but they are the ones trying to use it to win an election.
While not exactly a surprise, it’s troubling.
Obviously Democrats aren’t the only ones who do this. Who can forget Willie Horton and the race-mongering of the George H.W. Bush campaign?
Who can forget the eve-of-election revelations that Thomas Eagleton, George McGovern’s running mate, had received electro-shock therapy?
Who can forget the continual gotchas involving Whitewater and Women against Bill Clinton, even though most of them were not limited to October. And again, Gary Hart.
But exploiting the attack on an elderly man tops all of these, and it’s another example of why politics is the dirtiest game around.
And that should be a surprise to absolutely no one.
Copyright 2022 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected]