William Hamilton: October Surprise and the end of the current presidential election cycle
Grand County, CO Colorado
October 2012: Prepare for a surprise
Even though this is only January, it is not too soon to wonder what kind of October Surprise we will witness toward the end of the current presidential election cycle.
In 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2000, there were October Surprises, the most recent being the October 2000 revelation by the Al Gore presidential campaign that George W. Bush received a DUI citation some 24 years prior in Maine.
Following the October 2000 surprise, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Oregon switched from pro-Bush to Gore, throwing the outcome of the election to the hanging chads of Florida and, ultimately, into the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Our overseas enemies are October-sensitive as well. In 1960, favoring the election of JFK over the hawkish Richard Nixon, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered the USSR to cease all anti-U.S. operations, world-wide.
But, in order to win in November, Mr. Obama might not need an October surprise. He can already count on his core constituency of: liberal Democrats, African-Americans, gays, labor unions, the left-leaning media, illegal immigrants, college-educated women who get the vapors from Tele-PrompTer-produced oratory, Native Americans, Jewish liberals, Wall Street (which he bailed out), Big Business (which profits from high government spending), and the 50-percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes yet benefit from the federal programs paid for by those who do pay federal income taxes. And, given the bully media-pulpit of the White House, Mr. Obama can probably count on half of the so-called independent vote.
At this point, the identity of the GOP presidential nominee is unknown, making it difficult to know on whom to spring the October surprise. But some kind of rally-around-the-Commander-in-Chief international crisis might do the trick for the Obama campaign.
For example, in 2011 President Clinton’s former drug Czar, General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.), speaking to the Army War College, raised the specter of the collapse of the Mexican government. General McCaffrey says there are so many well-armed drug gangs operating on the mainland of Mexico that they might overwhelm the Mexican government at every level, leading to a state of total anarchy.
Sovereign nations such as the United States cannot permit anarchy on their borders. If the Mexican government collapsed, the United States would have to lead a coalition of Western Hemisphere nations or even go it alone with military operations to restore order and the rule-of-law in Mexico.
In fact, we have invaded Mexico three times: During the Mexican War of 1846-1848, Gen. Winfield Scott occupied Mexico City. During World War I, the U.S. sent troops into Mexico trying to prevent a ship carrying war supplies from landing in Mexico. In 1916, the U.S. invaded Mexico in pursuit of the bandit leader, Pancho Villa. Every U.S. invasion of Mexico received strong public support.
So, should Mr. Obama need an October Surprise, the collapse of the Mexican government would be a good one. Such an event would be almost certain to cause a majority of American voters to not want to change horses in the midstream of a war right on our southern border.
Writing on Jan. 6 for NewsMax.com, famed international journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave identified the top 10 threats of 2012 that could require a U.S. military response. In addition to a Mexican collapse, he includes crises involving: North Korea, Red China, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, European debt, a cyber-attack on our electronic infrastructure, and, of course, another Sept. 11.
On Jan. 3, Mr. Obama signed new military guidance designed to cut our armed forces in half. Hopefully, that won’t provoke a really nasty October Surprise.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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