Great article at Breitbart by former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell on October Surprises past and present.
Interestingly, Caddell hits upon a possible October surprise for 2012: A military strike against terrorists in Libya:
To its eternal moral discredit, the MSM are still refusing to connect the dots on the Libya story. Whereas during Watergate or Iran-Contra, the MSM were eager to dig deep, as well as make speculative leaps as to administration culpability, in Benghazi-gate there is no similar interest; the big-gun investigative reporters--Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh, Brian Ross--all seem to be sitting on the sidelines.
Fortunately, thanks to other reporters, more interested in pursuing the story, as opposed to protecting the president, we now know, for example, that the doomed Americans on September 11 were fully aware that they were fighting organized terrorists and yet they got no help. And we further know--thanks to a six-weeks-too-late airing of "60 Minutes" video--that the very next day, September 12, Obama himself said that it had been a terrorist attack, and yet in the days to come, he changed his story, and CBS was happy to cover for him for more than a month.
So with that kind of supportive press coverage, perhaps the administration will gamble on some sort of game-changer in Libya, confident that the MSM will not accuse the Obamans of October-Surprising.
Could the administration find some last-minute target in Libya? Could it bomb a real terrorist target, that deserves bombing, or might it bomb some dubious target, just to make itself look tough? We might recall that in a desperate period of his presidency, Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of an aspirin factory in Sudan.
This is certainly a possibility. If we do find a target to bomb in Libya, liberals will innoculate Obama by accusing anyone who questions it of playing politics with national security. Indeed, such an attack would muzzle Mitt Romney for exactly that reason, while driving the Benghazi story further underground.
Caddell thinks there's a good chance the American people will see through the politics of any such attack:
Interestingly, the public seems appropriately suspicious of this administration's motives. In September, Secure America Now, a group with which I am affiliated, asked voters in Florida the following question on an October Surprise:
Some people have speculated that if President Obama is in trouble in the polls in October, after three years of doing nothing regarding Iran, he may take military action to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and strengthen his poll ratings before the election. If this happened, are you more likely to say: 1) The President did the right thing for the right reasons; or 2) The President was playing politics with an October Surprise just to get re-elected?
Revealingly, just 30.4 percent of Americans responded that the President would have "done the right thing for the right reasons," while a clear majority of Americans, 51.9 percent, responded that the President would have been "playing politics."
While those numbers are heartening, the fact is if 30% of voters think Obama was doing the right thing, it would almost certainly stop Romney's momentum dead in its tracks. Reason enough for the Obama campaign to give military action serious consideration.
Caddell calls out the MSM for not investigating the Benghazi story and he's right to do it. But in the end, it will still come down to each side's efforts to turn out their partisans to vote. And despite a big advantage for the Obama team in get out the vote organization, GOP enthusiasm to defeat the president will hopefully offset that advantage.