Sunday, October 26, 2008

October is the Cruelest Month ...

In politics. Otherwise it’s just plain great as the seasons change, leaves turn color and I start to anticipate my holiday depression. I try to get it out of the way early, you see, so as not to get in the way of the fun.

October is also the month for the so-called “October Surprise,” where campaigning politicians will trot out some little dung-bomb to either draw attention to themselves or to drag their rivals down.

Supposedly the McCain camp was preparing to send out new attack ads concerning Obama’s ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in hopes of tarnishing the Democratic nominee’s luster in the final couple of weeks leading up to November 4th.

And I’m sure they were planning to roll those ads.

Until Ashley Todd happened.

It is a sordid tale of stupidity and tawdry lies that began when a 20 year old from Texas went up to Pennsylvania to answer phones and knock on doors for the GOP campaign.

Then, according to the first news of the incident, this young woman (a former Ron Paul supporter) went to the ATM and got mugged.

And now comes the orgy of downers and treachery, along with a vigorous application of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The Pittsburgh media dutifully reported the incident, but after a few hours some apparatchik with the McCain camp started pushing the story to larger outlets like Fox News and Internet right-wing ‘news’ sites like the Drudge Report. And then, as Tolkien once wrote, “The tale grew in the telling.”

Suddenly Ms. Todd sprouted a reversed letter B on her right cheek. Her attacker became (with equal celerity) a huge black man with a knife who, upon learning that she worked for McCain, allegedly told her he was going to “teach her a lesson” and, in the hysterical hyperbole that passes for reportage on Fox, “mutilated” her.

Excuse me.

Cutting off a hand or nipple is mutilation.

Cat-scratching a “B” is not. Even if it is on the face.

The “B” was supposed, in some arcane way, to stand for Obama, and one executive VP for Fox stated that if the report turned to be true, McCain would win Pennsylvania, a key battleground state. If it were false, he contended, the McCain/Palin ticket would be guilty of race-baiting and would lose the race.

The police investigated.

Ms. Todd’s story fell apart. She is now charged with filing a false police report.

No one knows yet if this was an October Surprise that went badly due to a young and overenthusiastic campaign worker.

But if it was, it was a very nasty and ugly surprise – for John McCain.


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