What will it be?
October is here. This can translate to a variety of things depending on whom you ask. For football fans, the couch is just getting that comfortable groove back and the air is ripe for tailgating. For marketers, it marks the start of advertising…for Valentine's Day. (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are covered by July). For students it brings the anxiety and excitement of Homecoming, PSATs and another eight months of cafeteria food. But for politicians, it means a month of anticipating the unexpected. The October surprise is around the corner.
As we near the general election in November, political campaigns start ridin' dirty. Candidates on both sides of the aisle start dredging up all sorts of stuff on their opponents: who they picked on in third grade, that time they ate three grapes in the supermarket when no one was looking, their high school crush, how many red lights they've run, etc. The October surprise is any shocking event that is revealed or occurs with the potential to sway the outcome of the election. So what is this year's October surprise going to be? Well, as an amateur fortuneteller, I don the outfit, get out the cards and take a look into the crystal ball.
- Vice President Dick Cheney is found to have a heart. This breaking news from the medical community comes days before the election. Republican strategists hope that it will sway the crucial "Soccer Mom" voters, who don't really like their party leaders to be mechanical robots. Democrats are stunned; Al Gore blames the discovery on global warming. Bush says, "Who's Cheney?"
- Senator George Allen of Virginia is rumored to have used racial slurs against blacks in college, cut off a deer head and stuck it in the mailbox of the nearest black person, called an Indian-American by the slur "macaca", hung a Confederate flag in his home and car for many years, socialized with one of the largest white supremacist groups in the nation and struggled to hide Jewish ancestry of which he is ashamed. Oh, wait—already done.
- The Democrats shock the nation by finally finding a presidential candidate that does not go on and on like this sentence in a really monotonous tone about absolutely nothing that puts the audience to sleep and makes them wish that Dan Quayle had become president because at least that would be amusing. This candidate helps campaign for congressional Democrats; Republicans counter by reminding citizens that Clinton lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Meanwhile, weapons of mass destruction are still not found in Iraq. No one seems to care.
- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns in embarrassment over the failed Iraq policy and moves to a French commune. The Bush administration covers it up by hiring Chuck Norris as the new Defense Secretary and starts a war with Lithuania. The news media receives a leaked copy of the army's tactical strategy: roundhouse kicks to the head.
Whenever the October surprise decides to rear its ugly head, politicians will be in a frenzy about it. The rest of us will be doing our Valentine's Day shopping.
Pia Nargundkar. Pia Nargundkar was Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2007-2008 school year. More »