While liberal smearing of McCain and Palin continues unabated, is the Obama campaign looking to staunch the bleeding with a "September Surprise?" It would be easy to pull off. Remember the McGovern campaign's desperation in 1972 with Sen. Tom Eagleton on the ticket? Eagleton was replaced when it was revealed he had undergone psychiatric treatment. The switch didn't help McGovern any more than it would help Obama.
There is some interesting speculation on the response of the Obama team to their free-fall in the polls post-Palin. The initial response has been to dispatch to Alaska teams of lawyers tasked to dig up (or manufacture?) dirt on Sarah Palin, make slick radio and TV commercials smearing Palin, and work the blogosphere to encourage McCain to dump Palin. Of course, when I refer to the "Obama team" I include the "usual suspects" in the Obama media (CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc., ad nauseam). If there were any remaining doubt about the heavy bias in the media (bias that began in earnest in 1964 and has peaked with the media attempt to elect Obama), this election is removing any vestiges of such doubt. When this election is behind us, perhaps the public will pause to ask whether the global warming campaign has been similarly propagandized by the media. If they do, they'll learn that they've been lied to and facts distorted just as severely as with the election campaign.
What options does the Obama team have? As I see it, there are several:
Do nothing and ride it out, keeping the campaign on the high road.
Pull a "September Surprise" (October would be too late as it would have to be done before the debates) by dumping Sen. Biden and naming Sen. Hillary Clinton as the new VP running mate.
A combination of stepping up the negative campaign attacks and a "September Surprise."
There are certainly other possibilities, but these four are basically the only viable options available.
Let's consider each and their likely outcome:
Do nothing, take the high road.
While this might prove to be the best option, it is unlikely to be the option chosen. Why? The rapid deterioration of Obama's poll numbers has the Obama team off their stride and acting with such urgency that the most rational choice appears to be the least appealing. There is a sense of a desperate need to "do something" and to do it quickly. There is a real concern that when the debates come and Obama is off his TelePrompTer and Biden must square off against Palin, things will get even more ugly for the Obama campaign very quickly. Consequently, it's probably a pretty safe bet that this option will not be pursued.
Take the low road, step up the attacks.
This is the easiest and quickest response, and, in fact, that is what has been observed since the Democrat National Convention (DNC) ended. The anticipated Obama "convention bump" in the polls was severely blunted by McCain's brilliant selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP candidate the morning after the DNC closed. Palin's selection obliterated any significant Obama surge in the polls and, in fact, produced a McCain surge that has seen McCain gain a comfortable lead among likely voters and achieve a statistical tie (or better) among all those polled. That is an astonishing achievement for a campaign that had been all but written off as having no chance. Clearly, the Obama campaign, stung by the McCain-Palin polling success, is fighting back the way they do best. By smearing and lying about their opponents. Remember, the Obama campaign had built up quite a bit of hubris when they thought they were invincible (not too unlike what we witnessed with Hillary Clinton's campaign in the early days of the primaries). Hubris tends to cloud judgement and attach blinders to those who are overcome by it. When the smearing produces the opposite effect (rising McCain-Palin poll numbers), they simply step up the smearing as though that would somehow turn things around. Despite the best efforts of the Obama media who will declare all debates clear victories for the Obama ticket, all their efforts to create an Obama surge won't work. At some point the Obama campaign will realize this and look for another option.
Depending upon how long it takes the Obama campaign to shake off the hubris and realize that the low road does not lead to the White House, they may look at the only "surprise" that might possibly pull their campaign out of the fire. The only really effective action would be to remove Sen. Biden from the campaign and replace him with Sen. Hillary Clinton. While this "surprise" may seem the only one that has much of a chance for success, it raises certain questions, namely:
How to remove Sen. Biden from the ticket?
The options here range from Sen. Biden resigning (perhaps on the grounds of some trumped-up medical condition) to arranging a secret "meeting" with Sen. Biden in Fort Marcy Park. Probably the most sympathetic and easiest to arrange would be to have a physician "examine" Sen. Biden and announce that the stress of the campaign has revealed a serious health issue that must be addressed. This would allow Biden to withdraw without embarrassment and provide the Obama campaign with a measure of sympathy. So this question can easily be addressed and poses no problems. Should Biden refuse, well, there's always that option for a meeting in the park.
Would Sen. Clinton accept the invitation?
This is a tough one. I suspect that had Obama ever considered Sen. Clinton for his original selection, he may have been turned down. Only Hillary really knows. However, given the reaction to Palin and the Clintons' cravings for public adoration, stepping "up to the plate" and accepting the invitation would be very likely and most closely achieve the Clintons' real objective. The only problem with this option for Obama is that, should the Clintons' become only his heartbeat from the presidency, it could adversely affect his life-expectancy. The only remaining question is whether it would make a difference in terms of the election outcome.
Would it make any difference?
It would certainly make some difference. Would it make enough to change the election outcome? That would hinge on the results of focus group polling in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. When you get right down to it, the women of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio will likely determine who will become our next president. That's true regardless of what option the Obama campaign pursues. If the women of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio go for McCain-Palin (or Palin-McCain, as they may have come to view it), then it's all over for Obama, regardless of what he does. Nobody in their right mind would try to predict how this question will play out if Hillary is on the ticket. What would be the impact of cynicism over Obama changing his VP selection to a woman in response to McCain's bold action just so Obama can obtain the presidency? Do women prefer a strong woman, like Palin, who achieved her stature on her own merits? Or would they prefer Hillary Clinton, who tolerated intolerable behavior of her husband and gained her political strength on the shoulders of her husband's political successes? Do most woman find Palin's views (representative of about 60% of Americans) more appealing than Clinton's views (representative of about 28% of Americans)? Time will tell.
I would rate the likelihood of a "September Surprise" that involved replacing Biden as just a 50-50 proposition. Too many unknowns and each involves risk. With his selection of Biden in the first place, Obama appears more comfortable with low-risk options.
A combination of taking the low road and a "September Surprise."
This is only as likely as replacing Biden on the ticket. It is unlikely that the Obama campaign will return to the high road. They've descended so far into the muck that it might be impossible to extract themselves before election day. At least voters will have a clear perception that a vote for Obama is a vote for four more years of the politics of personal destruction.
In the end, I suspect that there will be no major "September Surprise" from either campaign. The only "October Surprise" will come in the form of the boldness of the media in their final frenzy to toss more muck in the hopes of electing Obama. So we can expect more of the smear campaign from the Obama camp (with the media playing an increasing role) right up until election day. Meanwhile, we'll see more of the high road optimism and straight talk that we've come to expect from the McCain campaign.
Finally, one thing that gets little attention or discussion is the consequences of electing someone who, throughout his brief Senatorial career and primary and presidential campaigns, has been a highly partisan, very divisive figure. Obama's polemics fly in the face of his feigned campaign for national unity. After the long bitter campaign against Hillary (and Bill) Clinton, Obama has had difficulty uniting the Democrat Party. Given his long history of bashing Republicans and blaming them for every evil, is it reasonable to believe he will suddenly change his colors and become a uniter? He may pay lip service to that suggestion, but he is ill-equipped to carry out the task. McCain, on the other hand, has a long history of bi-partisan and non-partisan activity. He does not go around blaming Democrats for all the world's evils. McCain could bring a sense of unity to our nation and he would certainly not practice the politics of personal destruction. Something to think about if you want a return to civility in Washington.
Bob Webster is a descendent of Daniel Webster's father and early American patriot, Ebenezer Webster. Bob has always had a strong interest in history, our Constitution, U.S. politics and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican ("little r" republican) with objectivist and libertarian roots, he has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for every high school student so they can understand the dangers of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.