Monday, October 09, 2006

Daley Defends Hastert, GOP's October Surprise

This snippet from the Chicago Tribune must have caught the eye of Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr., DCCC Chair Rahm Emmanuel, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:

Apparently shedding his Democratic Party label momentarily, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley joined other Illinois Republicans in worrying about the possibility of losing Hastert as speaker.

Daley noted Hastert's central role in bringing Illinois—and Chicago—a wealth of federal resources, and he hasn't shied away from aiding Chicago.

Hastert "has been very fair in appropriations ... from the CTA to the airport, transportation, education," Daley said. "He has been very helpful, not only for us but for Illinois."

Daley also had this to say (now removed from the Tribune website):

Daley also praised Hastert for bringing federal dollars to the city. The mayor hinted that if Democrats retake the House and Pelosi becomes speaker, Chicago will be worse off.

"She hails from California," Daley said. "Rightfully so, and she will take care of California."

Question: Will this help Hastert, hurt Daley, or neither?


Hastert has been whining that this is a vast leftwing conspiracy meant to change the course of the November elections. They call it the "October Surprise."

That's why I found this story so interesting.

Karl Rove Promises October Surprise

Ronald Kessler
Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006

WASHINGTON -- In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an "October surprise" to help win the November congressional elections.

President Bush's political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of advertising, and the Republican National Committee is deploying an army of volunteers to key locations to help the grass-roots effort and monitor the elections.

The RNC is offering to fly in volunteers and cover their expenses.

Rove is not saying what the October surprise will be. Asked if he would elaborate and give his thinking about the coming elections, Rove told NewsMax that his take largely parallels what RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said in a Sept. 5 NewsMax story.

As for the October Surprise, Rove said, "I'd rather let the balance [of plans for the elections] unroll on its own."

Then there was this:

A few weeks ago, another conservative publication, The American Spectator, reported that White House staffers had "been talking up the possibilities of an 'October Surprise' or two leading into the mid-term elections."

"They say the President feels confident he can still play a role in the election, that he intends to campaign hard for Republicans, and that on the policy front, there are a couple of issues that can be used as wedges along the way," according to a column written by "The Prowler."

The uber-friendly FOX News had this to say about the GOP 'October Surprise':

Months ago, the theory du jour was that President Bush would announce a major withdrawal of troops from Iraq just before Election Day. But with violence continuing to rock Iraq, those rumors faded away by midsummer. Lately, falling gas prices have also been credited to White House political strategist Karl Rove and the GOP.

Most theories on what the October surprise may be are based on pre-conceived notions about the political parties and their usual spheres of influence.

Randy Tichnell, an official for the Preston County Democratic Party in West Virginia, said it is not unusual to hear drivers talk suspiciously about dropping prices at the pump, even though prices tend to fall every year after the summer driving season.

Falling gas prices "definitely helps the consumer," and therefore, the incumbent party, Tichnell said. "Don't get me wrong here, but they say, 'Are they dumb enough to think we don't know what they are doing?'"

Another popular theory as to what this year's October surprise might have been or still could be is the carefully-timed capture of bin Laden. Analysts say that has been a top item since 2002, and for as long as he remains at-large, it will continue to be. Of course, that theory has its holes.

"In order to believe that, as a politically cynical October surprise, you would have to believe that [the Bush administration] could grab him at any old time," said Newsday columnist Ellis Hennican. "I don't believe it. But that would be the thing that could help [Republicans] right now."

Not so unserious thinkers familiar with Washington have been talking about possible air strikes on Iran as an option. They include former Sen. Gary Hart, who wrote in a Sept. 23 column on the Huffingtonpost Web log: "It should come as no surprise if the Bush administration undertakes a pre-emptive war against Iran sometime before the November election."

I would never accuse Karl Rove of bluffing, but I wonder if anything short of capturing Osama Bin Laden can pull Republicans out of this tailspin. The fact that North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and that Iran appears to be on that same path certainly does not help the GOP contention that they have made the world a safer place over the last six years. Only Bin Laden's capture can do that. The question is, will voters fall for it, and will it make a difference in Illinois?


grand old partisan 1:24 PM  

Daley is an old school politician, who sees party's more as competing teams than blood enemies engaged in a holy war. He also doesn't carry much weight in the circles whose opinion(s) are critical to Hastert's future right now. I don't think this statement helps or hurts either.

As for the "October suprise," you're right. This is nothing new. With a few notable exceptions, however, such suprises are often negative hits on the other guys. I expect any such suprise in this election to be directed at driving down Dem leaning turnout, not something that will necessarily turn voters into Republicans.

NW burbs,  5:26 PM  

Fran at Illinois Review has also heard the politically-timed capture of Osama bin Forgotten "October Surprise" theory...

Scott W. thinks it would be great because he believes some Americans hate their beloved country.

Partisan? Who's partisan?

Anonymous,  2:32 PM  

NW Burbs...the fact you visit and comment on Fran's site is a sad commentary on how you spend your time and energy...get a life, contribute something, or do you just complain?

Patrick McDonough 8:49 PM  

Mayor Daley is a "George Ryan Democrat", he is in a corner with no way out, now he will sell his soul to keep the heat off his own flea bitten carcass. Denny is good for Chicago? Denny can reduce the heat Daley's Clout and Corruption machine that ruins this City. Maybe this is an example of Kass's combine theory.

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