A Menu of GOP Tricks for an October Surprise

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An "October Surprise" is political-speak for an event that can change voters' minds just before they go to the polls. Humorist Brian Unger offers Republicans worried about losing control of Congress a menu of October Surprises to choose from.


In politics, the phrase October surprise refers to a shocking news event that can influence the outcome of the November election. Well, with just 15 days before the midterms, the time to surprise is now, says humorist Brian Unger in today's Unger Report.

BRIAN UNGER: The October surprise.

(Soundbite of defibrillator)

UNGER: It's the defibrillator for the heart of the body politic when it goes into arrest...

Unidentified Woman: Shock advised.

UNGER: A shock to the political system to get its blood and its base pumping again.

(Soundbite of magnified heartbeat)

UNGER: In states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, it is only an October surprise that could reverse the misfortunes of Republicans incumbents, thus staving off their losing control of Congress. So to boost their electability and that of others in tight races like Missouri and Tennessee, The Unger Report has prepared this menu of October surprises, free of charge, to the Republican Party.

October Surprise Number One.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: President Bush signs an executive order mandating that every high school student in America study stem cells, but only after completing extensive coursework on evolution. On the surface, it might appear hypocritical, but it'll take at least 15 days to order new textbooks, and Republicans can always reverse themselves after November 7th, when they still enjoy control in the House and Senate.

Unidentified Man: October Surprise Number Two.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: The president submits to Congress legislation that raises taxes only on the wealthiest Americans, doubles the estate tax, and requires them to adopt at least one orphan from Africa. Oprah will name Bush one of her favorite things, and black swing-voters go to the polls in huge numbers to vote Republican. It's called the audacity to vote.

October Surprise Number Three.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: With a little luck, there's a virulent outbreak of democracy in Iraq. Crowds roam the streets of Baghdad looking for something, anything, to vote on. Consensus spreads through all aspects of Iraqi life, and the constant need for a quorum helps quell sectarian violence. This rampant over-democratization of Iraq sends anti-war Democrats into freefall.

October Surprise Number Four.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: President Bush ratifies the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, offers Al Gore the EPA to run and converts his entire motorcade to hybrid power. And California goes Republican.

October Surprise Number Five.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: Osama bin Laden is captured. How does this occur? We go looking for him.

And for Republicans, this bonus October surprise:

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: Fire Donald Rumsfeld and hire and openly gay secretary of defense. Our soldiers may not get all the equipment they need, but they'll look terrific. This move could swing gay moderates in Virginia, pushing Republican Senator George Allen over the top. Yes, hiring a homosexual to run the Pentagon might look like pandering, a new don't-ask-do-tell policy will look like election-year politics, and the rose garden press conference to introduce the new secretary and his husband to the country will be awkward. But it's called an October surprise for a reason.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

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