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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

October Surprises

Well, it would be weird if this campaign didn’t end weirdly, right? And there are two straws in the wind today that could be harbingers of weird things to come.
Most obviously, there’s the news from the International Atomic Energy Agency about the Iraqi interim government’s disclosure that big quantities of scary (if non-nuclear) munitions somehow vanished from a facility in a place called al Qa Qaa (can’t wait to hear George W. Bush’s pronunciation of this one!).
The initial White House reaction was basically: “Hey, Iraq’s a sovereign country now! Don’t ask us. Ask Baghdad.”
Now aside from the high probability that this stuff was lost a long time ago, the idea that U.S. military and intelligence officials don’t know what’s going on in Iraq is either hysterically ludicrous, or an inadvertant admission of incompetence. To paraphrase Scripture, not a sparrow drops to the ground in Iraq without U.S. officials at least claiming the prerogative to know about it.
It’s too early to tell if this is a development that will knock BC04 off-message and off-stride, but it bears close watching. Check out Josh Marshall for play-by-play coverage, or read Spencer Ackerman’s “Iraq’d” blog at New Republic for a quick summary.
Meanwhile, in my more paranoid moments I’ve wondered if the buzz about an al Qaeda election day attack was part of the BC04 voter suppression strategy. It didn’t help my mood to hear the President himself on Good Morning America say this about the possibility of an attack on polling locations: “I am worried about it and we should be worried about it.”

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