THE BLOG
10/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

There Will Not Be an October Surprise

I appreciate the paranoia of my friends on the left, but the October Surprise has been somewhat of a myth for a very long time. Republicans and Democrats whisper rumors (not to be repeated here) and they do this to protect themselves from a disheartening loss by their candidate. They do this to cope. They do this because they believe that the Bush administration and Bush cronies are so bent on evil that they must -- must -- have something up their sleeves.

They don't. I'll bet on it. Now, I cannot promise you that Osama Bin-Laden has no plans for an October Surprise. I can't promise what will happen that is out of the control of our country. But I can say, there are no tapes out there. We would have seen them already. There will be no mid-October capture of Bin Laden, and besides, if there was, who would it help?

No, this campaign is going to come down to Obama vs. McCain, mano a mano. And right now, momentum is going Obama's way. McCain's made critically bad decisions, which, if you have followed his career, comes as no surprise.

A word of advice for the McCain campaign: stop trying to portray Obama as naïve and ill-informed. If anything, Obama comes across as incredibly smart. As for "naïve," it was McCain who dreamt we would be able to win in Iraq with 100,000 troops and we would be greeted as liberators. Doesn't that sound hopelessly naïve?

Not that McCain wants my help, but that's a dopey tactic. Another dopey tactic: constantly talking about the Iraq War. We get it, you want to stay there for a very long time. But by constantly talking about it, it sounds like all you've got.

As for Obama, I thought he came across very well in the debate, as smart, serious, a Commander of our country. But: Senator Obama needs to remember that messages need constant repeating. Earmarks, Senator McCain? All $18 billion in earmarks equals less than two months in Iraq. We need to talk about not what we're taking away (and in the next debate, Obama should specifically mention that earmarks go to things like senior centers in Ohio, which McCain would take away), but what the American people need to get. Health care. Education. A safe 401k.

Repeat it over and over. John McCain is not talking about these issues. I am. Health care -- Obama gave a complicated answer to what McCain would do to your health care. Simplify it. Your health care benefits would be taxed -- you'd get less money in your paycheck. People understand that, and it will frighten them.

Phil Gramm -- This guy may be Secretary of the Treasury under McCain. So far, we've got Palin and Gramm in the new McCain administration. Doesn't that frighten the crap out of everyone? Gramm is Mr. Deregulation. But even saying "deregulation" is too complicated -- say Gramm is Mr. No Oversight. People get that.

Spain -- Boy, this should be a home run. I know the next debate is not on foreign policy, but get this in more often. This is what scares people most about McCain -- that he's a war monger. McCain may not meet with the leader of Spain. Mentioning this in the first debate pissed off McCain -- I'd repeat this every time I could.

McCain flew back to D.C. for the bailout negotiations. That day, he met with a Rothschild. He spent 24 hours in New York. He flew to D.C., went to a meeting, had not read the Paulson Memo, did not speak at the meeting, said he wouldn't debate unless there was an agreement, then debated without an agreement. It's erratic behavior.

Just as he was erratic about the economy in general. Here, Obama should be magnanimous: He should say, "Now, I may disagree with John on foreign policy, but I know he knows his stuff. We disagree on foreign policy, but he's well aware of the issues. On the economy, John himself has said he doesn't know much about but he's going to read Greenspan's book. John himself has said the 'fundamentals of the economy are strong' nearly 20 times this year. The last time he said it, he changed his mind three days later and said we're headed toward an economic catastrophe. It's erratic.

We need someone in the White House who is resolute, but does not push the panic button every time there's an emergency. There are going to be a lot of emergencies, which we cannot forsee. We need a steady hand on the ship of state."

I got sidetracked by debate thoughts. But I want to leave you with this: the next month will not be decided by a big October Surprise that favors the Republicans. McCain will throw as much against the wall as he gets more desperate, and some of it will seem surprising, but the next month is a simple battle between Obama and McCain. No need for paranoia.