09/15/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The October Surprise Shouldn't Come as One

Obama supporters have every reason to be feeling sanguine about the upcoming election. Intrade Market Odds has Obama as the 2:1 favorite. Realclearpolitics has his Electoral College count, if the election were held today, at 304, compared to McCain's 234.

However consider this:

We taxpayers already have shelled out $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since 2003. They have 180,000 employees in country now building what they had assumed would be permanent bases for a permanent occupation of an oil-rich land.

Does anyone really believe that Cheney/Halliburton/Blackwater will relinquish the keys to the American treasury without the nastiest of fights?

For six years Cheney has unleashed a gusher of obscene profiteering with little or no oversight of his petro/reconstruction/military contracting cohorts. You don't have to be a conspiracy-addicted fan of Jack Bauer's to understand that they won't just quietly retire to their yachts in the Gulf of Mexico after regime change and their operations in Iraq are forcibly ended. They understand that not only will they be out of business, but that they could also go to jail -- if Democrats hold hearings into war profiteering, just as Truman did as a Senator in 1943.

Remember, when Halliburton et al. first entered Iraq, Republicans had a virtual one-party lock on governance. Democrats acted like frightened little forest animals. The contractors didn't have to cover their tracks because the vice president of the United States, the de facto ruler of the free world, was their capo.

We would all actually be safer if McCain had a better chance of winning. If the odds were more even, then Cheney's people might not feel compelled to risk everything on a fourth quarter Hail Mary pass that will so destabilize the world and petrify undecided voters that they will experience a last-minute conversion to McCain.

What will it be? A nod to Israel to bomb Iran? An American-engineered coup in Pakistan? Whatever it is it is coming and if Obama intends to weather the dirty trick he will have to be prepared.

If the rumors are right and he is picking a VP with a military background that will be a great start. With Jim Webb having withdrawn that leaves Chuck Hagel as the only veteran on the shortlist. He's a very interesting choice and a great McCain neutralizer. Add to that Colin Powell's endorsement sometime after both conventions and Obama should have enough defensive armor to neutralize the dirtiest of the dirty tricks coming down the pike.

** Update **

A lot of you have written in to sing General Clark's praises. I too am a big fan and the last time around, before I'd even laid eyes on him, he and Kerry were my top choices. However we haven't elected a non-elected official to such a high office since Eisenhower. I just think President Obama is already such an outrageous concept that having a non-traditional VP would scare away as many people as it brought in. What Hagel does, is prove that Obama is serious about a new, non-partisan style of governing. Who cares if the VP is more conservative than the P. Obama will be driving the agenda and if he can find common ground with Hagel he can find it with the Republicans left in Congress after we clean their clocks in November.