Movies you have watched more than five times

No explanations (like, for example, that mine conclusively prove I’m still a teenager). Just say them.


Being There. Princess Bride. Local Hero. Rock’n’Roll High School. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Repo Man. Star Trek IV. Napoleon Dynamite. Almost Famous. Blue Velvet. Clockwork Orange. Die Hard. Trading Places. Blade Runner. Elf. Something About Mary. Shrek. Anchorman. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Sixteen Candles. Shining. Breakfast Club. The Dead.

Today’s tawdry Trudeau testimony, tweeted

My latest: the October Surprise

It’s coming. 

October and the October Surprise, that is. It is as inevitable as it is predictable. 

The October Surprise can be capitalized, like that, because it is an actual thing. And it can change everything, politically. 

An October Surprise is usually some event – planned or not – which happens in the days leading up to a big vote. In the United States, presidential elections are always in the first part of November, and October Surprises can thereby affect the outcome of those. They happen a lot. 

An October Surprise happened in 2016, and resulted in Donald Trump seizing the presidency. During the election, Trump had invited his friend Vladimir Putin to hack into Hilary Clinton’s email. Putin did. 

Clinton’s emails thereafter became a controversy, and the FBI even investigated her because of it. They found no wrongdoing and shut down their investigation. Then, two weeks before the presidential vote, the clueless, witless FBI director announced the discovery of more emails, and the re-opening of their investigation. 

Clinton, who – full disclosure, I worked for in two states and her Brooklyn headquarters – had been ahead in every poll. But after the FBI’s October Surprise, she was in big trouble. 

The FBI again announced they were closing their investigation – the day before the vote. But it didn’t matter. It was too late. 

Clinton lost because just 75,000 votes in three states – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – went to Trump, not her. And there is no doubt in Clinton’s mind why she lost the electoral college: the FBI’s October Surprise. Said Clinton. “[The FBI announcement] raised doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, [and] stopped our momentum.“

October Surprises can do that. In October 1972, when Richard Nixon lied and suggested that “peace was at hand” in Vietnam. When it wasn’t. He won. 

In October 1979, when Ronald Reagan’s election team actively worked to prevent the release of Americans being held hostage by Iran – and engineering their release on the very day President Jimmy Carter relinquished the presidency. 

In October 1992, when an Independent Counsel indicted George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense in the Iran-Contra Affair. Bush lost the election to Bill Clinton. 

And so on and so on. October Surprises can and do happen. 

One is going to happen in 2020. 

Donald Trump is now doing things he swore he would never do. He has started to wear masks – something for which he used to mock Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. He has fired his campaign manager. 

He has started echoing the warnings of scientists about the coronavirus pandemic. He has even cancelled his party’s convention in Florida – something he swore he would never do – because Republicans were going to stay away in droves. 

Why has he done These whiplash-inducing reversals? Why has he done all these things? 

Because he is losing an election that is less than 100 days away. Badly. 

Biden is more trusted by Americans to handle the pandemic – 54 per cent to 34 per cent, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found last week. Trump is behind Biden nationally – and by double digits in some battleground states. The ones Trump must hold onto to win. 

Mark McKinnon, the Republican strategist who oversaw advertising for President George W. Bush in 2004, acknowledged the pandemic is crushing Trump’s chances at re-election. “He’s wearing a mask and canceling the convention,” said McKinnon. “That’s a head-snapping reversal for a guy who hates to be wrong, hates to back down and, worst of all, hates to be perceived as weak.”

So, if you were a Republican advising Donald Trump – if you were facing not just a loss of the White House but the Senate too – what would you do? How would you prevent a historic wipeout?

On October Surprise, that’s how. And it’s a solution that’s medical, not political. 

For weeks, pharmaceutical companies have been providing Donald Trump with a way out of his dilemma. They’ve been teasing out stories about possible COVID-19 vaccines. Their stock prices have surged dramatically. 

Donald Trump, who pays close attention to the stock markets, is going to stand at a podium sometime in October and announce a cure for coronavirus. He is going to hold up a tiny vial for the TV cameras, and he is going to say the cure was found because his administration funded it, and his administration is going to ensure every American gets it. 

It almost certainly won’t work, but no one will know that until after voting day. 

The October Surprise is a cure for coronavirus that isn’t a cure. 

And it’s coming.  

…and that’s just today, folks!

•WE “charity” spends hundreds of thousands on US lobbyists

• Fired WE staff confirm they were forced to attend #LPC event

• Ethics Commissioner expands probe into Finance Minister

• Sun reports WE spied on journalists 

…and that’s just today, folks! 

From the archives: top ten Wizard excuses for the Wynne Wipeout™

A few of you let me know that the Wizard – who was receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, in the Wynne era – was sympathetic to the Keilburgers and critical of Yours Truly. So sad.  So I thought I would provide this one from the archives. It suggests that, if you are looking for someone who knows how to win, you shouldn’t ever look to this guy – he’s advised three Liberal parties. And he’s wrecked all three.

A week to go, and I have already started to hear some of the excuses being road-tested by the Wizard and the Board. They know they are going to lose.  So they are readying their rationalizations.

Here’s ten of them, which I may turn into a Hill Times column.  Feel free to add more in comments.

  1. “We’ve been in power for more than a decade, we knew winning again was unlikely.” That so? Really? Except: the same excuse could’ve been trotted out in 2014, when it was also more than a decade in power. And: Stephen Harper didn’t drive his party in the ground. Christy Clark won a minority.  Bill Davis ruled Ontario forever. And so on.
  2. “Female political leaders never get re-elected.  Misogyny, etc.” Uh-huh.  Except: Nancy Pelosi, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Indira Gandhi, et al.  They all did okay.  Misogyny isn’t solely a Canadian problem.
  3. “Kathleen is gay.  She was defeated by homophobia.”  Gotcha.  Explain: 2014.
  4. “This is the former Premier’s fault.  Gas plants, blah blah blah.  Wasn’t our fault.”  This one drives me nuts.  (I mean, Kathleen Wynne would still be a little-known school board trustee were it not for Dalton McGuinty.)  Besides, it isn’t just disrespectful, it’s disingenuous: from the perspective of Joe and Jane Frontporch, folks, it’s all one Ontario Liberal Party, you know?  Voters remember you worked for Dalton, Kathleen.
  5. “Hiding Kathleen wouldn’t have worked.  She’s the leader, we needed to have her front and centre.”  Gotcha.  A former Ontario Liberal leader, Lyn McLeod, experienced precisely the same problem in 1995: she was dragging her party down.  So, McLeod and her senior people made the (tough, principled) decision to take her off the air for the final two weeks.  They held onto 30 seats as a result.  Why didn’t Wynne do likewise?
  6. “We ran an ethical and scandal-free government.  We were sunk by Dalton’s scandals.”  Repeat after me: it’s never the break-in, it’s the cover up.  Example One: Jean Chrétien resigned in December 2003, and the daily headlines were then still screaming about the so-called “sponsorship scandal.”  Chrétien’s approval number?  Sixty per cent.  Example Two:  five years earlier, in December 1998, Bill Clinton became the most popular president in the history of U.S. polling, at 73 per cent approval – all of which came after the Lewinsky scandal, and his impeachment in the House of Representatives.  Scandal isn’t what sinks you: per Harry Truman, it’s trying to pass the buck about scandal.
  7. “After fifteen years, there was no way we were going to win again.  We decided to take the hit so a new leader could start fresh.”  Really?  Seriously?  Next week, I will be presenting y’all with quantitative evidence showing that this is hooey: the Ontario Liberal brand was popular, the Ontario Liberal record was popular, the Ontario Liberal caucus was popular.  What wasn’t popular was the leader.  She needed to talk a proverbial walk in the proverbial snow.  She didn’t.
  8. “Our internal polling actually showed that we were going to do far worse.  We are pleased where we ended up.”  You are forgiven if that one in any way reminds you of this.
  9. “Trudeau has hurt the Liberal brand everywhere.  He pulled down our numbers.”  Did Trudeau take on water after India? Yes.  Does he have both sides of the ideological spectrum (unfairly) mad at him after the decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline?  Yes.  But the notion that Trudeau is in any way responsible for Wynne’s disastrous campaign is absurd.  If anything, her numbers pulled down his.
  10. “We’ll be back.”  Well, some of us will be.  But Kathleen Wynne and the Wizard and the Board?

They won’t be.