Dirty tricks throughout the ages

While the Republicans talk a good fight, the Democrats are on tenterhooks, waiting for a 2008 version of the Zinoviev letter to drop from a great height onto their heads.

The Zinoviev letter was an early 20th century dirty tricks scandal (mentioned in Touchstone, in case it’s sounding familiar.) Four days before the 1924 general election, a letter appeared in the Daily Mail purporting to be from Grigori Zinoviev, president of the international Communist party, exhorting his fellows in Great Britain to support the efforts of the Labour Party—to “make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda of ideas of Leninism in England and the Colonies.”

Public outrage tipped the election in favor of the Conservative Party, and Labour’s coalition was at an end.

Except that the letter was a fake. Even at the time, many protested it as a hoax. There is little doubt that it was assembled for the purpose, probably by members of the nascent MI5 and possibly with the knowledge of Winston Churchill, then passed on to the willing conservative newspaper.

But that wouldn’t happen now, not with the immediacy of the media response. Except that in 2004 there was this videotape from Osama bin Laden, and a president who immediately took a six point lead, and squeaked into a second term…

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  1. solargecko on October 23, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    All through the summer of 2004 I had just assumed that bin Laden had already been captured and was being held in a secret prison until the most opportune moment for announcing his capture (such as one week before the election).

    Apparently that wasn’t actually the case.

  2. 2maple on October 24, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I wouldn’t put using an the American version of the Zinoviev letter… or “the October surprise” past either party…says the confirmed independant 🙂

  3. Yellow Cat on October 24, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Personally, I’m holding my breath until someone else is sworn in. There’s always the old martial law ploy.

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