"There is nothing inevitable about military victory, even for forces of apparently overwhelming strength. The Greeks at Marathon, Alexander against the Persian Empire, the success of the colonists against the British in the American Revolution, Napoleon over the Austrians in Italy... all offer dramatic evidence to the contrary. In the absence of inspired military leadership... the more powerful side wears down the weaker."
- Bevin Alexander
If you do nothing, nothing happens.
Now this proposition is not always accurate; sometimes events overtake the motionless, but in this world it is generally true that Newton's laws of motion apply to more than just physical objects, and a body at rest remains at rest.
For something to happen we generally must expend energy. Very rarely do we benefit from a deux-ex-machina which happily fixes our problems.
The GOP has been seeking a deux-ex-machina. Terrified of political repercussions, the Republican elites have concluded the best course of action - especially where the Affordable Care Act is concerned - is to do nothing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has argued that Obamacare will simply collapse of its own weight http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/324625-mcconnell-downp...
as has Paul Ryan. http://freebeacon.com/ryan-obamacare-will-collapse-under-its-own-we...
In other words, a fairy godmother is going to magically appear and, with a wave of her wand, make the whole thing go away. This magical thinking is arrived at because everyone knows Obamacare is a Casey Jones style train wreck and it CANNOT possibly succeed.
Yeah; sort of like the National Recovery Act during the Roosevelt years (we do our part).
Oh, we don't have that anymore, at least not in name, but we never really got rid of it either, with most of the policies of the NRA still in force. It gave us the National Labor Relations Board, for instance.
Barack Obama is requesting $2.6 billion dollars for the Department of Indian Affairs for next year, so that the red man does not drink firewater and go on the warpath, scalping settlers. http://www.redlakenationnews.com/story/2013/04/11/news/presidents-f...
It seems that so antiquated a government agency as the BIA is still heavily funded.
As are railroads, and there is a push to build more of them. Obama wants to spend $40 billion on rail transport. http://www.planetizen.com/node/62142I
suppose we need them to move cavalry to the territories to subdue them rampaging Injuns. http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/07/02/will-the-next-rail-bill-make-t...
There is Medicare, Social Security, the U.S. Post Office, pick any program, no matter how badly flawed or inefficient, and tell me where it collapsed of its own weight.
Ronald Reagan famously quipped that the closest thing to eternal life on this Earth is a government program. Once they sink roots you cannot get rid of them. Milton Freedman echoed this when he said “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program”. And yet the GOP is content to allow Obamacare to be implemented, so that it will "collapse of its own weight".
Actually this will - right into a template that has been built around it, one giving America single payer i.e. socialized medicine. That is the endgame here, and the people who wrote this law designed it that way.
One thing that will not happen is a return to a market-based system. We haven't really had one for decades anyway.
I suspect the GOP elites know this, but they think this is the wave of the future and they aren't going to damage their credibility with their base fighting the tide. By their base I mean the media; once in Washington the Republican leadership stops worrying about the people who elected them, the people in "flyover country" and concentrates on those who have the real power.
Once the ACA is implemented the old system will be swept away. Many of the smaller insurers will go under while many of the major players will spend billions to reorganize to comply with the law. Contracts will be signed, old contracts will have to be paid off and retired. Health care providers will be forced to buy the new computer systems needed to do business in compliance with the regulations. This thing will swallow the old system; there will be no turning back once this is put into operation.
And the public will be forced onto the rolls. We run into the Newtonian laws again; once there they will not want to leave. And once the subsidies kick in the public will not want to face the vicissitudes of a competitive market.
No - this thing can only be killed in the cradle. Waiting is not an option.
The GOP elites seem to think they can make the Democrats own this, but they fail to see the simple truth; the media will hang this around THEIR necks anyway. The Democrats will argue that GOP obstruction caused the failure of Obamacare, and the ill informed will believe it. Eventually the GOP will be impotently trying to disown the creation of the thing they fought against, and the Democrats will act as though this was a Republican plot. Does anybody remember the HMO? Ted Kennedy authored the legislation, yet it came to be associated with the Republicans in the media and the popular mind.
Good luck with that collapse strategy.
And many in the GOP are on record saying there were elements of Obamacare they could live with. The elites have not been all that opposed to Obamacare. http://www.redstate.com/dhorowitz3/2012/05/16/yes-many-republicans-...
Their unwillingness to fight this thing to the death, preferring to hope for a miracle from the political heavens, has put them in this pickle. The GOP needed to be prepared to die for this issue, but they still see it as, at worst, just another political issue to pander. They do not see this is tearing the fabric of the United States, and their lack of leadership on this bespeaks a monstrous misunderstanding of the will of the people.
That is why they chose Mitt Romney to run against Obama; they didn't understand that Obamacare was THE issue, and Romney had zero credibility on that score (oh, and Romney would not have fought to dismantle it, either, but would have simply tried to reform it.) It's why they turned on Tea Party candidates when the media played "gotcha". It's why they continued with this gentleman's disagreement strategy rather than go after Obama aggressively. We lost this fight over the ACA with the nomination of Mitt Romney.
There are some who understand what needs to be done. Ted Cruz did what any Democrat would do if the tables were turned. Cruz rightly understands that a government shutdown may or may not hurt the GOP, but doing nothing most certainly will. Letting this thing continue to gain steam plays into the Democrats hands. The argument that we can win enough seats to overturn it in 2014 is ludicrous; we will have to be able to override an Obama veto. Nothing will change then. And that is assuming we can win the Senate, which may or may not happen at all. Remember, Obama has all the money thanks to the many "recovery" packages the GOP failed to stop. If the public was so fired up about this, why didn't they turn Mr. Obama out of office last year?
Because the GOP failed to offer anything better. There were no solid promises. There were promises o-plenty, but none had any real credibility, since the GOP has had a proven track record of cowardice in the face of the enemy. Republicans stayed home. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/333135/voters-who-stayed-hom...
Better to die from wounds in battle then to bleed to death by innumerable paper cuts inflicted by your friends. Romney was a sharp-edged War and Peace.
And so, with no other options, the enemies of Obamacare are forced to force Osama’s hand. This strategy is one of desperation, but refusing to fight the enemy usually ends in such desperate last stands. If nothing else, the public admires a fighter and loathes a coward. A huge part of the problems the Republicans face stem from their promises of fighting the next battle. Strategic thinking is important, but not if it leads to inaction. A body at rest remains at rest.
The ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu stated "opportunities multiply as they are seized". You don't wait around for them; you have to take action, find an opening, and pour through. Once you seize the initiative you will find new opportunities. He also stated "[i]f the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in."
He also said "Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear."
And this healthcare abomination is quite dear to Mr. Obama and the Democrats. Cruz is striking them in the tender underbelly.
A leader must first and foremost lead, and Ted Cruz is doing just that. He is penetrating deeply into their territory. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and the rest of the pusillanimous wing of the GOP are not leading, they are calculating. They are so busy calculating that they never actually do anything. Cruz is doing something.
And even if he is not hatching some brilliant coup that will dazzle and amaze, he is doing what the public sent him to Washington to do. Keeping faith with the voters is huge, and inspires far more than anything a John "Monty Hall" Boehner can accomplish. Cruz has given us a champion.
But, but, but, what does it accomplish to shut the government down?
First, we do not know that this will necessarily hurt the GOP. Contrary to popular assertions (by the media) it did not really hurt the GOP when Clinton shut it down - and that was over something far less understandable or onerous to the public. This is quite different.
Second, it sets up a showdown which will force Obama to show his true face. Already we are seeing that, with his snotty public addresses and condescension. Obama is not the man in the public eye, and this showdown may well reveal that to the public. For the first time in his public life Obama will be faced with something he cannot simply talk his way out of. He will have to actually make a deal (unless the GOP caves and he wins) that actually sacrifices something. He can be forced to back down publicly.
And this shows that there actually is a line the Republicans will not cross to pander. Now the public perceives the Republicans as purely political creatures, bending to the winds. If they refuse to budge despite enormous pressure they show they actually do have principles.
Also, this may actually put some spine in them. Surrender is easy, and gets to be a habit if you do it enough. Republicans have been surrendering since the election of 2000. That election - where Democrats tried to steal victory and we stopped them - galvanized the donkeys and Bush tried his famous conciliation tactic, which meant endless surrender. Power leached away from the GOP, with their losing the Senate and then the House and finally the Presidency. It was this unwillingness to fight, this "duck and cover" strategy (which in an earlier incarnation was at the heart of the GOP's failure to take down Bill Clinton) that gave us this abominationcare.
Anyone who has attended grammar school must know how it works; a bully derives his power from the unwillingness of the victim to fight. Bullies end up owning the school because nobody will stand against them. Politics is no different, and the GOP has been the sniveling victim with black eye and no lunch money. They LET this happen. The public laughs at them because nobody has any respect for a doormat, and the GOP's electoral failings stem as much from their efforts to make nice as anything. Ted Cruz may have engaged in a pointless exercise on the Senate floor, but at least he stood up, and as a result what he did was far from pointless. He has given an example.
I don't think we can predict how the public will react to a government shutdown - especially when the disasters predicted do not happen. Remember, we were told how bad the sequester would be for us politically, and yet we actually gained stature.
During the War of 1812 a Revolutionary War hero named William Hull was tasked with invading Canada. He tentatively entered Canadian territory and immediately scurried back to Fort Detroit because British troops were coming. He had 2500 soldiers whereas the British had 100 regulars, 350 militia, and 150 native allies. Hull surrendered to the British. A frightened old man (sounds like John McCain) he imagined all manner of horrors, until he talked himself right out of fighting. Phantom fears cost the United States the chance to take Canada, not anything the British could do. The Republicans are full of the same phantom fears. http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/03/william_hull_republicans.html#
War and politics are not for the timid. The Republicans fear too much, and for the wrong reasons.
Oh, and Remember the Alamo! And Roarke’s Drift, and Bastogne. And the Battle of Vienna.
Here are a few quotes that may be pertinent to this discussion. Interestingly enough, I found them on Democratic Underground:
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
~ Peter F. Drucker
A leader is a dealer in hope
- Napoleon Bonaparte
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.
~ Theodore M. Hesburgh
Read more from Tim and friends at The Aviary www.tbirdnow.mee.nu