|Russian T-34 tanks attacking on the Eastern Front|
May 1944 was a bad time for German Military Intelligence. George Patton's fictitious First US Army Group (FUSAG) convinced them that the main Allied Invasion of France would come not at Normandy, but at Calais. Weeks were lost before German reserves were committed against the actual beachhead.
But this was a minor intelligence failure compared to what happen on the Eastern Front, where the Russians were able to gather 2.5 million men and 6,000 tanks, massing them on the front defended by the German Army Group Center. The attack began on 22 June 1944; twelve days later, Army Group Center had effectively ceased to exist. The Germans had lost a half million men and 2,000 tanks, in what was their worst defeat of the entire war. In the West we hear stories of Patton's encirclement and the destruction of 500 German tanks at the Falaise Pocket; the Germans lost that many in just the Bobruysk pocket where the XLI Panzer Corps was entirely wiped out. There were many similar pockets on the Eastern Front that month.
The German High Command had grossly underestimated their enemy's strengths, and had grossly overestimated their own. Many of the Germany military disasters of World War II can be blamed on Hitler's interference with the Wehrmacht General Staff, but this one was the general's fault. Bad strategic planning was coupled with bad execution, and suddenly Soviet Guards Tank Armies were in East Prussia.
The election of 2010 bears not a few similarities. Obama has laid the ground work for disaster by vastly overextending his party. However, the Democratic Congressional leadership has played the part of the German High Command to perfection - they've overestimated the appeal of ObamaCare to their own party faithful, and they've completely misjudged the nature and the strength of the Tea Parties. Now the battle is joined in earnest, and even West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Massachusetts' Barney Frank are trapped in a pocket, cut off from support. Maybe they can fight their way out and back to friendly lines. Maybe they can't.
What's eerily similar in these situations is that the Democratic leadership, like the German High Command, heard what they wanted to hear. The data was there for them to correctly interpret, but they chose to fit the data to their existing world view. Large troop deployments to Byelorussia? Must be a deception designed to distract attention from the "real offensive" planned for the Ukraine. Constituents screaming and booing at Town Hall meetings? They'll love ObamaCare, once it's passed and we can find out what's in it.
Data to fit the assumptions, not the other way around. Fortunately this election cycle won't see hundreds of thousands of dead. It will see the elimination of Democrats from swing districts, perhaps almost to a man. This will drive the Democratic Party much further to the left, as the safe districts are much more heavily to the left of the political center. Paul Krugman is already ranting that the stimulus wasn't big enough; expect to hear a lot about how the Democrats weren't aggressive enough with a leftist agenda.
But the Germans lost 25 divisions in Operation Bagration; the Democrats will lose a lot more Congressional seats. Weakened, Obama's chances will look poor in 2012. Expect Hillary Clinton to resign as Secretary of State in early 2011 - she'll be running for President again. She won't be the only one.