Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Republicans have just won the government shutdown fight

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.
- George Bernard Shaw
We are now a short ten months from the centennial of the Guns Of August, when the War To End All Wars began a terrible maelstrom that was to consume Europe, directly or indirectly for most of the 20th Century.  It began with what can only be described as barbarism.

The Imperial German Schlieffen Plan called for the capture of Paris in only 39 days.  To do this, the Army could not afford the time to tramp through the wilderness of the Ardennes, but instead was to sweep across Belgium and northern France.  The problem of the Treaty of London, guaranteeing Belgium's neutrality and signed by the Kingdom of Prussia - was solved by a handwave.  Perhaps the quote of the war was from Chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg, expressing incredulity that His Britannic Majesty's government would go to war "for a mere scrap of paper".

But worse was to come for the civilians on Belgium, and soon.  Belgium in 1914 was the World's 6th largest economy.  The German Army dismantled most industrial equipment and sent it back to the Reich, along with not a few of the Belgian skilled workers.  Arguably, Belgium's industry has never recovered.

But pride of place is saved for what is called to this day "The Rape Of Belgium".  The Imperial Reichsheer was exceptionally brutal to the conquered population.  It massacred men, women, and children in Dinant, Liège, Andenne, and Leuven.  It burned the University of Leuven's library, with its collection of 300,000 medieval manuscripts.  Nuns were abused and nurses shot by firing squad.

Cartoon Thrown to the Swine: The Martyred Nurse (1915).
The nurse is Edith Cavell.

Much has been made that the Allied propaganda was exaggerated and over the top.  The problem for the Germans is that the story of Edith Cavell was not just widely publicised in Europe and America, but that it was true.  There was quite solid support for German in the United States in 1914.  Two years later, that support had dried up, even among German Americans.

Via Wikipedia

The mask had slipped, and had shown - had presented facts to a Candid World, you might say - about the true nature of one of the sides.  As the long dead Tallyrand might have summed up the Rape Of Belgium, it wasn't just a tragedy, it was a blunder.

We've seen this today (in fortunately a less sanguine manner) in the theater of government shutdown.  Nevermind the propaganda, what's important is that the mask has slipped:
In the myriad actions the Obama Administration has undertaken in the wake of the government shutdown triggered by Harry Reid’s refusal to consider legislation duly and constitutionally passed by the house, it should now be obvious that it is the most spiteful, petty and vindictive presidential administration in history. It is one thing to play political hardball as part of the shutdown, it is quite another for Obama’s minions to go out of their way to inflict harm on innocent Americans because Obama isn’t getting his way.
Lawrence has a long and detailed bill of particulars.  You might call them facts, offered to a Candid World.  They are repeatedly and completely damning, and entirely demonstrate the true nature of the beast behind the mask.

That is what Ted Cruz has forced to the public eye and consciousness.  And make no mistake, consciousness it is and by intent.  The current Administration wants to cause petty pain to as many of the citizens as possible.  Tallyrand looks down (or up*, depending on your view of that late Statesman) and smiles.

It wasn't just a tragedy, it was a blunder.**

Cruz has caught Obama in a vise of Obama's own character: by publicly thwarting the President's plan, the POTUS' vanity demanded a public and vigorous response.  But since Obama isn't very smart (and therefore doesn't surround himself with very smart people who might overshadow him), the response has been a rolling thunder of incredibly bad PR.

But the vise tightens, as to back down would be to be seen as a loser.  Caught, like a beast in a trap beyond his intellect.  Well played, Senator Cruz, well played.

It matters not a whit if the GOP establishment blinks, giving Obama a "victory".  The entire brand of the Democratic Party is in shambles.  Even people who don't care about politics care that dying World War II veterans are turned away from the WWII Memorial.  Even people who don't care about politics care that the NIH has turned away children with cancer.  Even people who don't care about politics see the futility - and the punitive rage - behind blocking off Mt. Rushmore scenic turnoffs on a public highway.

And even with the corrupt Mainstream Media, there's simply no way for the Democrats to spin this.  There are pictures and video aplenty, appearing soon in campaign commercials painting the Democratic Party as the party of rage against the American People.  And no fancy talk will overcome the image of ancient vets in wheelchairs, stopped at barricades.

This will energize the GOP next year, and will entirely demoralize the Democrats.  The smart Democrats will be demoralized because they will realize just how stupid their leadership is; the less smart will be demoralized because they will be sick of trying to justify the unjustifiable.  The elections of 2014 will be a landslide for the Republicans, and we can thank Senator Cruz (and Senator Paul from earlier in the year) for this.

I think that this may be the smartest political trap that I've ever seen in my life.  Anyone who thinks any of this was accidental needs to think again, long and hard, about the wages of arrogance.
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
- Arthur Schopenhauer
* It is said that when Tallyrand - Minister to Louis XVI, Napoleon, and then the restored Bourbon Monarchs - was on his deathbed, he was visited by King Louis-Philippe himself.  He complained that he "suffered the agonies of Hell"; the Sovereign replied, "Already?"

** This was Tallyrand's comment on the occasion of having the Duc d'Enghen kidnapped and shot after a show trial in Europe.  It turned the bulk of Europe's aristocracy against him.


system failure due to insufficient evolution? said...

New Deal vs Obamacare: one reality and one desperate try


Glen Filthie said...

A brilliant trap, BP? Or merely a case of passing your blood enemy the ammo when he goes to shoot himself in the foot?

Borepatch said...

Glen, I think trap. My view is that Cruz (and others; Paul for sure) have taken the measure of Obama and know that vanity is the catch. The only thing left after that was to find the right bait.

Of course with any trap you also need some luck, but you make a lot of your luck when you understand your opponent.

eiaftinfo said...

Well Obama certainly has the temperament to walk into such a trap. Below is a link to a story this morning about the families of dead soldiers having their death benefit "delayed" . . . can't imagine that will play well.


Weetabix said...

I'm not sure I want the Republicans in 2014 either, though. We need a thorough house cleaning that sweeps through the bureaucracy as well.

I'm sick of the lot of them.

eiaftinfo said...

Just one more thing to make your head explode . . . compliments of Obama and the Democrats . . . .

The daughter of a cousin dropped me a message this morning. Her husband is in the military and recently returned from a TDY. While on the TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment) he used his government credit card . . . . well, why don't you just read her words . . .


Charles came home from work yesterday and told me he got an email telling him he was responsible for his government credit card payment due to the shutdown. They sent him on TDY for 3 weeks, he didn't have a choice, and now because of the shutdown not only does he not get his travel claim he has to pay his government credit card payment.


This is what the Obama and the Democrats think of our military. Order them to deploy, give them a government credit card . . . . and then expect them to pay the tab . . . .

You might think of passing this on to your congress-critter!

Borepatch said...

Wheetabix, amen.

Anonymous said...

While I hope you are correct, and your optimism is refreshing, I'm not holding my breath. The political blinders in this country are wide, strong, and worn with a surreal pride. A strong majority outside our echo chamber live in their own echo chamber where these things that bother us so obviously are non-events.

Even if an election landslide occurs I'm jaded enough now to believe it would simply bury us in a new set of kings, same as the old.

A plague on all their houses.

Wolfman said...

The saving graces of having a Republican in power (especially a true right-wing type, not a RINO a la McCain or Romney) is that 1) they have no sympathetic press, so at least we would just get lies and suppression of the truth and not Party Line Propaganda, lies, and suppression; and 2) die hard rightwing social extremes, such as DOMA, or fundamentalist views of evolution, would have to overcome considerable social inertia to drastically alter our way of life. It may give us the time to cultivate viable Libertarian politicians (or at least to dress some Libertarians up as variously Dems or Republicans).

Aaron said...

I'm not sure if it can be considered a victory when incidents either discounted or aren't reported as the media covers and spins for Obama and declares it's the Republicans fault.

If Obama's Park Rangers act like asses, and the Democrats vote against funding for treatment of kids with cancer, and the media choose not to report about it, then to a voter who gets their info just from the media did it even happen?

It may be a just a hollow victory that only occurred inside baseball so to speak, and one that then hits the Tea Party and Republicans at election time when the media paints it solely as their fault.

Borepatch said...


The pictures and the video have already been captured. These will be used in political commercials in next year's election. They will strike at people's emotions, and paint the Democrats as heartless, petty, and vicious.

This won't be intellectual argument, it will be emotional napalm. And the Democrats don't understand this and are continuing to step on the gas peddle.

Agreed that the GOP isn't much better, but a serious loss by the Congressional Democrats will be a step forward so long as Barry is in the White House.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

WWII vets stopped at the barricades and now arrested at the barricades, while SEIU has the green light to hold a demonstration elsewhere on the mall.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Dangit, now I can't find the arrest article, and I am worried it is fake.

Rick C said...

NJT, You're probably looking for somethign like this: http://instagram.com/p/fMKBmWhmvs/#

One drawback to the story--I have heard somewhere else (probably via moelane.com or ace.mu.nu) these are antiwar protesters: washed up old Vietnam vets who have protested every war since, and make a point of getting arrested every year since. That doesn't change what happened, but they're less sympathetic victims than might seem at first glance.

Jester said...

I hope that you are right, however just by judging the idiot memes out there even the mention of troops death benefits not getting paid is being pointed directly at the Retardagains. If you even mention that the Demoncats had control of everything for over 1000 days where they could have passed anything they wanted its told well that is then, this is now and the Redardagains are obstructing progress.

The media is not going to cover this because their own asses are in a sling.

Again I hope you are right but there are so many people that will follow the media's common coverage of This is the Retardagains just holding up progress since they "Lost" in 2008, 2010, 2012 (Even if they won the house in the last two...)

Well you all know the drill.

kx59 said...

Well written and inspiring post BP.
A bright spark of hope appeared in the dark corners of my psyche.