Prepare For the Counterattack

Whether we like it or not, we are in a political war to determine what ideology will prevail in the future of America.  Will it be the ideology of liberty?  Or will it be the ideology of authoritarian control by a self-appointed elite?  Last night the authoritarian side lost a battle.  But the war is not over.People's-seat

Seventeenth Century military scholar Carl Von Clausewitz, author of an exhaustive treatise on the philosophy of war, wrote:

War is a mere continuation of politics by other means

Clausewitz also observed that war and politics are a “fascinating trinity.” National War College Scholar Christopher Bassford summarized Clausewitz’s trinity.  Politics and war are:

…a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation.

Barack Obama’s emotion driven campaign, aided by chance in the form of the sudden, unanticipated economic crisis, succeeded in electing a President with virtually no relevant experience, whose intentions were not understood by the voters.

Obama’s “rational calculation” was to use the crisis as a pretext for an immediate, overwhelming, legislative attack, on several fronts all at once.  He used Chicago style, hard-ball, political tactics to drive a sweeping agenda of authoritarian government control over health care, energy production, and allocation of economic resources.

His first assault, the so-called “stimulus” turned out to be the tactical miscalculation of a rookie.  In a departure from typical big-government hype Obama’s stimulus sales pitch promised immediate, measurable results that were impossible to achieve.  When the unemployment rate sailed past his guaranteed maximum 8%, Obama claimed, unconvincingly, that his stimulus had spared us from even worse misery and had begun to turn things around.

Stimulus failure became the on-going reminder that use of force by government, in service of the Utopian dreams of the political elite, never delivers the promised results and always brings on negative, unanticipated conditions and consequences.

When chance struck, and  Senator Kennedy died, rational calculation led Democrats to proceed based on the assumption that a Senate seat the bluest state in the union would, out of emotional reverence for Kennedy if nothing else, remain in the Democrat column, preserving the 60 vote majority required to drive health care.

But keeping ObamaCare legislation alive with an accelerating series of blatantly corrupt political payoffs, the latest being a special exemption only for union members, from an onerous new health insurance tax, triggered the national gag reflex.  The spectacle of raw power and corruption in Washington generated intense negative emotion, expressed visibly in nation-wide tea party protests and raucous town hall meetings that flummoxed those stupefied Senators and Congressmen.

Voters began to show they had transitioned away from the woozy emotion of hope and unspecified change to their own rational calculation by electing anti-establishment Republicans to the governor’s offices of New Jersey and Virginia, even after Obama swooped in to campaign for their opponents.

Then, last night came what Democrats considered an unthinkable combination of violent emotion and rational calculation:  Scott Brown, the candidate who vowed forcefully and unambiguously to be the 41st vote that would derail ObamaCare won a decisive victory, transforming the Kennedy Seat into The People’s Seat.

In the health care political battle, as in military battles, the losing side kept fighting with full fury until the very moment it was forced to retreat.  Thus Nancy Pelosi told reporters as she left her office at 11:30 Tuesday night that passing ObamaCare was still on track and still imminent.

But early signals of surrender were evident Wednesday morning as high-profile health care zealots in the House and Senate openly accepted the possibility of failure.

The media and blogs are overflowing with predictions.  But this is a moment of maximum instability in the interaction of Clausewitz’s trinity of political forces. We won’t know for several weeks how the political-media establishment plans to counterattack.  But counterattack they will.  You can take it to the bank.

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