Failing to understand the opposition
Powerlineblog is one of my first stops every day for information. True, they don’t cover every story that’s important to me, and I disagree with their approaches to some issues, but I appreciate the amount of thought and effort that goes into each post. I feel that anytime you argue about something political, you should make reasoned arguments, not ones that appeal to emotion. Politics, after all, will determine our laws, and the law should not be based on emotion. It should be reserved and impartial, and that’s not possible with emotions running high.
So, despite, or perhaps because of, the rational thinking behind (most of) the posts at Powerline, I find that they miss some very important information.
Take, for example, the post written late yesterday, about the Obama DoJ pursuing John Yoo and Jay Bybee (see the post here). John adds as an afterthought to the post:
The Democrats would do well to bear in mind that they will not be in power forever, and the ones who are in power after them will be Republicans. One might think that impulses of justice, combined with prudence, would restrain the Democrats. In doing so, one would overrate the Democrats on both counts.
Clearly, John doesn’t understand Democrats or our current political situation. There is literally nothing to prevent Democrats from continuing along this line of behavior. He alleges that someday, Republicans will be back in power, implying that the Republicans might possibly abuse their political offices in the same way. Evidently John forgets that the MSM provides cover for Democrats and excoriates Republicans, even when both parties behave in exactly the same manner.
In short, Democrats are finally coming to realize that, just like Iran, they can do whatever they want, and the opposition will make noises about possibly taking action, but no such action will ever be forthcoming. Expect to see more, and more egregious, abuses of political office by Democrats in the future, and expect to see Republicans who commit similar abuses to be politically drawn and quartered, and buried career-wise. It absolutely stuns me that the gentlemen at Powerline, normally so thoughtful, do not recognize this.
Where does the Republican party need to go from here, though? Well, I don’t have THE answer, all I have is AN answer. When you’re in a spot like this, where you can’t do what your opponent does (because of personal ethics or because that option simply isn’t on the table), and you’re getting hammered because you’re outmatched, the only thing you can do is change the fundamental rules of the game. Look at the basic assumptions you’ve made about how the game is played, and figure out where you can change things. Don’t expect that making such a change will automatically give you the win, but recognize that you HAVE to change the situation in order to even have a chance.
Republicans, if they want to get back to winning politically, will have to do something that seems out of bounds. They will have to straight up invest in a media organization, or get more disciplined at distributing talking points to candidates and officials, or SOMEthing. Hey, if I had the answer, I wouldn’t be doing what I do, I’d be a political advisor.