Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Taking a Lesson From Liberals

In 2000/2004 elections, Republicans won a majority in House and Senate. Bitter Democrats (unfamiliar and uncomfortable with being in the minority) whined and complained that the Republicans had darn well better give them their dues, and acknowledge their "minority rights." They insisted that, despite winning by record numbers, President Bush did not have a mandate to enact his agenda. "The only politician in America I know with a mandate is Jim McGreevey," quipped James Carville.

Now Republicans are back in the minority, a very comfortable place for excusing ineptitude and inaction. Republicans cowered in Congress, and skulked in the Senate, bowing and scraping to harsh media reviews and public criticism, compromising their values and selling their principles for a good profile in The New York Times.

Now that Democrats are back in power, they are showing that they know how to exercise it. They have already raised the minimum wage, banned smoking on the House floor, and implemented recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, among other things.

I may not agree with or support their actions. But they're doing the wrong thing the right way, and if Republicans ever want to make a difference when and if they recover meaningful control in more than one of the three branches, they would be wise to take a lesson. Work out your agenda, make it a good one, and go all-out for your first assault.

If you're in a fight and are tackling multiple assailants, you want to hit your first target so hard that you won't have to reckon with him again. Likewise, in military strategy, if you're conducting an invasion, make that first sweep so absolutely devastating to your enemy that there is no doubt from the beginning who will rule this conflict.

Don't skip into town in two's and three's and start knocking out your enemies by stealth. You won't get anywhere, the enemy will be more effective at countering your moves, and in the end...the Q-word. (Quagmire.)

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