Thursday, October 08, 2009

On Obama, Government Run Health Care, and "Waterloo":
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Preface: This was originally drafted in late July, completed before the August congressional recess, and posted in a slightly different form to another publishing medium on September 1, 2009. -ISM]

There has been an analogy in the past month that has been growing rapidly to describe President Obama's health care proposal; namely, that the health care plan he and congress are attempting to shove through before the summer recess will be "Obama's Waterloo." To my knowledge, the first to specifically refer to the health care plan by this label was former Clinton Administration strategist Dick Morris in an article he wrote in June for his website which was published in a variety of outlets including The Hill and Human Events. I find it interesting that Morris' column was published a day before the historical event itself began.{1} Not long after that, we have Senator JimDeMint who presumably read Morris' column in June who last week had this to say about Obamacare:

“If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

Before readers think this is just the Republicans playing politics here, they need to consider what the term Waterloo means so a little history lesson is in order here. Though the French Revolution of 1789 (comparable to the American Revolution of 1776 only in a facile way{2}) followed the usual pattern of chaos, mob rule, and execution of "dissenters", the Corsican General Napoleon in the midst of the Rein of Terror and general chaos defeated the armies of coalition nations opposing France twice: once in 1793 and again in 1798. He later took over France itself in a coup in 1799.

Napoleon amassed powers and got rid of distant French projects that took a toll on the military and the treasury -the struggles with the Haitian revolution{3} and the First Rule of African Warfare{4} prompting him to sell off Louisiana to the United States in 1803 being a prevalent one in American eyes.{4} He then had himself crowned as Emperor in 1804. During the first decade of the nineteenth century and in keeping with the First Rule of French Warfare{5}, Napoleon was able to conquer continental Europe and installed in various countries family members and friends to "rule" them who were answerable to him.{6} In three subsequent attempts by coalitions of nations to defeat France in war on land, Napoleon was victorious. He had by 1811 extended the French Empire throughout continental Europe and even into Norway.

While it is true that Napoleon had had some setbacks in expanding power to the extent he wanted to{7} it was the 1812 Russia campaign which was a turning point in Napoleon's successes since his army was subjected to a Russian approach known as a "scorched earth" retreat which destroyed all the available food sources for the invading French forces. The end result was Napoleon was victorious on the rare occasions when he engaged the Russians but failed to get Czar Nicholas I to abdicate when he captured Moscow. Upon leaving his troops to go back to Paris, there were a variety of factors that broke down his remaining forces including starvation, demoralization, loss of supply horses and supplies, and a breakdown of his troop discipline. Throw in attacks from the Russians and loss of a few battles upon retreating{8} and the tide clearly had turned for Napoleon.

Napoleon was not finished yet however. When he returned to Paris, he had about one tenth of the number of troops he had when he had set off for Moscow. Various nations in seeing the vulnerability seized on his military's weakened condition to launch a sixth united offensive against him. But Napoleon was still able to inflict a series of defeats against his foes until a vastly superior force beat him at Leipzig in October of 1813 -one of the worst defeats of his career. He rebounded with a barrage of victories in the Six Days Campaign despite being outnumbered by opposing forces about 5:1 but was ultimately unable to stop the multi-national opposition forces from capturing Paris. Not long after, unable to count on his generals for support, Napoleon abdicated.

But Napoleon was not done yet and though exiled to Elba in 1814, he would escape the following year and regain his throne. However, this time with an army of 200,000 he decided to go on the offense against his foes and on June 18, 1815 met the British Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and the Prussian Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher at Wellington. Here is how Wikipedia explained the event:

Napoleon's forces fought the allies, led by Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. Wellington's army withstood repeated attacks by the French and drove them from the field while the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank. The French army left the battlefield in disorder, which allowed Coalition forces to enter France and restore Louis XVIII to the French throne. Off the port of Rochefort, Charente -Maritime, after consideration of an escape to the United States, Napoleon formally demanded political asylum from the British Captain Frederick Maitland on HMS Bellerophon on 15 July 1815.

Historically, Waterloo was the final breaking point of Napoleon: a massive defeat that ended not only his rule of France but also his threat to again have power. He was exiled to St. Helena not long afterward and died there six years later.

How does this have relevance to the current situation??? Well, for one thing like Napoleon the president has sought to fight on a lot of fronts ala what happened with the invasion of Russia and this makes him vulnerable to a sustained assault on any major issue if conservatives and Republicans can stop jumping on every little red-herring side issue and focus fully on an issue like health care.{9} Second, the president is resorting to courting the radicals of his party's fringe and abandoning the moderate and more conservative Democrats who will have to face stiff challenges in next year's election which is the military equivalent of going up against opposition seriously outnumbered. Third, it is evident that there is chaos in the House and Senate in putting together and a public approval of the health-care plan at less than 50% and falling as I write this which mirrors the confusion Napoleon's troops had at Waterloo.

Now obviously all analogies fall short to some extent but when understood in the context of a rousing defeat so bad that the party suffering it never recovers from, the health care issue indeed could be the Waterloo of this president. Your host for one certainly interested in doing what he can to facilitate that occurrence because what is involved here is such an egregious violation of our God-given fundamental rights but enough on this matter for now. The real fight will take place when congress is in their districts for summer recess, at the town halls, and when they return from recess so recognizing the key physiological principle of intensity and duration{10} requires us to rest on this matter now and prepare to go at it full force for the fall battle ahead both on this matter and also on crap and tax cap and trade.


{1} June 18, 1815.

{2} The American Revolution is the only revolution in history that resulted in a government that provided its citizens with more freedom instead of less. The French Revolution was standard for revolutions in that it resulted in creating anarchy which was followed by dictatorship.

{3} The Haitian Revolution started in 1791 during the French Revolution and continued until 1804.

{4} There were financial as well as tactical reasons for this on the part of Napoleon. On the American front though, it represented a doubling of territory. It also represented President Thomas Jefferson contradicting his previous "strict constructionist" reading -an unworkable method of approaching the Constitution that I have written on before and which I might add was not a view of the Constitution that was shared by most of the Founders including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin to name several notable figures. (As well as the James Madison of the pre-1790 and post-1815 period.) Therefore, in the interest of being consistent I view Ron Paul and his supporters and anyone else who think that if it is not explicitly in the Constitution something cannot be done should in the interest of being consistent campaign to return those territories to the French and declare the Louisiana Purchase as unconstitutional. Otherwise, there is no reason to take them seriously on their babblings about what is and is not supposedly "constitutional."

{4} First Rule of African Warfare: We can always beat the French. [LINK]

{5} First Rule of French Warfare: France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman. [LINK]

{6} One might even say these people represented Napoleon's "Czars" if they really want to parallel in the nations of nineteenth century Europe what President Obama has done with various parts of the American government and economy with his appointed "czars" who only answer to him.

{7} Including a tactical defeat at the Battle of Asbern-Essling in 1809 which was quickly avenged at the Battle of Wagram.

{8} Including the Battle of Krasnoi and the disaster that was the Battle of Berezina.

{9} Or as I noted in a post election analysis thread back in December when outlining how we can most efficaciously combat the majority party in the two years to come and beyond:

With an incoming Democratic president and a Democratic majority in both houses of the Congress, a lot of issues are going to be pushed -many of them ones that we who did not vote for President Obama and the Democrats do not agree with. The problem is, if we run all over the map and oppose simply to be opposing, that will achieve nothing constructive. And furthermore, it is naive to think that everything they attempt to do we will be able to stop so that also needs to be taken into account. Basically, we need to decide in how we go about this first of all, what we will fight tooth and nail for: what are the issues which we absolutely must stand up and hold the line on without an iota of compromise. From there, the rest can be categorized into basically (i) things we want to try and force the Democrats on record supporting so we can make election issues on them in 2010, (ii) things of a less significant nature we actually think can be accomplished despite the Democrats having control of the government, (iii) things we need to put out there for the future which we know will not succeed in the soon-to-be present but nonetheless are points of reference for the future of a positive nature. In other words, we need to strategerize here and not play the same bullshit of those who opposed the outgoing Bush administration on everything and anything simply because they hated President Bush, thought he was Hitler, or whatever. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 11, 2008)]

{10} [Y]our host does not go all out with intense political focus all the time [because] it is physiologically not possible to operate at high intensity for duration; ergo the best way to approach geopolitical stuff is with short bursts of intensity in brief periods with a degree of infrequency. Other than that, focusing elsewhere or addressing these issues with greater frequency but much less duration is the approach to be taken. Notice I am not saying do nothing, only that it is imperative to avoid burnout physiologically to recognize that intensity and duration are two sides of the same coin and cannot be realized at one and the same time. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 7, 2006)]

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Agony of Obama's Defeat

When Politico is talking about "the agony of Obama's defeat", you know there is "big trouble in little China" on this matter folks!!!

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The Olympics, Obama, and the Permanent Campaign

Jay Cost summarizes well a key reason why I am optimistic about the upcoming 09 governors races as well as the elections of '10 and '12.

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