Pro-Choice Republicans and the Art of War

 

Frontal assaults rarely succeed in war, and they are even less likely to be successful in politics and policy. Defense is easier than offense, and troops rarely have the stomach for the kind of sustained attack (and all the casualties) required to have a chance of victory against an entrenched enemy. Hard-won campaigns can often end up as losses.

Republicans did not campaign on a coherent platform, nor do they have the fortitude or unity for a frontal assault. We should not castigate them for it! In the history of the welfare state, full-frontal assaults on entrenched bureaucracies have, with almost no exceptions, always failed.

Instead of trying to attack entrenched defenders, we can win by going around them. This party will not successfully abolish regulation or massively overhaul the tax code, or get in the weeds by “reforming” Obamacare. Nor do we stand a snowball’s chance in hell of out-administering or even managing those massive and runaway bureaucracies. Nobody can reform the Pentagon or the State Department or HUD. They chew up and spit out reformers with ease.

But there are better solutions! All we need to do is follow the wisdom of Sun-Tzu and the greatest generals in history.

Attack where the enemy is not. As I explained in my first post on Republicans becoming pro-choice, we need to do an end-run around the defended ground. Instead of attacking Obamacare, we need to merely offer Americans a simple alternative: make your own choices. If you like your Obamacare, you can keep your Obamacare. But if you want to try something else, you can opt-out of Obamacare (signing away regulatory and other oversight) and contract with anyone else to provide you with a health good or service that is mutually agreed. The only recourse would be contractual: the parties are bound by their agreement. Obamacare would still be there, dug in on the hill. But Americans would be able to circumvent all of it in order to achieve the treatment they want.

Make the enemy attack you where you are strong.  Republicans are weak at complexity, and we make a terrible case for doing a better job at running people’s lives. On the other hand, we are very, very strong when we champion the principled position that people should be free. This is what built America: the land of freedom and opportunity! Want to start a business? You can do that! Want to hire someone? You can do that, too! Want to buy a product that may not be approved by some bean counter in Washington? YES! We are strong when we talk about FreedomSo all we need to do is provide people with the right to choose freedom, with all the concomitant rights and responsibilities.

This will force the Democrats to attack OUR fortress, and try to make the case that Americans are too stupid and weak and infantile to make their own decisions. True, many of them believe this — but it would be a disastrous campaign. The vast majority of American citizens do not want to be openly treated like children.

I know that many of us on the Right have given up. I have advocated for secession in the past, for goodness’ sake! But I now believe that we can achieve what looks impossible. To do it, we need to pursue unconventional tactics. We don’t win if we get sucked into attacking the Democratic fortresses. We win by going where they are not, and then giving them no choice but to attack us, and attack the shining beacon of liberty and freedom that is the American ideal.

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  1. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    I totally agree with using strategy instead of the frontal assaults. We need to take some plays from their playbook and show how crazy their “equality” and “fairness” is.

    • #1
  2. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    Well, with all your talk of Sun-Tzu tactics, in the end we still have the bureaucratic bloat. So individuals find away around it. There’s a robust black markets in Italy, too. But that’s not the point of opposing all this.

    I don’t see the point of your tactics if we don’t achieve smaller government.

    • #2
  3. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Al Sparks: There’s a robust black markets in Italy, too. But that’s not the point of opposing all this.

    Oh, no! I am not advocating black markets! I am advocating legalizing non-governmental markets.

    • #3
  4. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Al Sparks: Well, with all your talk of Sun-Tzu tactics, in the end we still have the bureaucratic bloat. … I don’t see the point of your tactics if we don’t achieve smaller government.

    Of COURSE we get to smaller government. But it has to happen in stages.

    Some years ago I got “down and dirty” here on Ricochet with marines who defended attacking irrelevant islands in the Pacific Campaign. For them, the fight was itself important. My perspective is that the goal is to win the war – not expend blood and guts merely because one has ships full of jarheads with nothing else to do.

    First: isolate the enemy by attacking where they are not. Skip those islands, offer Obamacare opt-outs. Win the war.

    Then, at your convenience, go back and mop-up. In the case of those islands, it was best to leave them to rot. In the case of government bureaucracies, it might be best to tie their budgets to the numbers of Americans who choose to remain in the programs. This not only forces Obamacare to compete, but it also provides a really good way to shrink budgets as Americans choose freedom.

    The point is to make the bureaucracies irrelevant first. Cut off their supply lines. Isolate them from their allies. Make it obvious to all that they achieve little or nothing. And in the meantime, promote freedom for Americans.

    The direct expense of the program is much smaller than the indirect expense. Deal with the latter first. Then we can go back and, once the majority of Americans are not using Obamacare at all, you can conduct mop-up operations in the name of reducing government fraud and waste.

    • #4
  5. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    iWc,

    You have hit the nail on the head.  The enemy is not the Democrats it is the entrenched bureaucracies.  This includes the bureaucracies in the Defense Department.  The US was much better off when there wasn’t a federal civil service and government jobs were handed out to buy political support.  I thought that was one of the most interesting aspects of the recent Lincoln movie, where it described the fixers giving away postal and tax collector jobs to buy votes for the 13th amendment.  Imagine what a better place the US would be if a large fraction of the federal bureaucracy lost their job every 4 to 8 years.

    • #5
  6. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    iWc: Attack where the enemy is not. As I explained in my first post on Republicans becoming pro-choice,  we need to do an end-run around the defended ground. Instead of attacking Obamacare, we need to merely offer Americans a simple alternative: make your own choices.

    I totally agree.

    I’ve been thinking similarly that we need to start playing the game the Democrats do by telling the people what they want to hear rather than what we’re going to do.

    One of the reasons Democrats are able to turn public sentiment against us is because so many on our side speak earnestly about our exact plans. If we can talk about things in terms of “equality” or “more universal health coverage,” and avoid talk about taking things away, and denying that’s what we’re doing whenever it’s brought up, Republicans could tap into an important rhetorical well.

    • #6
  7. Petty Boozswha Member
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Gotta say your headline is kind of misleading – nothing about abortion in this discussion.

    • #7
  8. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    It is time to reclaim the language. We truly are the pro-choice party. And we should keep daring liberals to try and argue otherwise. After all, they are the party of state repression of individual liberties.

    • #8
  9. Julia PA Member
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    I think your expectation proves the point: the words in the title created an expectation in you about what was inside the article, on a topic where there seems to be only black & white.

    iWc is suggesting a more veiled battle with the enemy, by excluding the use of “hackle-raising” terminology and interactions, but using actions rooted in a philosphy of freedom. It sounded like his plan was one that would ultimately do gastric bypass on the leviathan bureaucracy.

    Too bad Michelle Obama isn’t worried about the obesity of the federal government.

    • #9
  10. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Julia PA: iWc is suggesting a more veiled battle with the enemy, by excluding the use of “hackle-raising” terminology and interactions, but using actions rooted in a philosphy of freedom.

    Beautifully put. The Democrats are primed to demagogue any frontal assault.

    Let’s make THEM attack US, on our home turf: liberty and freedom.

    • #10
  11. user_129539 Member
    user_129539
    @BrianClendinen

    Then getting rid of Payroll withholdings should be the number one tactic. There is no other law change more important if you want to win the long game on government waste and taxes, without a frontal assault.

    • #11
  12. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Utilizing the tactics of the left, I wouldn’t have an issue with attacking the entire class of actuarial millionaires who work in government and point out that they are getting (unjustly) rich while having unreasonable job security, little or no expectations and collective bargaining power which provides non-taxable benefits far above the market-clearing price for their skills.

    The Art of War way of achieving this is to talk about a “government employee hiring freeze” rather than “budget cuts” and “retirement plan fairness” instead of “cancelling pensions.”

    Messaging is a big part of this and is something that the Republicans are awful at while Democrats excel at euphemizing their odious plans.

    • #12
  13. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Majestyk: The Art of War way of achieving this is to talk about a “government employee hiring freeze” rather than “budget cuts” and “retirement plan fairness” instead of “cancelling pensions.”

    What the Gumint does is cut staffing everywhere we notice it (TSA, parks, DMV/MVA, Teachers) so we see how desperately understaffed they are, despite budgets that have never been higher.  Attacking the government in this way rapidly becomes “They want to take away your entitlements!”

    • #13
  14. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Generally, I like the idea. But I can’t imagine businesses being able to opt out of product and service regulations while tort lawyers remain so empowered (by both political parties).

    In regard to opting out of Obamacare, I don’t see that Medicare has diminished since physicians started declining Medicare patients.

    • #14
  15. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Majestyk: Messaging is a big part of this and is something that the Republicans are awful at while Democrats excel at euphemizing their odious plans.

    All conservative strategies rely utterly on the quality of Republican PR; quality which simply isn’t there.

    Unless Republicans improve at messaging — which includes anticipation of Democrats’ misrepresentations and smart handling of liberal media, as opposed to merely slogans and speeches — even their best policy proposals are moot.

    • #15
  16. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Aaron Miller: In regard to opting out of Obamacare, I don’t see that Medicare has diminished since physicians started declining Medicare patients.

    That is in part because physicians are still bound by a massive and crushing host of other regulations and insurance costs that can all be avoided by an opt-out.

    Though clearly concierge medicine is growing nicely.

    • #16
  17. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Aaron Miller: Unless Republicans improve at messaging — which includes anticipation of Democrats’ misrepresentations and smart handling of liberal media, as opposed to merely slogans and speeches — even their best policy proposals are moot.

    That is why I want to propose very, very simple things. Bush was demagogued on Social Security because his proposal was too complicated.

    • #17
  18. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Democrats may try to demagogue a law that stops asset forfeiture. But even Republican PR can win this kind of battle.

    Likewise a simple flat-tax alternative could really be a winner.

    • #18
  19. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    iWc. Love the ideas and would love to have the Ricochetti focus on spreading our guiding principals rather than debating specific tactics. To quote Patton:

    “I don’t want to get any messages saying that “we are holding our position.” We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”

    In all seriousness- the principles you’re describing are well articulated in the best book on warfare in the past 50 years (IMHO) Boyd- The Fighter PilotWho Changed the Art of War, by Robert Coram. I think we should have a book club.

    Great post.

    • #19
  20. Jude Member
    Jude
    @Jude

    If you like your Obamacare, you can keep your Obamacare. 

    Yes. This will be a good beginning. Facile rhetoric has always been the Democrats’ long suit. A catchy slogan with solid, principled policy behind it is a way to start the debate.

    • #20
  21. FloppyDisk90 Member
    FloppyDisk90
    @FloppyDisk90

    Aaron Miller: Unless Republicans improve at messaging — which includes anticipation of Democrats’ misrepresentations and smart handling of liberal media, as opposed to merely slogans and speeches — even their best policy proposals are moot.

    I think people get the message just fine.  They just don’t adhere to the principles we do.  Blaming messaging has become a cliche criticism and conveniently marginalizes the much harder task of actually shifting the country’s ideological center-of-mass to the right.

    • #21
  22. user_740328 Member
    user_740328
    @SEnkey

    I agree with the idea of forcing them to attack our strongest points. That’s why I am hoping the new congress focuses on popular but good conservative policies.

    Keystone XL and cheap energy. A fight against crony crapitalism. Securing the border (something like 70% support it). Repealing parts of Obamacare.

    Topics to avoid for the next two years: Gay marriage. Abortion. Marijuana. Tax rates.

    • #22
  23. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    SEnkey: A fight against crony crapitalism.

    How? What bill or bills would clearly delineate crony capitalism for the American public?

    I am in favor. I just don’t know how, given all the laws and regulations that are passed to protect and shore up powerful companies, one can cut through it all.

    • #23
  24. captainpower Member
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    iWc: How? What bill or bills would clearly delineate crony capitalism for the American public?

    “one subject at a time” act to avoid omnibus spending bills and pork/handouts camouflaged by “real” legislation.

    https://downsizedc.org/etp/one-subject/

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/12/rand-paul-introduced-three-bills-last-week-that-would-dramatically-change-the-way-congress-passes-laws/

    p.s. The mention of pork gave me a chuckle as a remembered Rush Limbaugh’s “Porkulus” denigration of the “stimulus” spending.

    • #24
  25. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    captainpower: “one subject at a time” act to avoid omnibus spending bills and pork/handouts camouflaged by “real” legislation. https://downsizedc.org/etp/one-subject/

    But if this is a normal bill, then every followon bill can ignore it, right? Congress cannot bind itself in the future.

    • #25
  26. captainpower Member
    captainpower
    @captainpower

    iWc: But if this is a normal bill, then every followon bill can ignore it, right? Congress cannot bind itself in the future.

    What do you mean congress cannot bind itself in the future?

    Entitlement “non-discretionary” spending does that already, so I’m pretty confused.

    I’m probably just ignorant. Help.

    • #26

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