Politics is the Art of the Impossible

 

shutterstock_111393362It is a well-worn trope of the left — from the mere ‘liberals’ to the looniest of the loony left — that politics should not be the art of the possible, but rather the art of making the impossible possible. No less a deep thinker than Hillary said “The challenge is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”

Who can doubt that the left has been spectacularly successful at this? To take only the last few years, compulsory state adoption of SSM, ObamaCare, and executive amnesty have accomplished what was routinely declared impossible within the lifetime of this website.

More insidiously, the very institutions of society have been co-opted to continually redefine the possible ever-leftward. The Fourth Estate, the universities (and education as a whole), the entertainment industry, charity, and organized religion all hew to the line that — whatever the problem is — more government is the answer. And now science as been dragooned to the statist cause: if there is no actual crisis, we’ll invent one.

Playing by the rules — limiting oneself to the ‘possible’ — is to lose the game before it starts. So we see Rep. Paul Ryan’s breathtaking audacity in trimming a percent from the acceleration in the growth of the increase in the real size of government. It’s scored by the CBO! Parts are bipartisan! To suggest anything different would be … impossible! Or on amnesty and illegal immigration, to suggest anything but surrender is to push against the limits of the possible.

Another way of acting would be to see where these limits come from and remove them. Journalism? A dying industry. Help it on its way, don’t pander to it. And for goodness sake, don’t let it define the terms of selecting candidates. Education? Doesn’t work, can’t work. Shut it down and let the market — that is to say, people — develop a thousand alternatives to the monolithic, government dominated, state-worshipping boondoggle it’s become. Charity and organised religion? Cease all cooperation (co-option) with (by) government. No government grants to NGOs to spend on lobbying government. No government programs that involve churches just as long as they render all to Caesar. No government sponsorship of social justice talkingshops.

Radical? Yes. Unrealistic? Not really. There was a reality where there was no self-important Fourth Estate, no giant education/statist complex, no government takeover of morality. Impossible? Certainly, if one is to play the game. I note that the other side doesn’t. And they’re winning.

If you think politics is the art of the possible, you aren’t playing politics. Politics is playing you.

There are 10 comments.

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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Hear! Hear!

    • #1
  2. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    The GOP has developed a tolerance for losing. They now recruit and select for this comfort with the status quo. They call it sophistication, but the Emperor is naked.

    • #2
  3. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Good genferei. The Dems killed us on narrative. We need to hammer them on truth. Again and again and again.

    • #3
  4. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Nobody cares about truth. Facts are for suckers to debate, as if facts matter. Elections are not rational. Mitt Romney was right, and so was McCain. The only way to beat these people is to crush them — make them sorry they tried.
    They’re never going to cede a point, and the media isn’t going to call them on it.
    Tactics will vary, but the strategy must be ruthless, scorched earth warfare.

    • #4
  5. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Ball Diamond Ball:Nobody cares about truth.Facts are for suckers to debate, as if facts matter.Elections are not rational.Mitt Romney was right, and so was McCain.The only way to beat these people is to crush them — make them sorry they tried.They’re never going to cede a point, and the media isn’t going to call them on it. Tactics will vary, but the strategy must be ruthless, scorched earth warfare.

    Well, I do. As usual your comments ricochet around. I still say your car battery has two negative poles. ;-)

    • #5
  6. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    True.  But  note: some of those Leftist wins did not come from their political leadership.

    Also, sometimes expanding what is possible means taking what you can get to pry the window open.

    For example: Republicans in Wisconsin tried to expand their school choice program in the budget two years ago.  It stalled.  With a very small majority and a couple hold-outs in the Senate, it was going nowhere.  So Walker and the conservatives negotiated a substantially worthless deal: the program was expanded statewide but limited to a tiny 1000 participants. Nice for those people, but hardly transformative. What a pathetic deal and a bunch of sell-outs, no?

    Except that — however tiny — Wisconsin now had school choice statewide.  That foot in the door made it possible, this time around, to discuss expansion as simply “lifting the cap.”  Much less dramatic.  Which is why Walker was able to sign it into law yesterday.  That “weak” deal two years ago made significant change politically viable.

    • #6
  7. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Leigh: sometimes expanding what is possible means taking what you can get to pry the window open.

    Very true. Incrementalist tactics – or even longer-term tactics like entryism – are important tools. As long as they are seen as tools in service of the real goal – as Walker seems to be doing.*

    Too often, however, the tool gets treated as the end goal, and any statement of principle is ruthlessly suppressed in favour of “winning” an election, and thus the statist status quo is reinforced.

    * Now, if this was part of a scheme to lead to the eventual abolition of compulsory education, I’d be really impressed.

    • #7
  8. user_357321 Inactive
    user_357321
    @Jordan

    The way it looks now, politics is the art of making the possible appear impossible.

    Saying something is impossible is just another way to limit the acceptable without making any reasoned argument, similar to notions of the politically correct.

    The grim reality is that we can do anything, but choose not to.

    • #8
  9. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    10 cents:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Nobody cares about truth.Facts are for suckers to debate, as if facts matter.Elections are not rational.Mitt Romney was right, and so was McCain.The only way to beat these people is to crush them — make them sorry they tried.They’re never going to cede a point, and the media isn’t going to call them on it. Tactics will vary, but the strategy must be ruthless, scorched earth warfare.

    Well, I do. As usual your comments ricochet around. I still say your car battery has two negative poles. ;-)

    Ah, but you do not matter.

    • #9
  10. Indaba Member
    Indaba
    @

    The left in America set the agenda it seems. Donald Trump is throwing out big red steaks. Romney did a bit with Solyndra.

    • #10
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