GOP Playing a Prevent Defense

 

Here’s a scenario that every football fan knows well. Your team has the lead and all signs point to victory. Your aggressive defense has stymied the opponent for three quarters. If they can keep this up for a few more minutes, it’s another game in the win column!

Uh oh. Instead of keeping the pressure on, your timid coach opts for a Prevent Defense. Noooo! He allows the opponent to gain four yards here, seven yards there. He will let them move down the field; he just wants to keep them from making that big play into the end zone.

Twelve “small plays” later, the other guys are celebrating under the goal post and your coach is wondering what went wrong.

As the GOP looks to the November midterms, the polls show a slight lead. Terrified of screwing something up, party leaders have decided on a prevent defense for the next nine months. Sure, let Dems waive the debt limit. Restore the sequester funding. Pass a pork-laden farm bill. As long as Republicans don’t do anything, say anything or stand for anything, victory is assured.

In theory, the prevent defense should work like a charm. But, as Coach John Madden famously warned, “all a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.”

If Republican leaders wonder why the fans in the stands are screaming at them, it’s because we’ve seen how this game ends.

There are 38 comments.

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  1. Member

    Some of Us have quit screaming and left the stadium.

    • #1
    • February 20, 2014 at 2:41 am
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  2. Coolidge

    So…what should the Republicans be doing to score points?

    • #2
    • February 20, 2014 at 2:58 am
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  3. Member

    I wonder what all the push for Amensty would be analogous to. Perhaps the so-called “Miracles at the Meadowlands”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_at_the_Meadowlands

    • #3
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:03 am
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  4. Inactive

    Regarding your analogy, when was it that the Republican aggressive defense stymied the Democrats for three quarters?

    Does that mean the Republicans let them rack up 300 yards rushing instead of 400 yards passing?

    • #4
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:05 am
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  5. Inactive
    Jimmy Carter: Some of Us have quit screaming and left the stadium. · 24 minutes ago

    Indeed. When ‘our team’ puts up the prevent defense while down by a field goal I am not sure many folks are gonna renew their season tickets.

    • #5
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:06 am
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  6. Member

    The focus is on power (winning) and not on governing. Winning power (and not elections) and the professional election class is what drives the game now. As long as consultants, advertisers and ad buyers get paid, there will be no rocking of the boat. A respectful enough finish in any race ensures that the paid election class will get paid again.

    That, is the political prevent defense.

    • #6
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:12 am
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  7. Member
    BrentB67: Regarding your analogy, when was it that the Republican aggressive defense stymied the Democrats for three quarters?

    Does that mean the Republicans let them rack up 300 yards rushing instead of 400 yards passing? · 8 minutes ago

    Good point. You go into prevent defense when you’re winning. Are we winning?

    • #7
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:16 am
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  8. Member

    If I had a simple solution, I would offer it. However, I did want to note the deep unease I and others feel about the GOP’s plan to let Obamacare destroy the Democratic party.

    The GOP has placed all its hope — all of it — into Obamacare being so unpopular in November that voters will choose a Republican. That might be enough, but not risking anything is often a very risky play. 

    The Contract for America offered a clear, concise plan. “Vote for us, and here is what we will do.” Worked like a charm. In 2014, we’re saying and offering nothing. We have chosen to keep our heads down and our mouths shut, hoping the electorate won’t notice we exist.

    If we gain the Senate anyway, what is our mandate? Not rocking the boat? Quietly stewing about ACA while sitting on our hands? 

    If our goal is merely a Republican senate, that’s sufficient. If our goal is to fix the country, it is not.

    • #8
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:18 am
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  9. Inactive
    Vance Richards
    BrentB67: Regarding your analogy, when was it that the Republican aggressive defense stymied the Democrats for three quarters?

    Does that mean the Republicans let them rack up 300 yards rushing instead of 400 yards passing? · 8 minutes ago

    Good point. You go into prevent defense when you’re winning. Are we winning? · 1 minute ago

    If this is winning. I am not sure how much more winning we can stand.

    • #9
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:19 am
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  10. Member
    Bold colors. Not pastels.Someone said that once upon a time.
    • #10
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:26 am
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  11. Inactive

    This is the wrong analogy. Primarily because it ignores the opponent. Right now two boxers are feeling each other out in the early rounds. Ties in this bout go to Republicans. Democrats are therefore forced to throw a punch to try to win. When D punches, R can counter. If R gets impatient and throws first, D gains the upper hand. Republicans are playing this right so far. (And so are Democrats)

    • #11
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:27 am
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  12. Member
    BrentB67
    Vance Richards

    Good point. You go into prevent defense when you’re winning. Are we winning? · 1 minute ago

    If this is winning. I am not sure how much more winning we can stand. · 7 minutes ago

    You go into prevent defense when you’re leading, and right now the GOP is leading in the polls. Of course, they’re only in that position because of several epic Democratic fumbles.

    • #12
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:28 am
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  13. Member

    OK, what happens when the dog catches the car? The Republicans take back the Senate, what then? Will the Senate still operate on seniority for choice places of power? Will John McCain or Lindsey Graham caucus with the looney-birds? Maybe if we aren’t promised much, then disappointment won’t be quite a shock. Maybe they aren’t pretending to be disoriented, rudderless and without a speck of feck.

    • #13
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:28 am
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  14. Member

    Even more important than winning the Senate is re-electing the incumbents. Then they can continue to play the game. It’s like going into the prevent defense at halftime.

     ADDED: Or maybe a better analogy would be players that are fine with losing games as long as they don’t lose their starting job.

    • #14
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:35 am
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  15. Member

    The incentives are wrong. Holding office is too valuable to an individual politician. Much more important than governing or setting a direction for the nation.

    • #15
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:37 am
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  16. Thatcher

    Jon,

    This is the vacuum at the top. They are incapable of strategic leadership in the first place. Buying the left MSM narrative attacking the tea party is the first idiocy. Having no positive program is the second idiocy.

    You must have faith in that which brought you to this point in the first place. It is not cynical political triangulation that will win. In fact that will guarantee defeat. After you sell out your base then the left MSM cuts your throat. Ask Chris Christie.

    Bill Whittle had it exactly. Romney didn’t believe his own story enough. He gave a cheap hack politician from Chicago who had surfed his way into the White House on the color of his skin the benefit of the doubt when there wasn’t any doubt.

    Don’t change the game plan unless you literally can fall on the ball and watch the clock run out. Let General Patton be our guide. Don’t hold onto anything but the enemy.

    Grab him by the nose and kick him in the ass.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:41 am
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  17. Member
    Spin: So…what should the Republicans be doing to score points? · 24 minutes ago

    As Jon mentions above, a positive agenda with specific goals would drive us to the 2 yard line maybe even score.

    Specific goals: 

    1) Stepped immigration reform over ten years AFTER the border has been closed and illegal immigration has been STOPPED for 2 years.

    2) Repeal O-care. Implement stepped reform that fixes tort laws, allows for more competition in the insurance industry, streamlines the drug and medical device approval process.

    3) Close corporate welfare tax breaks and subsidies. Why do people living in major cities get farm subsidies to NOT grow things on already fallow land they own?

    4) Open up the energy production spigots. Allow more USA based drilling, mining, processing, etc.

    5) Pass a term-limits bill for BOTH houses of Congress. 2 terms for Senators, 6 terms for Representatives MAX.

    6) Open up locked-up Government resources (e.g. timber land) for private production. Better yet, sell off the Gov’t land to private investors.

    7) De-certify ALL federal public sector unions! Just exactly who are they united against anyway?

    8, 9, 10, ……… How many hundreds more?

    • #17
    • February 20, 2014 at 3:51 am
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  18. Listener

    #1 Football Myth? All a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.

    • #18
    • February 20, 2014 at 4:14 am
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  19. Inactive

    Duane are you saying that we don’t have universal access to healthcare?

    • #19
    • February 20, 2014 at 4:15 am
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  20. Inactive

    This is why I think Romney lost, especially in the 3rd debate. His polls were up, so he didn’t attack Obama over Benghazi or anything else, then he lost. I hope this doesn’t happen in September!

    • #20
    • February 20, 2014 at 4:37 am
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  21. Inactive
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    BrentB67
    Vance Richards

    Good point. You go into prevent defense when you’re winning. Are we winning? · 1 minute ago

    If this is winning. I am not sure how much more winning we can stand. · 7 minutes ago

    You go into prevent defense when you’re leading, and right now the GOP is leading in the polls. Of course, they’re only in that position because of several epic Democratic fumbles. · 1 hour ago

    I am not sure I call that winning. I think that is described as ‘losing less’.

    • #21
    • February 20, 2014 at 4:49 am
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  22. Thatcher

    Yeah, I’m not sure about the prevent defense analogy, because a prevent defense seems like a pretty sound strategy to me in football. The opposite to that would be to say you’re leading and all you have to do is maintain the status quo to win, but instead you choose to pad the lead by going for a long pass. It’s intercepted, the opponent runs it back into the end zone, and you go home kicking yourself for being stupid and literally throwing away a win.

    That said, I do agree that Republicans need to avoid stepping on any landmines that the dems and the media will be sure to capitalize on. And that’s a very hard thing to do. Consider the last election – the Democrats and a willing media managed to turn what should have been a debate about the economy into a bunch of small-ball debates about free contraception, a ‘war on women’, the 1% vs the 47%, yada yada. Obama skates on Benghazi, but Romney gets raked over the coals for saying, “We had binders full of women” as if he had said or done something horrible.

    • #22
    • February 20, 2014 at 4:56 am
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  23. Member
    J Flei: This is why I think Romney lost, especially in the 3rd debate. His polls were up ….

    Nonsense- he lost because he was a heartless rich white guy. Newt and Santorum did half of Obama’s work creating that image.

    I understand the point Jon is making- though one could just as easily say that the strategy is focusnot being distracted by peripheral issues and scattergunning everything, thus preventing concentration on the main target.

    The one problem that is presupposed, though, is that our basic position is a) unified, b) correct, and c) coherent. It isn’t.

    The public has made it clear for 3 decades that it wants health care addressed- and we have done zilch about it, alternating between playing “kill it” defense, and pontificating about why the public is wrong- and we should instead support a quasi-social darwinistic version of “small government” (whatever that means in 2014 as opposed to 1800). 

    In other words, all we care about is cutting budgets, and phooey on your complaints about health care.

    Until we unify on a legitimate, real plan for universal access to health care, we will win only by accident if the Dems stumble.

    • #23
    • February 20, 2014 at 4:59 am
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  24. Thatcher

    The point being that it’s not enough to just lay back and hope to skate through on Democratic errors, because the MSM will help the Democrats ignore/spin those, and will work tirelessly to find any angle they can use to paint Republicans in the harshest possible light. To use another sports analogy, the Democrats have home field advantage.

    What the Republicans can do is avoid any landmines like abortion and immigration, and instead use this opportunity to teach America not just how the Democrats have failed, but why.

    Now’s the time that we need smart, educated Republicans to go out and explain to the public why Obamacare was doomed to fail from the start, why central planning doesn’t work, why promises of nanny statism lead to permanent underclasses and broken economies.

    Point out that the institutions that are failing the most today – education and health care – are the ones that have the largest government footprint. Use the internet as an example of how economies organize themselves when people are left alone. Let people know that the choice is between dynamism and statism.

    This is a teachable moment. We need people smart enough to teach.

    • #24
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:06 am
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  25. Inactive

    I just don’t see any fire in the belly of the GOP ( a party I have spent most of my life in) . 

    This is why I am willing to bang the Tea Party drum. The democrats are chasing the small segments – gay, uninsured , single moms, greens , what’s left of unions ( pretty paltry pickings ) . Unless they can masterfully fake the vote ( ala 2008-2012) I can see why the GOP is on Obamacruisecontrolcare. 

    Buckley rule is a tough one in this coming year because the incest between the Hill and K Street is coming to the fore as the Medusa child they have borne. Do we kill the serpent ? What do we risk by allowing it to live ? 

    • #25
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:22 am
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  26. Moderator

    This sounds suspiciously like the Romney campaign, redux.

    Romney banked on disgust with Obama, and never fought for real yardage.

    • #26
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:28 am
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  27. Inactive
    skipsul: This sounds suspiciously like the Romney campaign, redux.

    Romney banked on disgust with Obama, and never fought for real yardage. · 2 minutes ago

    This is the USA. We don’t vote against anything. We vote in the affirmative. If Republicans refuse to give people a reason to vote for them they deserve to remain a minority big government party.

    • #27
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:32 am
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  28. Inactive

    Pilli is right. Republicans must make arguments about what they believe, and what changes they will make if they are in power. In addition to some that he mentions:

    • Immediate approval of the Keytstone XL Pipeline, and a broad retreat from Obama’s climate agenda.
    • More help to our allies and more belligerence toward our enemies.
    • No more disparate impact theory in racial issues.
    • More school choice for poor kids.
    • More jobs by reducing regulations on businesses.
    • Return of the filibuster in the Senate, to ensure reasonably moderate appointments.
    • #28
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:54 am
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  29. Inactive

    By the way, where do conservatives get the memo that says we should all say the same wrong thing at the same time? I always seem to miss those.

    • #29
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:56 am
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  30. Member
    Richard Finlay: ….players that are fine with losing games as long as they don’t lose their starting job. · 14 hours ago

    Brings to mind the Washington Generals…

    • #30
    • February 20, 2014 at 5:57 am
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