Skip to comments.(Vanity) An Analysis of the 2012 Presidential Election
Posted on 11/11/2012 9:00:41 PM PST by grey_whiskers
Before anything else, let us pause to remember the casualties (both civilian and military) of "The War to End All Wars" -- the war which saw the first fighter planes, the first tanks, the horrors of mass bayonet charges against entrenched machine guns and artillery -- and the first chemical warfare. This is Armistice Day.
But let us not take Armistice Day as a sign, nor a signal, that we should abandon our fight for freedom from oppression, whether here in the United States or abroad.
The election of 2012 has come and gone: despite the assurances of those who appear to have been in the know, such as Michael Barone or Steve Forbes, to those who have long been gadflies, such as Dick Morris, and despite the public remarks of Romney on election day about "That's how you know you're going to win!" about his reception at the Pittsburgh airport, and the reports of record turnout in Republican Districts throughout the country; and in seeming fulfillment of Nate Silver, and in defiance of a number of polls, President Obama has retained his office.
What the hell happened?
I am afraid that there is no simple answer; and that the answer will be both lengthy and painful. But in order to answer the question fully, we must detour from politics for awhile, and take a visit to psychology, Alinsky, Hegelian philosophy, and the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. For the seeds of our apparent defeat contain the antidote to our ills, if we have but the courage to plant, fertilize, and water them, and the faith to trust in God to give the growth, IF we are diligent.
As a first point, let us look at our intense emotional reactions to the election, for they will be very important in deciphering what follows. No, I am not suggesting that we be guided by our feelings: exactly the opposite -- we must avoid having our sober judgment influenced by our feelings. As Professor Frost said to Mark Studdock in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength,
"I am aware of the emotional (that is, the chemical) reactions which [...] this produces in you, and you are wasting your time in trying to conceal them from me. I do not expect you to control them. That is not the path to objectivity. I deliberately raise them in order that you may become accustomed to regard them in a purely scientific light and distinguish them as sharply as possible from the facts."
The feeling of most movement Republicans, of conservatives, of those who have been sounding the clarion call about Obama the loudest and longest, is simply one of being crestfallen, punched in the gut, shell-shocked. And that is because, with respect to expectations concerning Obama, this is the *second* time for which our suppositions of "the natural order of things" or of "checks and balances" has fallen flat -- our hope was unfounded, or in fact, the third. With Obamacare, we thought that the Teanami of 2010 would send a social, political method to the Democrats, "Back OFF." But they did not, and passed Obamacare blasphemously on Christmas Eve, a bill of over 2500 pages which few had even *read*. Our next disappointment was in the Supreme Court, and there, we were shocked to learn that it was not our usual favorite turncoat Kenney who betrayed us -- that he in fact was standing in the gap -- but instead, John Roberts, the "conservative" nominated by Bush, who wrote one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court History, down there with Roe v. Wade, Kelo, and Lawrence v. Texas.
Ah, we thought, at least with the economy in a shambles, and Obama reduced to campaigning on Lady Parts and Big Bird, we would elect Romney in the nick of time -- even if Romney were a RINO, at least he didn't hate the US and its institutions.
And so with the third swift kick in the nads in a row, those among us began to despair.
This is RIGHT where the enemy wants us. Let me explain.
Many on this site have read Alinsky's Rules For Radical which is a series of tactics and/or strategies for overwhelming ensconced opponents by violating social norms which they would not dream of breaking, in order to change the rules of engagement and force them to retreat. But Obama and his team go further: they rely on a "fog of war" approach combined with propaganda, fifth columnists, and the use and misuse of both the conventional press and the social media, in order to create an artificial bubble chamber, an information-blitzkrieg, a social diamond strategy (try reading Heinz Guderian's excellent book Panzer Leader for the military theory behind this approach) in order to sunder our side's communication with its own troops, its decisivenss, its very will to fight. (Alinsky says that the battle is not what you have but what your enemy thinks you have; similarly, The Art of War teaches that the successful general is not the one who wins on the battlefield, but the one who achieves his aims by convincing his opponent to surrender without battle.)
Recall also the Soviet bargaining strategy: any concession made by the Communist, even if set in stone, is held to have been (if inconvenient to them) merely a trial balloon, not seriously meant, but every suggestion of a possible concession on the part of the Soviet's adversary is immediately regarded as fully considered, offered deliberately, and irrevocable.
Antonio Gramsci suggested that rather than conquer the US from without, that it be taken from within, by subtrefuge: so just as Marxists have taken over the academic world, the press (MSNBC, anyone?), and many courts, so too they have placed fifth columnists within the GOP, acting as an army of Wormtongues:
"But for long now he has plotted your ruin, wearing the mask of Friendship, until he was ready. In those years Wormtongue's task was easy, and all that you did was swiftly known in Isengard; for your land was open, and strangers came and went. And ever Wormtongue's whispering was in your ears, poisoning your thought, chilling your heart, weakening your limbs, while others watched and could do nothing, for your will was in his keeping."
So we are being played for fools on account of our emotions: and as those under the terror of the cry of the Nazgûl dropped their weapons and crawled into holes or fled unmanned, so we are being cajoled that our resistance to the left is futile, that our very principles are the cause of our failure, that we need to yield even without a fight things which even the resurgent Democrats could not hope to gain in short order.
Look at just a few of the things which have been written by pundits, uttered by Washington GOP insiders, or hurriedly urged here on FR:
1) The left's victory is inevitable, they will get three Supreme Court seats (or at least two) and all is lost. (Didn't you read about Valerie Jarrett's pre-election rant?)
2)Social conservatives must surrender: not only did we lose, not only did Julia and Lady Parts work, but our principles did more harm than good.
3) Not only that, but we have lost the heart and soul of the country, the tide has turned, and single women are the future. If we hope ever to survive even as a token minority anywhere, we must abandon the pro-life plank.
4) And if even this isn't enough, we are urged to abandon the defense of the US against illegal immigration, to throw open the floodgates, and work with the Democrats to achieve "comprehensive immigration reform." (Why? It's not as though illegal aliens stayed home and didn't vote for Romney -- being illegal, they already voted for Obama if they voted at all. But I'm getting ahead of myself).
All of these things are one side of the induced panic, different subsets of the GOP at one anothers' throats, seeking to betray the others to ensure their own dubious survival, seeking to join with the left, seeking to run away and flee the field or to retreat to ever-shrinking enclaves where they hope to escape notice for a time. And of course the left *loves* this; they want nothing more than dispiriting words from the thought leaders of the GOP, or new fifth columnists, or internecine fighting, or surrender so that the Democrats have new fertile territory in which to run unopposed candidates.
The proper answer to all of this, is to withdraw -- from our feelings; call a truce (for the next couple of weeks, anyway) within the GOP, and stop worrying about what is going to happen next, and figure out what actually HAS happened. As Screwtape wrote to Wormwood in The Screwtape Letters:
"[God] wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them."(*)
And now that we have cleared away the fear and confusion, at least to some extent, it is high time to answer the question about what *did* happen during the election. And no, I did not say, "Present my favorite personal solution (or whipping boy) and yield *that* as the answer to the whole mess." Part of the problem is that too often, people assume a watered-down Hegelian philosophy -- this OR that, two seemingly intractable, mutually exclusive explanations which admit of no reconciliation until a new *synthesis* is formed. To which I say, Malarkey. Nobody says that causes have to be mutually exclusive! Except, as noted above, our enemies, who would love to see us all blaming one another instead of effectively solving the problem and going back after THEM.
Here is a partial list -- I'm sure people will be able to add some others -- of the ingredients of the 2012 GOP election loss. Notice how much the appearance of the battlefield (and our chance of future victory) changes when I list all of them successively, not necessarily in any particular order.
Roughly speaking, it should be noted that there are various categories these can be grouped into; and secondly, that there are (if you will) various competing subnarratives about each one, and the Republicans (and Dems, through trolls, 5th columnists, opportunists and moles, and the MSM) are fighting about the meta-narrative: the "officially accepted" historical narrative, which says which of the subnarratives win, and which ones are dismissed as "too small to bother with, even if it WERE more than rumor from right-wing fanatics".
Here is a better rearrangement of the categories into larger groupings:
Questions about record turnout in GOP districts combined with unusually LOW vote totals.
Early voting and absentee ballots in many states, reports that Obama's campaign had been cannibalizing their high-turnout voters, and reports that going into election day 2008, Obama had a 270,000 vote advantage, but only a (say) 10,000 vote advantage in early voting in 2012: yet he won the state.
Total vote counts in 2012 vs 2008, overall and by state; or even by county.
unions for Democrats despite Obama being against their industry
widespread reports of FReepers and others of veritable seas of Obama signs in 2012, replaced by 3-2 or 3-1 ratio of signs in favor of Romney this time. VOTER FRAUD
Cleveland with many precincts voting over 100%, with 99% for Obama
Philadelphia with many precincts over 100%, with 99% for Obama
GOP election judges physically removed in Philly until ordered back in by a judge with Sheriff escorts
long lines in southern Florida (Miami/Dade and Broward?) until 1AM
school buses full of non-English-speaking Somalis going from polling place to polling place to vote straight Dem ticket.
Reports on FR of people going to register (I think in Philly) but finding their voter app, shredded in the garbage with many others.
Many military ballots delivered late or misdirected.
GET OUT THE VOTE EFFORT
Epic failure of Romney's ORCA with crashes, typos resulting in volunteers not being accredited, no training given until the day before election night, Romney's team bragging about knocking on 76,000 doors the day before election day in Ohio only to have their Dem counterpart speak of knocking on 276,000 doors in that time.
Obama's microtargeting tool gathering personal data in the vein of Google and Facebook to target individual voters with emails urging them to vote and WHY.
Obama YouTube videos "Your First Time" and "Big Bird"
Romney relative lack of YouTube and similar.
Obama strongly giving unmarried women "dog whistle" ads on abortion and contraception (despite Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut being Supreme Court binding precedent)
Obama defining Romney with ads in the summer.
Obama going hard negative and not talking of his agenda; Romney not going hard after Obama.
Obama not being defined for the mushy middle, or moderates, in terms of a "job-killer" -- he got to skate with the left on "It's Bush's fault!"
Candy Crowley, Romney not going in for the kill on Benghazi, Romney not putting on the screws with hard numbers on the economy.
ROMNEY AS REPUBLICAN
"Romney is too liberal for the base."
Romney was derided as a Massachusetts Liberal who started Romneycare.
Romney was a flip-flopper who backed abortion.
Romney in the debates promised to "reach across the aisle" to work with Democrats.
Romney as a Mormon.
Romney defined as wild eyed evangelical nutcase by left-wing outlets.
Romney defined as "Bain Capital" who couldn't relate to suffering workers.
Low-information voters voted for Obama (Breitbart tapes & similar of voters who were told certain political positions -- which were really Obama's -- but they were told Romney had those positions and hated them. When the stunt was revealed, that Obama really had those positions, they suddenly decided they liked those positions after all.
Voters who believed Obama attack ads.
Did the Christian Right sit out? No.
Did GOP conservative purists sit out? Some, how many and where?
Did moderates sit out? Some, how many and where?
Did the libertarian candidate take away votes? Yes, up to 1% in a couple of swing states.
HURRICANE SANDY AND CHRIS CHRISTIE
Some 15% of Obama Voters according to exit polls, decided at the last minute to vote for Obama because of his photo-ops with (supposedly "arch-conservative") Chris Christie over Hurricane Sandy
The press covering for Obama on the FACT of the deaths in Libya, being complicit in the cover-up more or less, being caught on tape planning how they were going to box Romney in for criticizing Obama on Benghazi.
The press covering up for Obama on the LIES about Benghazi.
The press manufacturing gaffes for Romney and ignoring Obama/Biden gaffes.
The press covering up General Petraeus and his affair until after the election.
The press covering up Iran shooting at our drone in international territory -- from fighters, not from a missile on their own territory -- until after the election.
The United States is becoming minority white--we're screwed!TM Counter example: explain the Tea Party, two years ago.
Blacks voted overwhelmingly along racial lines, many whites either voted for Obama or sat out.
THE GOPe AND THE PRIMARIES:
Romney never seemed to clear 35% of the GOP vote in many primaries, but due to the liberal states going first, the presence of open primaries (Dems allowed), and winner-take-all, Romney cleaned up on delegates.
"Palin shrugged" -- other candidates and/or their voting blocs were waiting for her to enter the primaries. In the meantime, the Romney machine carpet-bombed a couple of other candidates and/or changed the rules in some states to eliminate other would-be contenders from the ballot.
There are a LOT of significant factors involved: given that Obama is the first President to be re-elected with a smaller popular vote AND a smaller electoral vote than the first time; given that he lost six or eight million votes compared to last time, whereas Romney lost (still counting stragglers) a million compared to McCain; given that people are no longer orgasmic over Obama, and even his campaign was hinting he might lose on election day; given that Obama ran a viciously personal negative campaign -- Reid calling Romney a tax-cheat felon, other ads calling him a murderer over a loss of health benefits by a spouse of an ex-employee years later at a non-Romney-owned company; given that the GOP held the house, and broke the Senate's filibuster-proof majority; and given that Obama literally had to pull out ALL the stops, just to win by a few hundred thousand ballots (note I didn't say "votes"!) in carefully-targeted swing states; and that his cabinet is in disarray;
it is quite clear, that the effort to demonize conservatives is agit-prop from the left, whether from inside our camp (as Saruman said to Gandalf in The Lord of The Rings when urging him to betray the location of the One Ring): And listen, Gandalf, my old friend and helper! said Saruman, coming near and speaking now in a softer voice. A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Númenor. This then is one choice before you. before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.
Or, more cruelly, from the outside, as the Witch-King of Angmar said to Eowyn, seeking to shield the fallen body of her Lord and King, Theoden, from defilement by his flying steed:
"Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."
The result so far, has been fighting within our ranks. As Gandalf commented upon Beregond's murder of guards in the City Hallows, during his rescue to prevent Faramir from being burned alive by his father, Denethor, driven mad by confronting Sauron in the palantir beyond his own strength:
"Such deeds he loves: friend at war with friend; loyalty divided in confusion of hearts."
This is not the way, this is not the answer.
Rather, as Aragorn said in the movie adaptation before the final assault on Mordor:
"A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"
Let us drive away the fog of war, the discouragement, and the lies, and see where our strengths and the enemy's weaknesses really lie, rather than listening to the voices of fear, treachery, and lies.
(*) It might be a good point for people to read Chapter 6 of The Screwtape Letters in its entirety here, and to apply it to the current political landscape.
Very well said, as always!
Full Disclosure: up until this moment I had been misreading your name as ts owl fan (as in Harry Poter) or misreading it as "tsorwell fan" (as in Animal Farm).
Only by typing it in my sleep did I decipher it correctly.
I wish Sowell had run for President :-)
despite the public remarks of Romney on election day about “That’s how you know you’re going to win!” about his reception at the Pittsburgh airport,
Willard was merely boasting that he could make things happen...
those peole didnt get up that day and magically decide to drive down to the Pittsburg Airport...
Like all or most of the rallies, they knew that Willard would be there and it was prearranged...
sorry to burst your bubble but if you think they were attracted there by slent dog whistle or something without any human contact you would be wrong...
“That’s how you know you’re going to win!”
did anyone bother to ask Willard what he meant by that strange remark ???
Willard thought he could control people and get them to come rushing down to the airport so he could use them as backdrop to his own fanciful vanity and ego...
and he thought he could control the elections...
ORCA was meant to give him an edge on Obama...
the campaign that Willard built all came tumbling down...
was there fraud ??? Im sure there was...
but Willard contributed to his own downfall all by himself...
When he staqrted acted like a Democrat and bussing people into his rallies from other states, I wondered why...
how many peop0le from TN acttually took the free bus ride and accommodations to OH and VA for the rallies there I dont know...
I can find out but right now its dismal to be around fellow Republicans
everyone seems “undone”
Church this morning was awful..
Which reminds me, Obama's election chief said the morning of the election to the supporters not to be discouraged by early voting results favoring the GOP.
Was that whistling past the graveyard or foreknowledge of chicanery-to-come?
This post is written in anger and frustration.
Angry that we continue to follow the Republican Partys elite ignorance. A party that continues to pull defeat from the jaws of victory characterized by pompous fools who fulfill the sterotype built by the left.
Frustrated that the reality of politics is this: There will be no third party capable of competing with the coalition constructed by the dems. As a result, true conservatives MUST take steps to irradicate the ignorance of the Republican Party while still adhering to the core values of our forefathers (beliefs that I discovered are considered extreme by over half of my countrymen on Tuesday night, BTW).
I have no solve for exactly how to accomplish this. Only advice based on a long military career in several foreign lands for how to defeat the dems once this is accomplished.
This thought process is based on the concept of irregular warfare with twists thrown in here and there for good measure.
With that, I provide the following advice for the good of the order.
LEADERSHIP: The old crew has proven either incompotent or outdated. McConnell and Boerner must go. They represent a failed plan to defend and resist without clearly explaining their position. They are content with looking like the bad guys and face public scorn when they dont realize how important it is to manipulate a clearly left leaning MSM. They represent the failure of the last four years to our own and obstructionists to the opposition. Weve got to show a new face to the nation. That is the genesis of rebuilding this movement. Ryan or Cantor in the House, Rubio or Demint in the Senate.
We also need a standard bearer and I see no one on the horizon with as much rockstar potential and substance as Rubio. These next four years must put him on the center stage with a unified and consolidated message. It also needs to protect him from the attacks from the left that are guaranteed to come.
Everything the Obamites used to deny, deflect, and difuse will be used againstt hem....including the race card. THAT is what will make Rubio a teflon candidate.
These men represent a change in a party that has been beaten soundly in the last two elections by a charlatan and his traveling circus. A fresh choice in leadership represents change you can TRULY beleive in from every angle. It marks a clear start from inside and outside when we actually started taking this enemy seriously.
GROUND GAME: It is IMPERATIVE to develop and foster an intricate ground game. It requires a MICRO-ANALYSIS of every county, every city, and every early and absentee ballot by demographic to find how how, why, and with what method they voted. The dems have built quite the coalition but its a house of cards; its a fractured coalition of single issue voters held together by a media-invested hollyweird worshipping demagogue. They can be piecemealed away bitby bit without sacrficing principle.
Give it to the dems on their community organizing machine. We dont need to reinvent that model. We MUST develop our own. One that will INSTILL our principles in a language tailored to the audience. Theyve tailored theirs on the community organizer, we can create ours around the military special operator. This the winning of hearts and minds in our own third world backyard dem strongholds.
This isnt as difficult as it sounds. It requires a patient and immediate effort that starts with the post election analysis looking not for what we WANT to find, but for the GROUND TRUTH. GROUND TRUTH is REAL INTELLIGENCE not Rovian number-crunching wishful thinking.
It will require an insurgent effort at the ground level. An infiltration into dem areas that we identify are weak or vulnerable to start cutting in to the blue.
The COIN (insurgeny/counterinsurgency)effort would include the identification of these areas, the inflitration of the areas through churches and charitable organizations AND PARTICULARLY THROUGH EDUCATION.
There ARE like thinkers in these communities. How do we find them? Ask Jesse L. Peterson. Ask JC Watts and Herman Cain. They KNOW how to splinter these vulnerable areas off the blue.
The hispanic issue is RIPE for moving into the red. Catholic, family oriented cultures who beleive in being left alone and naturally distrust the government. And they voted Obama? This is the epitome of the single issue voter. the RNC needs to go toe to toe, issue to issue with the Race and counter it in that community, in that language, at THAT LEVEL.
Think it cant be done? SOF has been doing it since the end of World War II. It CAN be done.
WE must get deep into the education system to promote the ideals and values of conservatism that should be selling themselves. Im not talking about traditional public schools and universities. They are ROTTED with liberals. They also arentthe keys to education in the 21st century.
Im talking about the new way to educate - the online universities, the trade schools and nightschools. Corporate allies need to invest and educate with the ideals of economic and fiscal conservatism.
The RNC needs to lead and develop this effort. A novice like me can see that there is a disconnect between the voting habits of catholic-dominated hispanics and pockets of baptist blacks and their actual stated values. That disconnect can be exploited if it is done slowly, deliberately, and effectively.
INFORMATION WARFARE: We are ATROCIOUS AT THIS. Dems get a simple message out early and often. They poison the well and we are left to change minds rather than get the initial impression right from jump. We constantly play defense and think we are sooooo clever when dems (as they ALWAYS do) do something stupid or illegal and shocked when the media all but ignores it. We must take the offensive in getting up in every Candy Crowley, every George Stepenopolis face and call them what they are: democratic hacks posing as the objective media
We ABSOLUTELY MUST be proactive. We must attack at EVERY OPPORTUNITY then add each fail of the dems to a trend and theme. These themes must be simple, tailored, and repetitively broadcast to each target demographic.
We must look out beyond the 5 and 10 meter targets. Weve got to effectively interpret what the dem message is on the horizon and confront it at all levels - from the national MSM level filtering directly down to the target group level. Even I can see what the talking points of the upcoming week are by watching the Sunday talking head programs. Defense is unacceptable. we cant pretent that the most outrageous comment wont gain traction then act surprised when weeks later, that theme picks up steam. Attack, attack, attack.
Alinsky tactics must be turned against their masters. There is GREAT power in ridicule and scorn. They make it too easy to use. It needs to be culturally tailored and consistent. Dennis Miller needs his own show on FNC AND a late night show on Fox. Let him source and promote culturally diverse conserative comedians that vulnerable areas can relate to and remember. Bold Fresh tours arent enough.
This is only part of an overall information operation plan that is constant in a simple party message and what it means to each target group.
WE DONT DO THAT WELL. WHY NOT? I find it unbelievable that Obama has hijacked the reputation and imagery of the Party of Lincoln.
COIN operations involve a very in depth understanding of cultural idocyncracies and how best to exploit them to our advantage. Its not a wool-over-the-eyes approach or a free shit approach like the dems sell. THAT ALWAYS COMES UP SHORT.
Its a sell based on how it effects each target group and what it means to them. If its done right, I am CONFIDENT that the tenets of conservatism sell themselves.
In Civil Miltary Operations, assistance in areas that seem unrelated builds trust in the agency. Granted, theres a fine line between assistance and the giving of free shit but, the special operations forces walk that line well. It can be done. Community outreach in areas that we identify, in ways that we havent before can build a larger tent without sacrificing our beliefs.
The military has been doing this in third world countries for years. Weve been more successful in some areas, less successful in others. In the United States third world strongholds of the Democratic Party,I am confident that it can be done.
Heres the kicker: There are countless retired special operations planners and operators working overseas as contractors RIGHT NOW. Its too easy; the RNC needs to hire them as contractors over here.
This is, by far, not the only avenue weve got to pursue in order to turn the tide.
But, if we are going to war, the RNC must look to the military to rediscover and reorganize. The number-crunching beancounters have their place in the organization but, on their best days, they can only identify who will and wont vote Republican.
This is a Hearts and Minds effort.
It requires a new way to think about the political battlefield.
Rangers Lead the Way.
In Virginia we have coal counties where less than half the voting age population bothered to vote. In my rural county I spoke to several people who said they simply could care less about voting. Meanwhile the City of Petersburg (90% black) got 71% of their voting age population to vote, with 90% for Obama. My conclusion is that the stupid party is lazy and the evil party is motivated.
I’m re-reading P.J. O’Rourke’s “All the Trouble in the World.” P.J. offers doomsayers the following advice:
“Yes, there is misery and suffering on earth. Thanks for adding to it, Killjoy. Life seems pointless. This isn’t a reason to party? And the world’s about to end. As if we were going to live forever otherwise. [...] Also, if the world’s about to end, why aren’t things more interesting? Why are people abandoning themselves to cares and gripes instead of to booze-ups and orgies?”
You are quite right to remind us of Veterans Day and what it implies. As a child I recall my father, a veteran of World War II, coming home wearing a red flower in his lapel and offering an explanation which at the time I little understood. Years later, I happened to be in London on a dreary November 11 when so many people on the streets were wearing red poppies but it took a while for me to connect what I was seeing with my childhood experience. The carnage of World War I was disproportionately borne by the British as compared to the Americans. A whole generation of young men was nearly wiped out. So many young British men were killed that the society resorted to hyphenating names to preserve the male line. Yet, as devastating as British casualties were they actually suffered less than their allies and enemies.
The House of Windsor survived but the Hohenzollerens, Habsburgs, Romanovs, and Ottomans were destroyed by the war as was the culture which we English-speaking people know as the Edwardian age. The Edwardian values were discredited as was the aristocracy to a degree as the realization sank in that the elite classes had conducted the country into a catastrophe. Communism, Fascism, National Socialism emerged out of the blood and rubble. The war launched the world into its bloodiest century.
One of the most poignant and prophetic scenes must be that of the observation of Lord Edward Gray, knowing the Germans would receive Britain's ultimatum making war nearly inevitable, he looked out on the gas lights of London being lit at dusk and was heard to say, "The lamps are going out all over Europe. I fear we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
We honor our men and now our women who served and sacrificed in that war and in America's wars.
Where I live here in Bavaria the landscape is dotted with charming villages, ("Dörfer"), and in virtually every town square somewhere near the Catholic Church one will see a "Denkmal" (Monument) with a list of names of the fallen from that village. Relative to the diminutive size of the village the list is appallingly long. The list is longer for World War II. Yet the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month will go largely unremarked here in Germany.
World War I had other consequences. Lessons were drawn from that war which were to shape how we see the world even to this date. Few are aware of the character of the war as it evolved in 1918. Almost everyone of reasonable education has been informed that World War I was a static war in which the defensive deployment of artillery and machine guns situated in trenches prevailed against human bodies attacking over open ground.
The French and English drew tactical lessons which were that the offensive was no longer a viable war tactic, rather the casualty count had proved that it was madness to assault fixed positions and therefore the Army should be structured around a defensive posture. The English especially forgot the lesson that they taught the world, not excluding the Germans, of the shattering impact of tanks against forces arrayed on the defensive. The Germans went to school on those battles in places like Cambrai and learned that lesson only to use what they had learned to school in another war the British who had forgotten their own invention.
After the war the French drew back behind their Maginot Line and the English drew back behind their channel. Worse, the French extrapolated an even more faulty lesson beyond favoring the defensive, they became defeatist.
By early 1918 at least the Germans had learned another equally important lesson. They had found the key to breaking through the defense which had frustrated both sides at the cost of millions of lives for nearly 4 years. Strategists had attempted to break through static lines with concentration of force preceded by earth shattering bombardment. In the main the bombardment had served only to warn the adversary of the impending attack and to so furrow the ground that made it virtually impassable for attacking troops. The Germans went the other way, they abbreviated the bombardment and broke up the attacking force into elite commando type squads thoroughly trained and disciplined to infiltrate and avoid strong points. They could do this because of the extraordinary training, unit cohesion, and staff support, especially of their veterans.
Ludendorff very nearly won with this tactic but simply did not have the reserves required, even throwing into the battle 1 million troops arrived from the Russian front. The attempt, although unsuccessful in winning the war before the Americans could be brought to bear, nevertheless demonstrated the possibility of aggressive, offensive warfare.
Combine these tactics with the concentrated use of tanks, add air and coordinate all three by communications and staff work, and you have blitzkrieg.
The Germans, principally Gudarian, took one set of lessons from World War I and the Allies, with few exceptions like Charles de Gaulle, took a whole different set of lessons from that war. The French especially but even the English reacted emotionally to the carnage. The English forgot the lessons they had taught the world about the use of tanks. The French who had thought that élan would win the day now went to the other extreme and became defeatist.
Understandable as these emotional reactions were in view of the ghastliness of the World War I battlefields, succumbing to these emotions at the cost of rational evaluation only cost millions more lives.
This lengthy discourse on Veterans Day is meant to make a point about our catastrophic election loss. It is vital that we take the right lessons from this campaign and not draw feel good emotional conclusions.
We lost this war, let us not lose the next.
I am *deeply* corroded with jealousy, as not only does it follow and embellish much that I hadn't even tried to hint at, but it blazes the trail with floodlights. And puts the hesitant tone of my piece to shame.
Consider yourself *highly* commended, my good sir.
I love the book. I think my favorite chapter is when he visits Eastern Europe (Soviet bloc) and sees what life has been like under Communist influence.
My favorite line: "I've got some bad news about the dogs."
ping for reference
“Now, clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has since the beginning.”
Man, Romney sucked.
In 2016, if the GOP has any hope of doing better, a good strong conservative needs to be nominated. To get there, the RNC needs to singularly sponor these, and define the debate under their own terms. Let MSNBC pound sand.
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