March 11, 2009
Obama's Tactic: Shock and AweBy J. Robert Smith
The United States military used Shock and Awe to overwhelm and defeat the Iraqis in 2003. Barack Obama and the Democrats are now using the political equivalent of Shock and Awe to radically move the nation to the left. Shock and Awe is designed to confuse, overwhelm and cow opponents of Obama's legislative coup d'état.
The president, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, other high administration appointees and congressional lefties are embarked on a very deliberate strategy of frontloading and ramming through big legislative packages and executive orders designed to "remake" America - to use the president's word.
Shock and Awe is formally known in military parlance as "Rapid Dominance," Shock and Awe being a feature of the former. And here's how it's explained:
Earlier and similar observations had been made by the great Chinese military writer Sun Tzu around 500 B.C. Sun Tzu observed that disarming an adversary before battle was joined was the most effective outcome a commander could achieve. Sun Tzu was well aware of the crucial importance of achieving Shock and Awe prior to, during, and in ending battle. He also observed that "war is deception," implying that Shock and Awe were greatly leveraged through clever, if not brilliant, employment of force." [Italics added]
The president is leveraging his honeymoon period in ways no other president has done before. For those who think that Obama is mimicking FDR's one hundred days, need to think again. Roosevelt's one hundred days were indeed a powerful engine for legislative proposals, executive orders and spending. But history shows that Roosevelt had no master plan; his efforts to revive the economy were improvised, often contradictory and somewhat scattershot.
Yes, Roosevelt wanted bigger government; he wanted to entrench the Democratic Party in power. The Great Depression was certainly useful. But his approach was more a feature of his personality and the necessity to show Americans action after the perceived inaction of his predecessor, Herbert Hoover.
As discussed at this website and elsewhere, Obama and his lieutenants understand that the economic crisis is their chance to make broad and fundamental systemic change. Their plan for systemic change fits within a definite ideological framework. They aim to change the nation to align more with Europe's socialist democracies -- and not just economically, but militarily, in foreign policy, welfare and culturally. And perhaps then some.
But they have a stumbling block. No, not just ideological and activist conservatives; not just the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys; nor conservative bloggers; but citizens who are naturally conservative in approach and demeanor; who, while they may not identify with political conservatives, hold a reverence for the Founders, and who hold a gut-level belief in individual freedom and rights. They correctly see the economy in need of a fix, but not a scrapping. They certainly don't want the nation remade.
And if informed that the president is using the economic crisis as cover to advance his social agenda, including funding for abortions overseas, disallowing doctors and nurses as a matter of conscience to refuse to perform abortions and permitting embryonic stem cell research, they might scratch their heads wondering what that has to do with helping businesses thrive and people keep or gain jobs.
The president knows that he doesn't have the luxury of making radical change over a protracted period. A little bit at a time won't work. Opposition will coalesce; that opposition will marshal its resources and train its fire on each piece of legislation the president proposes. He knows that in our system of checks and balances, it is easier to thwart legislation than it is to pass it.
So the president is using Shock and Awe to mislead and baffle natural conservatives, cow critics and overwhelm opposition with a broad agenda pressed ahead simultaneously. He's betting that deception, speed and force will win the day. By the time the dust settles, he hopes to present Americans with a fait accompli.
Make no mistake, the president may be a rookie at governing, but he's no rookie when it comes to leftwing organizing -- or as he would say, "community organizing." Nor, as an apostle of the late Saul Alinsky and other leftwing gurus, is he insensible to the need to seize and extend his control through government auspices and under the guise of compassion for the little guy. In this, he's a seasoned pro, and is surrounded by seasoned pros.
But Shock and Awe has its Achilles Heel:
It is at the grassroots, then, that the president's gambit needs to be defeated. Waiting for a massive counter strike by the Republican Party or other institutions on the right may mean waiting a day too long.
In fact, the spontaneous outpouring of resistance with tax tea parties, on conservative talk radio and at conservative blogs is the beginning of a populist conservative revolt. The key is to enlist America's natural conservatives.
From Maine to California, Alaska to Florida, conservative activists need to quickly spread and fan the flames of this righteous revolt. The president and his congressional allies are gaming our democratic system to serve very undemocratic ends: to centralize power and control in the national government; to vest that power in the Democratic Party, unelected bureaucrats and the appointed judiciary; and to fundamentally alter the very character of the nation.