Tough but Necessary
The received wisdom of the shutdown has descended from on high and is now carved in stone and placed above the altar where the chickens are sacrificed: do not start any battles you aren't 150% certain you can win.
We've heard this from the Dems, legacy media pundits, and even much of the GOP. Charley Cook actually went so far as to consult a psychiatrist to get a formal diagnosis of the "hysterical delusional affirmation" that impelled Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and their allies.
What this comes down to, of course, is: don't fight any battles anywhere at any time. Don't rock the boat. Don't make waves. Don't ever oppose the consensus no matter how mistaken, misguided, or "delusional" it may be.
This crowd -- which includes Charley and his shrink -- are overlooking something: there are times when you fight a battle even though you know you are going to lose. I can't recall Cruz or Lee or anyone else predicting a complete victory. They were well aware what was in the cards and how much of a long shot they were playing. But that didn't matter, because this particular battle had to be fought regardless. There are situations where overall strategic realities demand that you stand and fight no matter what the chances. This was one of them.
This was evident to George Washington in 1777. He was facing an overwhelming British force closing on Philadelphia, at that time the nation's capital. His men were outnumbered, ill-officered, badly armed, and untrained. Any sensible analysis demanded that he retreat and wait to fight another day. But Washington challenged the British at Germantown, and was badly whipped and forced off the field.
Why did he fight at Germantown? Because he was delusional? No -- because he was aware that the world beyond North America -- including Britain's enemies -- was watching closely, wild with surmise over the fact that a bunch of ragged farmers were holding out against the mightiest imperial force of the era. Washington knew he had to oppose a British advance on Philadelphia to establish that the rebels were a force to be reckoned with, one that deserved international support. Though defeated on the battlefield, he succeeded in his overall objective.
The same is true of the Alamo, where a derisory pickup force of Texas rebels was annihilated by the Mexican Army, and at Bataan where MacArthur's troops battled an overwhelming Japanese invasion force under miserable conditions, suffering the worst massacre of the Pacific War when they at last surrendered.
But the men of the Alamo bought time for Sam Houston to organize his counterstroke at San Jacinto, and the stand at Bataan fatally disrupted the Japanese timetable, enabling the Allies to begin counterattacks in New Guinea and the Solomons.
What did the shutdown accomplish? Obama's disdain for aged vets, for the families of dead soldiers, and for children dying of cancer has revealed, abjectly and undeniably, that he is as brutish as any other cheap dictator. It also revealed that such types as McCain, Graham, and Ayotte, not RINOS so much as Democrats confused about where they're supposed to sit, are utterly incorrigible, not to be trusted, and to be sent packing as soon as the opportunity arises.
And when, in a few weeks time, Obama admits to the country that ObamaCare is a chimera, a mirage, and yes, a delusion, that half-a-billion dollars have simply evaporated, and that he needs at least that much more to create something that can be so much as repaired, Cruz and his allies will be in a position to say: this is why we shut down the government, and we say "No." (Ms. Kelly, on the other hand, will be running back and forth waving a printout and crying, "But we have 238 registered in New Hampshire...")
Strategy has its own demands. You don't always get to pick your battles; sometimes they pick you. It's time that the GOP as a whole understood this.