The Corner

Personal vs. Political

Thanks to the many commenters who opined on yesterday’s “Stupid Party” post. One thing that’s been misunderstood by some, I think, is my exhortation to take the fight to Obama — who, by the way, is most assuredly taking the fight to us on every level he can — and bring down his “personal popularity” numbers. This does not mean, as some straw-men builders have posited, that we should attack him ad hominem, which is a favorite tactic of the Left, and then just leave it at that.

But since it’s that same Left that’s been telling us for years that “the personal is political,” we should not shy away from making the point that Obama is his policies. If you don’t like his policies, you don’t like him. Look, no matter how our side goes at Obama, the bully/crybaby Left is going to whine that it’s “personal,” so why let them preempt any discussion of the president’s many and manifest failings of both philosophy and character? As Jonah has correctly noted: 

Obama’s political character – how he makes arguments and decisions and how he just plain old leads — is not just fair game, it is the game. The fact that he’s personally popular is something to keep in mind as you craft strategies to make him as politically unpopular as possible.

In short, at long last let’s take the Left at their word and refuse to prophylactically tiptoe through the no-man’s land between the “personal” and the “political” — especially when they themselves proudly make no distinction. It’s crucial for our side to realize the nature of the opposition and how they operate, and then up to us individually to decide which of their tactics, if any, we’re prepared to adopt in order to defeat them. But in order to do that, we first have to know what they are and be able to articulate them.

David Mamet, in his screenplay for The Untouchables, put the moral dilemma this way:

Malone: You said you wanted to get Capone. Do you really wanna get him? You see what I’m saying is, what are you prepared to do?

Ness: Anything within the law.

Malone: And then what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way. Because they’re not gonna give up the fight, until one of you is dead.

Ness: I want to get Capone! I don’t know how to do it.

Malone: You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the *Chicago* way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? 

As this excellent post by Christian Schneider about the Left’s tactics in Wisconsin in their blatant attempt to overturn the results of the 2010 gubernatorial election vividly illustrates, they play dirty, they play ugly, and they play to win — which ought to tell you how important they see the struggle:

As an old campaign guru once said, “Nobody ever successfully defended anything; there is only attack, attack, and more attack.” Walker is fighting the battle for his political life with a shield and not a sword; every dollar he wastes trying to explain his policy to the voters of Wisconsin, who have been saturated with stories about his policy for almost a year now, is a dollar he can’t spend aggressively moving votes in his direction…

Hours of footage exists of protesters screaming and being dragged feet-first from committee hearings. One young woman chained her head to a railing in the Assembly chambers while floor session was going on. Walker has received death threats and his children have been targeted on Facebook. Rabid union demonstrators have been arrested for pouring beer on lawmakers. Organized labor loyalists have disrupted Special Olympics award ceremonies and booed Walker at the state’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Union misanthropes are free to scream expletives at 14-year old girls.

As I’ve said here and elsewhere, the Left views Wisconsin the way Germany and the Soviet Union viewed Spain, as a proving ground for new tactics and new weapons. You can bet your bottom dollar that if they succeed in Wisconsin, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of this. As Obama famously said, this is their time, this is their moment, and they’re not about to let it go without a fight.

You see what I’m saying is, what are you prepared to do? Here endeth the lesson. 

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