Backfiring

A lot of the Axis of Smart / VSPs are very proud of themselves for writing things like “will political-victory-X be a pyrrhic one” or “will action-Y backfire.”

They like this because it lets them feel like when they lose it’s actually a strategic blunder on the part of the other side. And while it’s true that some actions can actually consolidate opposition, this is just simply not always the case, in fact I’m pretty sure it’s a rare exception.

In the last decade, no domestic legislation has spurned more of a political backfiring than Obamacare, and, yet, here we are just a few weeks from exchanges going online and a few weeks from the mandate being in place.

So before you think the GOP has overreached on say, abortion restrictions, ask yourself just how confident you are that the overreach will have political consequences and will restore the status quo ante. Otherwise, you’re just treating an awful lot of people like chess pieces and the player of the chess game is a shitty player.

Certainly, our faux meritocracy worships at the altar of smart for smart’s sake, but merely complex long-game-feigning isn’t necessarily smart when it produces shitty results. My advice for politicians would be this: do it, do it now, go big, and if you lose an election because of it, become a lobbyist or write a book.

Say what you will about the Bush-era Republicans, but they understood that very, very well. Tea Partiers are too rabid and ideologically pure for that and Democrats are too weak.