Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Via Instapundit, I have encountered an interesting analysis, from an Alinsky-ish perspective of Barack Obama's current political difficulties. This occurs in the first item of a Best of the Web feature at Wall Street Journal Online. As is so often the case with conservative analysis, its strength is generally better on the less abstract levels, but get far enough away from the concrete level and it falls flat on its face:
Which brings us to a word of caution for those who don't want to see Obama re-elected: Inasmuch as the condition of being leaderless gives Republicans significant tactical advantages now, they will not enjoy those advantages in three years. Even if Obama's performance as president leaves much to be desired, he could win a second term if the Republicans nominate an opponent who makes an easy target for ridicule. Just ask John Kerry. [bold added]Or the Republicans could win, and find themselves eaten alive as their leader, now suffering the same tactical disadvantages Obama currently possesses, flounders about. Non-ridiculousness will get you only so far.
Why is James Taranto so blind to this? I oppose Obama's agenda and find myself wondering whether, at the rate things are going, we might want him for eight years. The lesson Taranto draws in the first section of this Best of the Web is something like, "It's easier to erode someone else's power than to wield it for oneself." That's true enough, particularly when that power is held at the pleasure of a voting public.
Part of the answer, to which I suspect Taranto is oblivious, lies in the very next section of his entry. Here, he discusses a fascinating aspect of the predictable calls for a boycott of Whole Foods by its predominantly left wing clientele in response to a recent editorial by its CEO, John Mackey. Taranto quotes Ann Althouse, a regular customer of Whole Foods:
The place was packed as usual--here in lefty Madison. It occurred to me that the boycott will not only fail, it will backfire. Whole Foods shoppers won't give up their pleasure easily. If they are pushed to boycott, they will want to read the Mackey op-ed, and if they do that, they will see it is a brilliant and specific analysis that is stunningly better thought-out than what we are hearing from Obama and the Democrats. Moreover, once they do that, they should be outraged--or at least annoyed--by those who called for a boycott, who sought to enforce such strict obedience to the particular of legislation [sic] that the Democrats in Congress have been trying to ram through. Maybe some of the people who want to support Obama and the Democrats will stop and think for themselves about what health care reform should be. [bold added]Besides the fact that possessing power carries with it the tactical liabilities of having to maintain it, there is also the simple fact that if the truth is on your side, you have a huge advantage. Perhaps, in addition to being gutsy, Mr. Mackey is amazingly shrewd. If this pans out, I promise to go easy on the patchouli jokes when mentioning Whole Foods in the future.
Taranto appreciates how this battle is shaking out, but does he see how it applies to the war for America's political future? I suspect not, for the Republicans, insofar as they have become a party of big government and theocracy, also do not have the truth on their side. Taranto has repeatedly made it clear that, while he is useful as an opponent of Obama having power, his positive agenda would be little better. The truth is not on his side, so he does not appreciate its tactical value and arguably even fears it.
In some respects, the fact that neither side is aligned with reality bodes well for those of us who understand that the key to a good future for America is to fight against both theocracy and leftist collectivism, its secularized twin.