-- Carl von Clausewitz
Simplify von Clausewitz to these words:
"War is . . . a continuation of [politics] by other means."
And update von Clausewitz for 21st century democracies:
"[Politics] is . . . a continuation of [war] by other means."
War. Our ruling class is underperforming, and putting great energy into hanging on. If Democrats have their way, the coming election will turn on how people feel about Republicans crippling government’s most popular programs. It won’t be about the cost and inadequacies of Obamacare, won’t be about unbalanced budgets and astronomical debt, and it won’t be about an administration failure to create jobs. No, it will be about mean Republicans.
Here’s the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza:
The 2010 election was devastating for Democrats across the country, but the South was at the epicenter of the destruction. . . John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster based in Alabama, [argues] a Republican Party willing to cut Social Security and Medicare [is] at the root of a return to Democratic competitiveness in the South.And Donna E. Shalala, Clinton’s health and human services secretary, tells us:
As [the new health care law] move[s] forward, it is important to remember how profoundly Medicare and Social Security altered the lives of . . . middle-class families. [emphasis added]We earlier wrote about how Democrats now talk “middle class”—not “working class”—because their base has moved upscale; it’s now comfortable, secure government workers.
Democrats plan to win in 2012 using the "Colorado Strategy," derived from Colorado senator Michael Bennet's surprising win in his 2010 race. As Sean Trende of “RealClearPolitics” says of the "Colorado Strategy":
Obama's strategists have signaled that this could be the strategy [for] the 2012 Presidential race. . . Sen. Bennet won his election in a swing state in a tough year for Democratic incumbents by doing extremely well among minorities, college educated liberals, independent women, social moderates, and environmentalists.In other words, “doing extremely well” among a Democratic base we earlier identified as 64% of the potential electorate.
And because that 64% potential Democratic base includes many worried about debt, jobs, and Obamacare, the Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost warns:
we should expect a highly negative reelection campaign from the president. . . Republican efforts to rein in the budget deficit will be cast again and again as the party's perfidious attempt to realize its 80-year dream of destroying the social safety net. What else can the president and his team do[?]War. Conservative Michael Medved, writing in USA Today, says both sides in this war
believe that our country [is] set apart from the rest of the world. The right views America as exceptionally blessed and righteous — chosen by God to inspire humanity with distinctive ideals of liberty, self rule and free markets. The left [sees] the U.S. as exceptionally guilty [(slavery, genocide against natives, imperialism)] and exceptionally backward when it comes to social justice, [lacking] the welfare state guarantees that characterize other wealthy nations.War. Writes Matthew Continetti in the Weekly Standard, “liberals think conservatives are evil while conservatives think liberals are stupid.” Liberals do think conservatives evil. But conservatives know liberals are smart, not stupid. It’s just that liberals are too smug, too self-assured, too close-minded about evidence challenging liberal orthodoxy.
So the war builds between the two sides. Fred Barnes, also in the Weekly Standard, after reviewing the book Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics by Morris P. Fiorina with Samuel J. Abrams, writes:
The book’s theory is simple: “In America today there is a disconnect between an unrepresentative political class and the citizenry it purports to represent”. . . While the political class tends to divide sharply between liberals and conservatives, the public is far more centrist . . . The moderate majority [is] often forced to choose “between relatively extreme candidates” put forth by the political class.Unfortunately in war, most are forced to choose one side over the other.