The victorious army wins first, and then goes to war, while the defeated army goes to war first, and then seeks to win.
? Sun Tzu
Successful coaches tell their teams to worry about themselves and not their opponents. Teams that win pay no attention to things they can’t control. They have goals that they don’t waver from, and they formulate strategies to achieve those goals. If strategy A fails, winning coaches and teams examine the strategy, modify it, and move on to strategy A-1. Repeat as necessary.
This is how the right operates. Consider Social Security. The right has literally wanted to destroy SS since its inception. That goal hasn’t changed. But any substantive attack on it has remained largely beyond their reach ? until now. “Temporarily” cutting the payroll tax is just the first salvo in a new offensive against the hated program ? as most people on the left correctly recognize.
Do you think that the right worried about how the left was going to react to this new attack? Perhaps a little, but very little. Why does Rahm call the left retards and recommend to his advisees that they ignore it? Because winners largely ignore their opponents.
The left, on the other hand, obsesses about what the right does. That’s all the left ever thinks about. This is because, while the left does have goals, it doesn’t have the goals it thinks it does.
Consider Bradley Manning. The left’s current strategy to free him will not be successful. Oh, it will likely win Manning soft blankets and the right to do push-ups in his cell, and this is not completely insignificant (certainly not to Manning, anyway) ? but it is largely insignificant as part of the overall “good” war the left likes to imagine it’s fighting.
If the left hasn’t figured out how to free Mumia, Peltier, or Lynne Stewart, why should anyone believe it will free Manning? The left will fail to free Manning, and then it will flit on to its next cause c?l?bre.
The right doesn’t operate this way. And actually, neither does the left. The right knows what it wants. The left only thinks it knows what it wants. What the left really wants is to be able to solicit donations, raise money, and get paid.
If you hook the left up to a polygraph, it really does believe it wants to free Manning. But actually, its main priority is to raise money. Partially, this makes sense. If people have no money (even people on the left), they starve and go homeless. And if organizations have no money, they go out of existence. So yes, money is important.
But the left doesn’t see this, and that’s the problem. The first step in battling addiction (or any problem) is seeing the problem. The left, however, doesn’t see that’s its operating model isn’t about freeing Manning (or whatever), it’s about raising money. Seeing the problem might lead to a solution. Not seeing it will simply leave Manning ? as Mumia et. al. ? in jail.
ERIC PATTON lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.