Friday, October 10, 2008
The most interesting aspect of this election cycle, if you can really call it a cycle this time around, and around and around and …, is how completely apparent it is that Obama (the leader of “the enemy”, hereunder) does not have the basic understanding of what a strategy is, even as a Platonic ideal, oh!, and don’t bother to confuse him with tactics. He knows not the distinction. He only knows modern political campaign: put your cards on the table and stick to them. Deny to the point of explosive cognitive dissonance facts that contradict your “constructed reality” (a term, incidentally and highly coincidentally, used by both Obama and William “Weather Underground” Ayers in roughly contemporaneous, similarly highly-stylized, time-distorted autobiographies so egregiously similar as to have attracted scholarly interest in the likelyhood [for technical reasons] that Ayers wrote Obama’s famous and career-launching autobiography. Craziness. And that is one LOOOOOONG sentence; but it is grammatically correct and, truly, one thought, poor me.)
Defend those cards for all you’re worth, for that house of cards is truly your essence—built on a foundation bought by convicted felon Tony Rezko with a driveway cobbled out of his sweet, old, commie-lovin’ granny who let her grandbaby listen to tales of American the Horrible at the feet of “Frank”, his “pastor”, that economic advisor who spoke out of both sides of his face about NAFTA—you know, the guy with the funny name, his foreign policy advisor, what’s her name over Jerusalem comment that didn’t stick to the script, FISA, blah blah blah and everyone and everything else that had to be discarded for the sake of his career, in a neighbour organized by the ACORN goons he, himself, trained. OH HOW I LOVE LONG SENTENCES!
Whereas, John McCain clearly knows everything there is to know about strategy qua strategy. His life depended on knowing it. And he knows what tactics are and how they support the overall strategy. He earned his chops in the Naval Academy and everything else that is his record. As a naval officer and advisor on military strategy, McCain has not only developed strategy, he has executed it as an officer. And he has BEEN a tactic in others’ strategies. He gets what a tactic is. As a prisoner in Hanoi, the bad guys offered him early release, hoping to gain a tactical weapon for an attack in the propaganda war being waged stateside by the nascent enemy, their natural allies. He denied them their tactical weapon, himself, at extreme personal cost—a cost evidenced in his heroic gait in townhall meetings the nation over.
My point is, he knows what he’s doing. He has a strategy. For weeks, I’ve been trying to think like a disciplined Navy strategic planner. Laugh, my friends, laugh. I can year you now! And here are some of my thoughts on this topic. How I think McCain might approach the mission, how he might view the battlefield, and how he might (and I think this is close) formulate a strategy and what some of those supporting tactics might be. [It’s reverse engineering from a second-hand perspective, but it is exactly what I think is going on. And I’m sure there’s a formalism I’m not hep to, but I think this manner of thinking fits within, somehow, McCain’s formalism.]
Recognoitre the “mental” territory including memes circulating in the popular culture. Discern and internalize what “the popular culture is”. Get inside it: it exists as circulating memes.
Determine constraints: Acknowledge that the “voting public” begins to be “open to persuasion” only during the “critical six weeks” (CSW) prior to election day thus necessitating a “long game with a sprint at the end” strategy.
Cons: media manipulation (especially TV and traditional print media, a cabal of hostile public opinion makers, collectively, “the deadwoods”) for the opposition; Collectivist-minded intelligentsia promulgating ideas undermining rational thought; organized voter fraud, ie: organized crime interfering in the election of the leader of the free world; a vicious left-wing blogosphere; biased opinion polling with the devils being in the details and far too wonkish to be “easily explained”; the “received wisdom” of it being a bad time to be a Republican; unpopular with the conservative base due to “maverick” ideas; economy is showing early signs of decay; enemy with a silver-plated tongue and a “compelling narrative”, the gaps in which and whose every fault goes unreported; enemy possesses arguably superior cyberskills and media assets; enemy is exceptionally well funded and is not committed to the federal spending cap; branding as a Messianic figure. AND MUCH MORE.
Pros: the principled conservative base recognizes the nature of the threat posed by the enemy; a large proportion of disaffected Democrats (vis. “Hillary Democrats”); a respected* reasonable and calm “right wing punditocracy”; a dedicated “right wing” blogosphere; exceptional talk radio coverage in a car culture; a “popular” cable TV alternative channel; an “attack dog” contingent of media personalities; a yet unvetted fatally-flawed enemy; innate common sense of the electorate; convergence of historical forces; veterans are stepping forward once again to battle communism; youth are volunteering to serve in the armed services; heroic personal narrative with obvious national allusions; “maverick ideas” enable new voters; strong personal record. AND MUCH MORE.
Strategy: Mobilize the grass roots. Via a timed release during CSW of precision-guided memes into the popular culture using advanced semiotic techniques and by asserting control of the news cycle, that is by manipulating the manipulating deadwoods—which, happily, demonstrates a uniquely linear modality of thought—the campaign’s messages can be brought to the electorate in the age of YouTube in snippets, where there they’re amalgamated on-line by allied cyberforces and promoted by allied media.
Allow the electorates’ flames of natural curiosity to be stoked by promoting the available alternate information sources and judiciously add fuel to keep the fire burning.
[That’s it. The best strategy is easily explained and thereby easily understood. Okay, though, I did have to use some “$50 words”!]
- •Deadwood manipulation: allow it to play out until CSW; draw attention to it when the audience is paying attention, which will be in early CSW. Until early CSW, allow the enemy to feel complacent while remaining within striking distance. Enable unforced errors while the “independent’s” ears begin to open to the electoral campaign. Remember: linear thinkers.
- •Force enemy to defensive in early CSW
- •“Mav’rick ideas”:
powerful, yet deadly, too:
they’re a two-edged sword[that’s an Haiku, if I’m not mistaken. I love them. Policy should be written in Haiku.]
- •Shaky conservative base: reassure with a strong conservative
- •Continue the Female v. Race issue exploited by both sides in the enemy’s primary battle, if possible: in a race battle, the cracker loses. [In this battle it reinforces the already present cognitive dissonance and is sure to unhinge some Democrats. If for no other reason, I hope pulls this: I love to watch the results of explosive cognitive dissonance and have ever since I made a dear friend stomp off down the hallway of the Engineering Building after an argument, in the philosophical sense of the word.]
- •Select an energetic “doer” not a “talker” as VP.
- •Endow the next generation of Republican leadership with a breath of executive fresh air
- •Continue on historical trajectory of reform (personal and “big picture”), augmented by VP choice who is a demonstrated reformer
- •Identify attractive “Hillary positions”; co-opt, if acceptable to candidate’s VALUES [I’m not saying I like this, but it is the truth: McCain is, at core, a pragmatist. An honour valuing, idealistic pragmatist. (Take that, for Zen, Tom Brokaw, oh denizen of the forest of deadwood!)]
- •Force the deadwoods to do their jobs by bringing to light in settings that “cannot be ignored” the unsavory aspects, in measured salvos, of the enemy that have been “undiscovered” by them by utilizing allied cyberforces and media resources, bearing in mind the news cycle and the venal nature of the media luminaries involved
- •Treat your embeds with dignity and respect; take them not for granted, it’s just the right thing to do
- •It may be a “bad time to be a Republican” but the “maverick ideas” enable a sober second look by independents and worried democrats
- •Vicious left-wing blogosphere: ignore them and let them render themselves irrelevant; the deadwoods will be forced, eventually, by pressure from the talk-radio listening crowd, to address their “issues”, exposing them for what they are
- •Biased opinion polling: do not panic. Opinion polls are inherently shaky things and a lot of “all things being equal”, ±3%, 19 times out of 20, etc. goes into it. At this point in time, all things “are not equal”. Opinion polling results can be heavily influenced by clever bias in question phraseology; AND, equally importantly, they are a lagging indicator.
- •Organized voter fraud: emphasize having faith in the justice system while keeping the story in the deadwood news cycle. Highlight the heroism of the police, firefighters and others who under firm Republican leadership have kept America safe for however many days since 9/11. Supply supporting evidence; “follow the money”, connect the dots. Aid the authorities is rooting out the organized criminals.
- •Establish a clearinghouse for factual evidence the would stand up in a court of law
- •Publicly discourage ridiculously bad behaviour; emphasize gentlemanly conduct; lead by example; demonstrate the steadfastness required by the Office.
- •Avoid spin; “straight talk express”; the ideas are not that complicated, they just must be properly explained; trust the common sense of the electorate; believe in the bullshit-o-meter that the electorate has evolved in this popular culture.
- •Disavow wonkiness in all its forms—only wonks like it. Most everybodyelse tunes it out and adopt and spout regurgitated deadwood pap. Instead, top-line and bottom-line your policy and refer the really curious to online resources
- •Help keep confidence up in the economy, knowing that financial stability is all in the collective mind of the global market. Emphasize that the REAL economy is just as it was a few weeks ago. All the MATERIAL wealth of the world has not suddenly gone bye-bye
- •Demonstrate the candidate’s willingness to put country first, to do all that he can to rally the elected troops, in time of economic hand-wrenching. In trying and failing there is honour. Not so with not trying.
- •Throw flash grenades into the cubbyholes in the enemy’s narrative and into the dark, unexplored alleyways of his record; allow for “meme-drag” (but ignore deadwood polling data) by repeating the enlightening until it goes viral. Fire a new meme salvo; repeat until the cartridge is unloaded.
- •Give the electorate a reason to be proud. Emphasize the goodness of Americans, the “exceptionalism” of the American ideal, the uniqueness of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights IN THE WORLD! Emphasize the positive while acknowledging the negative; emphasize the rightness of the cause. Highlight the “good statistics”, the didjaknows?, about America eg: World %age foreign aid, % funding of worldwide disaster relief, and so on as the abound. Sing it from the bloody rafters!
- •Explain in terms the electorate can understand the convergence of the forces of history and economy, and how the end game in the century-long battle to establish communist rule in America is afoot; revitalize the capitalism vs. communism fights of yore, but draw the distinction between the domestic nature of this fight as opposed to the international nature of the cold war. [Atlas is, in fact, Shrugging. Where’s our John Galt?]
Man, I could go on forever and it is Friday night, so I won’t. Apropos to all of the above and in line with the tactics mentioned, I saw a snippet on CNN (of all places) today wherein McCain was called to action by the public, by a veteran to be specific. One soldier calling for another soldier to FIGHT! McCain’s face upon that call showed a massive change. He looked 10 years younger, honestly. It absolutely lit up—as if he had the “aha” moment where he realized that, to paraphrase a fictional emperor, “things are unfolding according to my plan”.
He avowed to take the fight to the enemy, but called for respect for the enemy.
Now that’s old-school honour. And dignity. And it’s the change that Americans, deep-down, are hoping for: a return to agreeing to disagree while working together to build a civilization and secure a fantastic future for everyone because “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
NOW: thegreatschleppe is gonna backfire
I hope to see a lot of Sarah Silverman’s new spots onwww.thegreatschlepp.com. I think Sarah’s hilarious, honestly. But on politics we don’t seem to be simpatico. I’m okay with that. So, I want to see her stuff, which I believe is intended to humourously convince kids to proselytize for Obama to their grandparents down there in Florida. Somehow, these nogoodnick kids are gonna tell the grandfolks who maybe survived the Holocaust or escaped the gulags the truth about Obama, the veiled one, whose likes they’ve seen before. I think the grandfolks might be able to open the eyes of their bubbies to the true nature of that one. I see it as a rogue torpedo circling back on it’s mother. The kids might be that dumb, but I doubt the grandfolks aren’t. And they turn out to vote!