Jennifer Rubin has a brilliant column at Pajamas Media, arguing that being “not Obama” is a very good political strategy for down-and-out Republicans. From a conservative standpoint (which is of course different than a Republican standpoint), I now find myself in agreement — especially after being persuaded by Rubin’s very well-argued column. I’ve always been of the “you can’t beat something with nothing” school, and while I have never refrained from criticizing that which I disagree with, I’ve always thought of the criticism as a secondary duty rather than a primary occupation. But I’ve just recently noticed what seemed an odd thing: Every week for months now I’ve told myself that it’s time to start highlighting the good conservative alternatives to Obama’s Mussolinism. Yet every week, day after day, I find myself utterly engaged in criticism and opposition. It’s just that Obama is doing so many things so fast in so many ways to undermine so many of the basic foundations of our republic, and is doing so much to undermine the basic equations of ordered liberty, that I feel it necessary to try to fight off all the awful changes (or, rather, add my tiny voice to those trying to fight them off) and haven’t had time for my planned magnum opus showing all the good, forward-looking, effective solutions that conservatives offer.
What’s more, I think the fighting back, the criticism and opposition, are working better than would any focus on the many legitimate positive offerings available. Not working WELL yet, mind you, but at least keeping conservatives in the game and motivated.
But while I had sort of begun to notice my own months-long bent towards opposition, I had not figured out in a coherent way why this was happening. Now Jennifer explains it, and explains it superbly.
I’ll put it in military terms: Sometimes you just have to dig in, defensively, and endure the barrage while sending frequent guerilla sorties out to do damage. Or, to cite an athlete I absolutely abhorred, sometimes Muhammah Ali’s rope-a-dope tactics are the only way to win: Cover up, let the other guy punch himself into exhaustion, all the while throwing fewer punches in return but making those punches really count. I just watched, a few weeks ago, a replay of the entire Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle. I was surprised to see that Ali DID throw a number of punches from his defensive crouch — he did not JUST cover up while Foreman exhausted himself — but he only punched when a clear opening was there and he could at least nick the younger man. Well, that seems to be the best option for conservatives right now: Defending that which we hold dear, and counterpunching at every GOOD opportunity.
Until we gain actual ground back (now back in military-analogy mode) in an election, going on the offensive doesn’t make much sense. Conservatives are “not Obama,” as Jennifer says — and for now, that’s plenty good enough, even though we know we have lots of positive things to offer.