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Ted Cruz and the Lesson of Dunkirk: You canít afford to fight the battles you know youíll lose.
National Review ^ | 02/21/2014 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 02/21/2014 7:30:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Politics is often like war. Unfortunately, politicians, the media, and the voting public seldom have the same degree of realism and discipline with which professional soldiers fight wars. You can indulge your emotions and base your decisions on wishful thinking in politics in a way that you are not likely to when your own life is on the line in battle.

One of the most dramatic and heartening events of World War II was the miraculous evacuation of British troops trapped on the beaches of France in 1940, at Dunkirk. And its lesson is still relevant today.

The British troops were in France to help the French fight off the invading army from Nazi Germany. But the sudden collapse of the French army left the Brits stranded on the beaches, with the German army closing in on them.

The British navy’s ships in the area were too large to move into the shallow waters close to the beaches so as to evacuate the troops. Instead, hundreds of British civilians headed for Dunkirk in their fishing boats, recreational craft, and practically anything else that would float.

These civilians, who risked their lives going into a war zone, helped nearly a hundred thousand British soldiers get back home across the English Channel.

How does this tie in with politics, especially with politics today?

Many Republicans wanted their party to fight the Obama administration before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling, in hopes of extracting at least some concession — on spending, on the Keystone pipeline, or whatever.

Unfortunately, the Republicans had no more chance of winning that fight than the stranded British troops had of winning a battle against Hitler’s army.

Whatever the Republicans threatened, President Obama could call their bluff. They would either have to back down or have a second government shutdown for which they would be blamed. Another shutdown could doom their chances of winning the Senate in the 2014 elections, and perhaps even cost them the House of Representatives.

In a war, you do not fight battles that you are certain to lose, if only because you will need your troops to fight later in battles you can win. The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France, and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime.

In politics, as in war, you need power to win, and you don’t dissipate your forces fighting battles that you are sure to lose. Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.

None of this says that the Republicans’ leadership had a great track record prior to the most recent confrontations with the Democrats. For that matter, the British government had a terrible track record in the years leading up to the desperate situation on the beaches at Dunkirk. But that was no reason to sacrifice troops who would be urgently needed for later battles, where the odds would be different.

There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington had followed the tactics being urged by people like Senator Ted Cruz and his supporters. The army under General Washington was no match for the British army, in either military experience or firepower. The American army repeatedly had to withdraw, retreat, and even flee to avoid being annihilated. George Washington did not have to fight futile battles in order to prove his courage. He was already well known for being in the thick of battles, with bullets whistling around his head. But he had to wait for situations where he had the enemy at a disadvantage, and then strike.

When Washington made his celebrated crossing of the Delaware, he was headed for a dramatic victory, using soldiers he had saved for just such a moment. Wars are about winning, not futile symbolic gestures that leave you worse off. Politics must be the same, if you are serious about the issues.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: dunkirk; senate; tedcruz; thomassowell
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1 posted on 02/21/2014 7:30:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Whats up with Thomas Sowell and Ted Cruz? Whatever it is, Sowell is dead wrong.


2 posted on 02/21/2014 7:32:41 AM PST by skeeter
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To: SeekAndFind

I am immensely tired of hearing Thomas Sowell trying to tell us to take it up the keester and vote Republican again (with no distinction as to RINO vs. Conservative). IMMENSELY TIRED!.

Just what the heck difference is his cute “Dunkirk” analogy versus our illustrious Senate Republican Leadership engineering YEA Cloture Votes on OBAMA LEGISLATION and then voting NO in a certain-loss plurality vote that ends up passing OBAMA LEGISLATION.

Frankly, Thomas Sowell can STFU.


3 posted on 02/21/2014 7:34:41 AM PST by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: skeeter

This is the fourth anti-Cruz article by Sowell in a short time period. I thought that Sowell was a conservative! I have always liked his articles, so these latest ones are causing cognitive dissonance for me. :-(


4 posted on 02/21/2014 7:34:45 AM PST by MNGal
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s like they used to say about the British at war - they lost every battle but the final one.


5 posted on 02/21/2014 7:34:57 AM PST by glorgau
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To: SeekAndFind

“Wars are about winning, not futile symbolic gestures that leave you worse off.”

Says the guy that was a photographer in the Marines.

I guess King Leonidas, the 300 Spartans, and the 700 Thespians should have let Xerxes and the Persians walk into Greece.


6 posted on 02/21/2014 7:35:48 AM PST by Azeem (There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo.)
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To: SeekAndFind
But he had to wait for situations where he had the enemy at a disadvantage, and then strike.

If you keep retreating, this will never happen!
Republicans have been "saving their bullets" forever. Time to unload.

7 posted on 02/21/2014 7:36:18 AM PST by grobdriver (Where is Wilson Blair when you need him?)
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To: SeekAndFind; Jim Robinson; All

” - - - -
1.) * Whatever the Republicans threatened, President Obama could call their bluff.
2.) * They would either have to back down or have a second government shutdown for which they would be blamed.
3.) *Another shutdown could doom their chances of winning the Senate in the 2014 elections, and perhaps even cost them the House of Representatives.- - - “

The above 3 sentences quoted from Sowell’s article demonstrate the following:
* how easy it has been for Obama and Reid to refuse to work with the Republicans;
* Obama and Reid to shut down part of the Federal Government;
* Obama and Reid to blame their shutdown on the Republicans;
* for Obama and Reid to have full confidence that the Left Stream Media would falsely claim that Reid and Obama did not shutdown the Government;
* Sowell is fearful of bluffs, fighting to damage the enemy, and paranoid about what, “could, would or perhaps” happen;
* Sowell approves of being blamed for something that he or the RINOs didn’t do;
* and that Sowell himself still believes that Obama and Reid did not shutdown the Federal Government, Barrycade our War Monuments, or stop funeral payments to the families of The Commander in Chief’s own Military dead.

FREEPERS: Would anyone with a Military background choose to have Thomas Sowell in y’alls Foxhole when an attack comes from the enemy?

Professor Sowell is well suited to be a card-carrying Obsolete RINO Intellectual for the following Sowell Rules of Battle:
* Always retreat when given the rare opportunity to inflict major harmful attrition on an enemy;
* Never defend any Principles that involve the defense of the US Constitution;
* Always put Political Party above Country;
* Never challenge a bluff in a battle;
* Never attempt to refute any lie that the enemy promotes against you;
* Always assume that the only way possible for a victory is to have control of the House, Senate and Presidency;
* Never attack the enemy first, always stay on friendly defense.
* Wait for the exact moment when it is obvious to the Left Stream Media, and even the most timid RINO that winning is a certainty.,vacations and weather permitting.
_____________________

Sowell’s analogy to Dunkirk leaves out - - - “the rest of the story.”

England had a Warrior in Churchhill who could motivate men to follow him into the Gates of Hell.

Churchhill spoke often about fighting in the fields, and never, Ever, EVER, GIVE UP!

Okay Sowell: Who is the Churchill Warrior among the Obsolete RINO troops that believe what you write?

———————————————————— . Thought so!
_____________________

Sowell mentioned that the English citizens risked their lives to rescue the Remnants of the British Army stranded at Dunkirk.

Okay Sowell: We, the internet FREEPERS, risk our lives every we describe on the internet the REALITY of the current Communist takeover of our Republic.

Yes, RISK! We FReepers KNOW that every word we type is recorded by the NSA, distributed to Holder’s FBI, the IRS, the TSA, Pentagon, the ATF, the Data files of the Democrat Party, certain Foreign Governments, and the CIA.

You, Thomas Sowell, need not fear the “knock on the door’ by the various armed forces of Communist Obamanation.

You need not fear because you have chosen to play by the rules imposed on you by the enemy. You and the RINOs are equivalent to the Vinchy French when France fell to Hitler.

Would you, Thomas Sowell have even bothered to get out of bed when Paul Revere rode by shouting “The British are coming!” ?

My guess is that you would have said “The British are the mightiest Military force in the World. This a fight that we can’t win. We are doomed to lose everything.”

The battle we fight to save our Republic from the Jackboot heel of Communism has proven to be of no concern to the RINO Wing of the Republican Party.

The RINOs, including yourself, foolishly assume that there will be a future election held that will reward the cowardly RINOs by voting them back in. We did that in 2012 and now the RINOs are fighting us. Fine! BRING IT!

Why should we vote in cowardly RINOs who will not fight Communism?

The RINOs had 5 YEARS to plan an effect attack, and failed.

Now it is our turn, and we will fight you and elected RINOs FIRST, as y’all have proven to be traitors in the Battle against Communist Obamanation.

Our votes will come from Americans who in one Minute have gotten out of bed, grabbed clothes, ammunition and muskets, and then assembled on The Village Green as America shifts up into second gear Cruz Control for November, 2014.

DONT TREAD ON ME


8 posted on 02/21/2014 7:37:53 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Wrong lesson from Dunkirk: The British Expeditionary force did not surrender, they retreated. The equivalent for the Senate would have been to prevent the vote.

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

9 posted on 02/21/2014 7:38:09 AM PST by stormhill
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To: SeekAndFind
Sorry, Mr. Sowell. There are some battles that, like Thermopylae, like Bunker Hill, like the Alamo, like Dunkirk, simply must be fought.

"...these young men, going forth every morn to guard their native land and all that we stand for, holding in their hands these instruments of colossal and shattering power, of whom it may be said that

Every morn brought forth a noble chance And every chance brought forth a noble knight,

deserve our gratitude, as do all the brave men who, in so many ways and on so many occasions, are ready, and continue ready to give life and all for their native land."

"...we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,..." - Winston Churchill

10 posted on 02/21/2014 7:38:35 AM PST by Paine in the Neck (Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor)
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To: SeekAndFind

As I recall, the Alamo, which they knew they’d lose, bought time to form an army and eventually defeat Santa Anna.


11 posted on 02/21/2014 7:39:08 AM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: Gaffer

Leaving the GOPe alone and allowing them to lead the fight against Obamacare and the Dems is like letting Vichy France lead the Allied effort to defeat Hitler.


12 posted on 02/21/2014 7:39:19 AM PST by Sideshow Bob
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To: SeekAndFind

Many people on this believe in an all or nothing purity test. I will be flamed without mercy for observing an actually undeniable truth. The best outcome we can hope for this November and in 2016 is a mixed victory. I hope every TEA Party candidate running wins and wins big but if they can’t get through the primary process we have to hold our noses and vote for the GOP. I hate it but there is no reasonable way to deny it. There will likely be a SCOTUS nomination for the senate to deal with and a democrat senate will be a disaster for nine of the first ten amendments.

This matter must be handled by grown-ups. The rest of you can flame away.


13 posted on 02/21/2014 7:39:23 AM PST by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: SeekAndFind; All
Devastating rebuttal to this latest hit piece on Cruz by Sowell:

What the heck is going on with Thomas Sowell?

14 posted on 02/21/2014 7:39:32 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: skeeter

The theme here is that the Republicans cannot defeat Obama and the Democrats.

Therefore, they should retreat and not oppose the President’s agenda.

Why is it that the Republicans are always the ones who must retreat, give in and cave?

This is a strategy for losers.


15 posted on 02/21/2014 7:40:22 AM PST by Oak Grove (H)
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To: Sideshow Bob

So it seems. It also is becoming rapidly apparent that THOMAS SOWELL is their “Baghdad Bob.”


16 posted on 02/21/2014 7:40:25 AM PST by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: Azeem

Someone needs to explain the difference between tactical and strategic victory to Mr Sowell. Very often tactical defeats have turned into strategic advances, and vice versa.


17 posted on 02/21/2014 7:40:43 AM PST by skeeter
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To: SeekAndFind

Is Sowell now a race pimp?


18 posted on 02/21/2014 7:41:12 AM PST by Lisbon1940
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To: grobdriver; All

The visible tree is the one we see,
Here rotten, there broken,
And all racked by age.
The few live limbs poke through,
Poke through tattered tent flaps,
Here and there - - - - .

The deep fertile soil sustains,
Sustains the strong the tree roots
That are now silent,
Waiting for Spring to come.

This Winter is the time for pruning,
Pruning with great care,
To dig out all the rotten wood,
And cut off dead limbs
Long past use.

Who will come to prune and save,
This Grand Old Republican Tree?
The dying tree cannot prune itself,
Thus, it is up to you and me.


19 posted on 02/21/2014 7:41:25 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Wonder if Mr. Sowell has ever heard of the Battle of Leningrad.


20 posted on 02/21/2014 7:42:11 AM PST by PAR35
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To: Gen.Blather

The GOPe and their THOMAS SOWELL apologists aren’t into the politics of principle; they are into “what’s the least thing I can do and still maintain my featherbed.”


21 posted on 02/21/2014 7:42:22 AM PST by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: Timber Rattler; jenk

Jenk is a Michigan FReeper.


22 posted on 02/21/2014 7:42:37 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind
Instead, hundreds of British civilians headed for Dunkirk in their fishing boats, recreational craft, and practically anything else that would float.

GREAT ANALOGY!!!

Ted Cruz knows he cannot depend on establishment GOP members to have his back.

He needs us, citizens of the Republic, to stand up and help him in this battle against bigger government.

Bump To The Top

23 posted on 02/21/2014 7:44:21 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thomas Sowell is 83. Perhaps dementia and some money under the table has something to do with this.


24 posted on 02/21/2014 7:44:21 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Gen.Blather

Battles of attrition lead to winning a WAR.

As Senator Cruz says: “You lose 100 % of the battles that you do not fight.”


25 posted on 02/21/2014 7:44:43 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: muir_redwoods

If the GOP did not support Obama and the Democrats you would be correct.

What Sowell, Coulter, the WSJ and other establishment supporters fail to recognize is that with the House in republican majority, spending has gone up many trillions, and their blaming Obama is just not adequate.

There simply is no difference between the GOP and the dems in any practical way.

supporting them is just silly


26 posted on 02/21/2014 7:45:17 AM PST by stanne
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To: SeekAndFind

Thomas Sowell has sold out his integrity and conservative credentials to carry the water of the GOPe with his participation in this most recent ORCHESTRATED (see Anne Coulter et al) attack on Ted Cruz.

This most recent campaign is sputtering and unsuccessful and merely degrades the reputations of those carrying the GOPe water. Ted Cruz is handling all this BRILLIANTLY.


27 posted on 02/21/2014 7:46:36 AM PST by House Atreides
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To: Graewoulf

I think the 82nd at The Battle of the Bulge is a more appropriate comparison


28 posted on 02/21/2014 7:46:43 AM PST by grandpa jones (obama delenda est)
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To: SeekAndFind
The question here is what battle does Dr Sowell think we're fighting? What Sen. Cruz accomplished was exposing mcconnell, boehner and cornyn as spineless quislings for all to see. That is why mcconnell's career in the senate is OVER.

He's done.

In my view that's a victory even if a dhimmi wins that seat.

I'm tried of forever fighting a rearguard action; let's minimize our losses so we can surrender again tomorrow is not a rallying cry to our troups.

At some point we stand firm and say this far and no f!ckin' further!

29 posted on 02/21/2014 7:47:44 AM PST by Pietro
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To: SeekAndFind

Don’t worry about Cruz. If Mc Connell is Majority Leader next January, Senator Cruz might get a seat on the Public Sewer Committee.


30 posted on 02/21/2014 7:48:04 AM PST by Old Retired Army Guy
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To: grobdriver

I can see Mr. Sowell’s point but I get the queasy feeling that the GOP has no stomach for a fight, ever. What will be their excuse when the GOP holds both houses of Congress? That they still can’t win because Obama stands in the way? And then if a Republican is put in the WH in 2016 what will they say? That the Democrats are filibustering everything in the Senate and there is nothing they can do?

I just want to know WHEN will the time to fight come?


31 posted on 02/21/2014 7:48:37 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Haven't you lost enough freedoms? Support an end to the WOD now.)
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To: Pietro

Frtunately for Politicians, they don’t have to give up their life for their causes. If they did, most of them would run like hell.


32 posted on 02/21/2014 7:49:26 AM PST by Old Retired Army Guy
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To: SeekAndFind
What a silly article. I used to be a fan of Sowell, but now I've got to re-evaluate that position.

Sowell says that “Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.”

Wrong! Symbolism usually is worth it! If the GOP will not show why it is different from the democrats, why should anyone vote GOP?

And I do not consider Cruz's stance to be self-indulgent. It was done as a matter of principle. What I do consider to be self-indulgent is Sowell’s rambling attempt to teach us some sort of history lesson.

33 posted on 02/21/2014 7:49:44 AM PST by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thomas Sowell who I deeply respect is simply off his meds on this one.


34 posted on 02/21/2014 7:50:20 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thomas Sowell has jumped the shark, sad.

So we must have endless and increasing debt or else we will lose? That is the defeat. That is national bankruptcy. We are bankrupt, and the Senate voted to make us more bankrupt.

There is no reason to believe that the GOP, if it takes the Senate, is going to reverse the debt trend. The GOP helped bankrupt us.

Cruz is not trying get power for the GOP. He is trying to save our nation, and that means fighting all the time, not hiding. There is no English Channel and Royal Navy to protect us from going deeper into bankruptcy.

My only problem with Cruz is he appears to support an interventionist foreign policy, which would also make us more bankrupt and throw more lives away.


35 posted on 02/21/2014 7:51:23 AM PST by LowTaxesEqualsProsperity
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To: SeekAndFind

Official mascot of the Republican Party

36 posted on 02/21/2014 7:52:07 AM PST by McGruff (Every night has it's dawn.)
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To: Sideshow Bob
That is the perfect analogy! The GOPe is not like the British army retreating at Dunkirk. They are like the Vichy French, very willing to collaborate in return for table scraps.
37 posted on 02/21/2014 7:53:46 AM PST by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Well then, why are there ANY political battles? The DEMs battle often, when they are on the losing side.

This is politics, not war, not even litigation. Picking a side and vigourously advocating it, even if you KNOW you are going to lose, is not unusual at all, in politics.

38 posted on 02/21/2014 7:54:24 AM PST by Cboldt
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To: Blood of Tyrants
The GOPe wouldn't fight when they had both houses AND the white house.

Everyone needs to understand that this party just does not believe in the same thing we do - they have far more in common with the democrats.

39 posted on 02/21/2014 7:54:28 AM PST by skeeter
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To: SeekAndFind

re: You can’t afford to fight the battles you know you’ll lose.

BUT sometimes you NEED to fight those battles. I could argue there would not be a Ted Cruz without the losing Battle of the Alamo. A battle that did not have to be fought.


40 posted on 02/21/2014 7:54:58 AM PST by Tupelo (I am feeling more like Philip Nolan every day)
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To: Graewoulf

WOW! Absolutely GREAT post!!!


41 posted on 02/21/2014 7:58:06 AM PST by Aria ( 2008 & 2012 weren't elections - they were coup d'etats.)
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To: SeekAndFind

For a smart man, Thomas Sowell is making some pretty stupid assertions.


42 posted on 02/21/2014 7:58:12 AM PST by FrdmLvr ("WE ARE ALL OSAMA, 0BAMA!" al-Qaeda terrorists who breached the American compound in Benghazi)
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To: muir_redwoods
There will likely be a SCOTUS nomination for the senate to deal with

Since a SCOTUS nomination is a battle the GOPe can't win, what difference will it make who's in control?

Can you show any evidence Republicans have the fight in them to oppose the next communist nominated to the court? Keep in mind, they will be facing the real possibility of being called...{{shudder}}...RACIST! If Obama wanted to be really mean, he might even say Ni! Ni!

43 posted on 02/21/2014 7:58:50 AM PST by stormhill
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mark


44 posted on 02/21/2014 7:59:13 AM PST by Bigg Red (O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Ps 8)
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To: muir_redwoods

“we have to hold our noses and vote for the GOP.”

No, there are write-in candidates.


45 posted on 02/21/2014 7:59:13 AM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (What we need is to sucker the fedthugs into a "Tiananmen Square"-like incident on the National Mall!)
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To: skeeter

“Someone needs to explain the difference between tactical and strategic victory to Mr Sowell.”

The Battle Of The Coral Sea: A tactical tie.....a very big strategic win!


46 posted on 02/21/2014 8:01:31 AM PST by spel_grammer_an_punct_polise (What we need is to sucker the fedthugs into a "Tiananmen Square"-like incident on the National Mall!)
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To: Aria

Awwwwww, - - - - shucks - - - - - - - - - - - thanks.


47 posted on 02/21/2014 8:03:07 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: skeeter

Thom AS-Sowell, doesn’t like Gop who have balls, he likes them gelded.


48 posted on 02/21/2014 8:03:39 AM PST by Zenjitsuman (New Boss Nancy Pelosi)
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To: SeekAndFind

Tommy’s going to be defecating bricks when Cruz runs for President and wins.


49 posted on 02/21/2014 8:04:29 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Moslems reserve the right to behead anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: SeekAndFind
F*** Sowells rules of engagement! They have gotten us exactly where we are today, in a deep hole of S***

Cruz leads by example and is rallying the troops, us, while the chicken**** "leadership" leads by wringing their hands and sniveling and ATTACKING the TEA Party and Cruz!

Sowell is a cheerleader for the sniveling hand wringers.

F*** that, F***them and F***Sowell!

50 posted on 02/21/2014 8:05:03 AM PST by Manic_Episode (GOP = The Whig Party)
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