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Democratic Strategists in 2014 Are Like French Generals in 1940
Townhall.com ^ | March 18, 2014 | Michael Barone

Posted on 03/18/2014 10:22:30 AM PDT by Kaslin

It is reminiscent of the quandary faced by Gen. Maurice Gamelin on the evening of May 15, 1940. Suddenly he realized that German panzer troops had broken through the supposedly impassable Ardennes.

French troops to the north were cut off and rendered useless, troops to the south were falling back in disarray on all sides and no reserves were available between the front and Paris. "Yes," he told the prime minister, "it means the destruction of the French Army."

Now, analogies between military history and politics are never exact, and no one in American politics remotely resembles the Nazis. But there is some resemblance between the plight of Gen. Gamelin and the plight of Democratic strategists in key Senate and congressional races this year.

The general had run out of feasible alternatives. His one hope was that the other side would make a mistake. Alas, the Germans didn't, and a great nation was lost within a few days.

Today's Democrats face losing an election, not a nation, and the cause is Obamacare. They stand on ground of their own choosing, which they suddenly find themselves unable to defend, and they must hope that the opposition makes disabling mistakes.

That has been made starkly clear by Republican David Jolly's defeat of the better-known Democrat Alex Sink in the Florida-13 special election on March 11. The margin wasn't large, 49 percent to 47 percent, and the dropoff in Democratic vote not huge -- President Obama carried the district 50 percent to 49 percent in 2012.

What was more significant is that the well-financed, national party-selected Sink was unable to defend her ground.

Entirely missing from her campaign was a message along the lines of "hands off my Obamacare." You would have heard something like that if a Republican had advocated repealing Social Security or Medicare a year or two after these programs were passed.

But support for Obamacare has been under 50 percent since before it was passed. Democrats would be running ads showing happy Obamacare consumers if they could find any.

Instead they are fending off backlash from ads showing ordinary people who have lost the coverage they had and wanted to keep. Their spokesmen are getting into arguments with cancer patients -- arguments they can't really win.

The Sink campaign, blessed with a non-incumbent candidate who didn't actually vote for Obamacare, tried the national party's recommended "fix it" stance. As maverick blogger Mickey Kaus has pointed out, Sink's suggested fixes were thin gruel, but he suggests others that might be more attractive.

Some polls show "fix it" to be as popular as "repeal." But Republicans, including Jolly, have already been maneuvering around that, as the panzers maneuvered through the Ardennes, by coming out for "repeal and replace."

And congressional Republicans have come forward with intellectually serious and probably politically appealing "repeal and replace" alternatives.

Another alternative for a campaign on the defensive is to change the subject. But the Sink campaign did not see fit to stress themes the president has been voicing, addressing "income inequality" by raising the minimum wage or increasing overtime pay.

Those policies get wide approval in polls. But there's little evidence that they're important enough to voters to swing votes.

Instead, the Sink campaign trotted out traditional Democratic themes. Republicans would "privatize" Social Security. They would threaten Medicare.

But "hands off Social Security and Medicare" doesn't seem capable of gaining ground, even in Florida-13 with its large elderly population.

In 2012, Democrats hammered Rep. Paul Ryan's plans for Social Security. But by bringing the issue out in the open, they allowed Ryan to make clear, as his invariable first point, that he would change nothing for anyone over 55. Grandma remained unscarred.

On Medicare, it's not the Republicans but the Democrats who are cutting -- as part of Obamacare -- funding for Medicare Advantage plans. That may not scare Grandma, but it's not likely to make her vote Democratic. The Romney-Ryan ticket carried Florida's elderly.

Looking ahead, Democratic incumbents and candidates in seven states carried by Mitt Romney are running under 50 percent in polls. That's true also of Democrats in four 2012 presidential target states carried by Obama.

Obamacare leaves those Democrats in a position that resembles Gamelin's: They have no good alternatives.

Except to hope for mistakes by Republicans -- who have shown quite capable of mistakes in the past. We'll see how many they make this time.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: election2014; obamacare; republicanstrategy; specialelections

1 posted on 03/18/2014 10:22:30 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Speaking about income inequality a friend just got back from a month in Australia where they have a “living wage.” She reports a McDonald’s small burger, fry and soda is $10. She said the food was grossly overpriced. She survived on sandwich meat and bread. A steak such as we’d get here for $12-15 is $50. She said, “the irony is, so they’re making a living wage, but they have to live in a world where everything cost several times what it costs here. So how much did the gain from this living wage?”


2 posted on 03/18/2014 10:31:27 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: Kaslin

Dems’ Maginot Line is all the people getting gov’t checks.


3 posted on 03/18/2014 10:32:36 AM PDT by MUDDOG
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To: MUDDOG
Dems’ Maginot Line is all the people getting gov’t checks.

So how do the Republicans move into Belgium?

4 posted on 03/18/2014 10:33:26 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

Don’t deviate from the Schlieffen plan.


5 posted on 03/18/2014 10:37:43 AM PDT by MUDDOG
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To: dfwgator

They’ll have to annex the Sudetenland first.


6 posted on 03/18/2014 10:38:17 AM PDT by Noumenon (Resistance. Restoration. Retribution.)
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To: Kaslin

Fraud, fraud and more fraud is the Demon Rat plan.


7 posted on 03/18/2014 10:39:43 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper
They could never win without fraud
8 posted on 03/18/2014 10:43:29 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: dfwgator

The republicans are too busy recruiting the Mexican Amnesty Expeditionary Force to execute a counter attack against Field Marshall Cruz. Belgium will have to fall.


9 posted on 03/18/2014 10:45:11 AM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: MUDDOG

Don’t deviate from the Schlieffen plan.

“Only make the right wing strong!”, Schlieffen.


10 posted on 03/18/2014 10:49:53 AM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Kaslin

I recently saw a program about the German advance through Belgium in the early days of the war.

Some French generals including Charles de Gaul realized the Germans must have had very thin string of supply lines and if they could cut them, the Germans would be the ones stranded.

Unfortunately for the French, de Gaul did attack but the Germans fought so well that he was unable to break through what must have been a very thin line.


11 posted on 03/18/2014 11:06:19 AM PDT by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: Kaslin

12 posted on 03/18/2014 11:11:40 AM PDT by SnuffaBolshevik
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To: Kaslin
BREAKING NEWS: MSNBC and HuffoPo both have banner headlines:

MICHAEL BARONE CALLS REPUBLICANS "NAZIS!"

13 posted on 03/18/2014 11:20:20 AM PDT by ken5050 (I fear a world run by adults who were never spanked as kids and got trophies just for participating)
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To: Kaslin
Today's Democrats .... must hope that the opposition makes disabling mistakes.

Given the state of the Republican Party, that's likely a pretty good strategy.

14 posted on 03/18/2014 11:21:43 AM PDT by wbill
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To: ken5050

I am so sick of this Shiite.
Hey scumbag dems, Patton was a republican and he killed more Nazis thanaanyone.


15 posted on 03/18/2014 11:26:13 AM PDT by longfellow (Bill Maher, the 21st hijacker.)
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To: Kaslin

Headline reminds me of the one about the ad that read “French Firearm, lightly used, never fired, dropped once”


16 posted on 03/18/2014 11:47:15 AM PDT by bestintxas (Every time a RINO bites the dust a founding father gets his wings.)
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To: tet68
“Only make the right wing strong!”, Schlieffen.

Indeed!

17 posted on 03/18/2014 12:37:03 PM PDT by MUDDOG
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To: dfwgator
So how do the Republicans move into Belgium?

Move around them, using the historical analogy. If Romney was right about one thing, it's the large number of people that you can't even bother appealing to, because they're too committed to being wards of the state. Don't bother trying to curry favor with them, work on the ones footing the bill - we still are the majority, if barely.

18 posted on 03/18/2014 12:43:06 PM PDT by kevkrom (I'm not an unreasonable man... well, actually, I am. But hear me out anyway.)
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To: Gen.Blather
so they’re making a living wage, but they have to live in a world where everything cost several times what it costs here. So how much did the gain from this living wage?”

A proper 'living wage' would ratchet up each month to keep step with increased living costs.

LOL! Didn't an African country have something like that? Zimbabwe?

19 posted on 03/18/2014 4:50:57 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Over production, one of the top 5 worries for the American Farmer every year.)
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To: Kaslin
Except to hope for mistakes by Republicans -- who have shown quite capable of mistakes in the past. We'll see how many they make this time.

They have already made one. "Repeal and Replace". The people who hate Obamacare -- which is the majority of the population in every poll I have ever seen -- don't want the government in their health care. Replace? No. Not with more government.

20 posted on 03/18/2014 4:55:34 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Some people meet their heroes. I raised mine. Go Army.)
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To: Gen.Blather
Gen.Blather:" She reports a McDonald’s small burger, fry and soda is $10. She said the food was grossly overpriced...
She said, “the irony is, so they’re making a living wage, but they have to live in a world where everything cost several times what it costs here.
So how much did the gain from this living wage?”

My daughter , who works as a schoolteacher in Melbourne came home for Christmas, and her lugage was purposely loaded down with gifts for everyone stateside.
On the return trip, her luggage was loaded down with clothes , cosmetics, toothpaste, and female necessities
all of which was available stateside at less than 1/3 the Aussie "living wage" prices.
I can't even imagine what a challenge it would be to be on a "fixed income" there !!
Incidently , they put 'sliced beets' on all their hamburgers there in Oz ; what's with that ??

21 posted on 03/18/2014 6:33:10 PM PDT by Tilted Irish Kilt (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: Gen.Blather
Gen.Blather :" ..She said the food was grossly overpriced. "

My daughter has "zero expierience" at gardening, and she shares a three-person apartment with two other teachers.
The roomates are talking about putting in a garden for vegetables and herbs to cut their food costs ,
and supplement their diets with more veggies.
The expense of meat there , other than sheep , is almost cost prohibitive , so most of their diet is veggies and grains .

22 posted on 03/18/2014 6:40:44 PM PDT by Tilted Irish Kilt (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: MUDDOG

Not to belabor the point but that was the wrong war.


23 posted on 03/19/2014 10:19:03 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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