“Defunding” Obamacare: Strategic Overreach

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Just last night we watched the Congress of the United States enact another last minute kick-the-can-down-the-road piece of legislation. Congress reopened the government — well the 17% of it that was closed — and extended the ability to borrow more money to pay for money that has been borrowed.

And in usual Congressional fashion, we will have to repeat this theater of the absurd by January 15th, 2014 for government funding, and February 7th (which just so happens to be my fifty-third birthday) for the debt ceiling. I assure you I won’t be adding that to my celebration.

Unfortunately, the American people lost in every way in this debacle. And worst of all, our children and grandchildren will have to shoulder this mountain of fiscal irresponsibility.

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As well, the Republican Party surfaced from this episode appearing even more disjointed and of course, weak. President Obama and the Democrats, although totally wrong in every way, somehow hold on to their popularity.


It all comes down to having the right strategy and tactics — which includes the ability to effectively communicate the message.

Now, I’m going to say something that will probably upset some folks, but it needs to be said. The efforts of Senators Cruz and Lee are wholeheartedly admirable and valiant and they should not be criticized for their strategy. But as I’m a student of military strategy and tactics, I must say their tactic of attempting to “defund” Obamacare reminded me of Operation Market Garden in September of 1944 during World War II.

Stay with me here — let’s go back in time, and I’ll show you what I mean.

Field Marshall Montgomery envisioned cutting off Germany’s industrial base and advancing across the Rhine in the north. It would require the successful seizure and holding of several key bridges over rivers and canals. British General Horrock’s XXX Corps was the primary ground force. The operation was, and still is, the largest airborne operation ever conducted. The mission of the airborne forces was to secure the series of bridges enabling the Armored Corps to punch through.

However, at Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered a stronger than anticipated German force. In actual fact, as a result of bad intelligence, they were dropped right on top of a German armored force.

Operation Market Garden was a brilliant concept and estimations were that it would end the war before winter.

But it failed on the tactical level. The Airborne Division was unable to secure the bridges to allow the Armored Corps to advance.

Just as Operation Market Garden depended upon coordination between Airborne and Armored forces, so did the Cruz-Lee strategy depend upon conservative and moderate GOP support to be successful – with the right tactics.

The Cruz-Lee attempt to completely defund Obamacare was a bridge too far.

Instead the focus should have been much more narrow, using President Obama’s own language of “delay” to support the delay of the individual mandate. Just as important, since the President is always talking about fairness, Cruz-Lee should have highlighted the “unfairness” of the administration granting thousands of waivers and exemptions, including for Congress and White House.

Now the GOP must be prepared for the enemy reaction, just as the Germans launched their Ardennes offensive after Operation Market Garden. The Democrats smell blood in the water and sense an opportunity to exploit a defeated GOP. President Obama and the Democrat strategy is obvious: divide and destroy the GOP in order to secure the House and Senate for the last two years of the Obama presidency.

For the GOP to be successful on this battlefield, it must have battle-hardened leaders. The party needs a tough intransigent like Brigadier General Anthony MacAuliffe, who even when surrounded at Bastogne refused to surrender. We need visionary leaders like Generals Eisenhower and Bradley. And lastly, the party needs an aggressive field commander like General George S. Patton.

My recommendation?

The Republican Party should have a weekend leadership retreat at the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania and learn a little about strategy and tactics. And I hope those strong warrior leaders will emerge — sooner rather than later.

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