Former NFL coach of the NY Jets Herm Edwards uttered the words “You play to win the game” at a press conference in response to a question about the Jets playing “not to lose” rather than aggressively playing to win. The Edwards quote is funny in the way he says it but playing to win is not as obvious as his quote makes it seem.
In sports, there are some teams or individuals who play aggressively, trying to force their opponents into mistakes while risking mistakes themselves. Other teams don’t take chances, playing less aggressively while waiting for a mistake from their opponents that they can pounce on. Some teams try to outsmart their opponents, some use gimmicks while others try to physically intimidate.
One strategy is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on the personnel of the team and the personnel of its opponent, as well as weather conditions and other considerations. One thing is clear in sports – you find your own strength and your opponent’s weakness and try to maximize your strengths while exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses.
In U.S. politics, one of the biggest strengths of democrats vs. republicans is that the democrats get to frame the rules of the debate. This is helped by a media that is mostly made up of democrats. There are narratives and cliché’s that are accepted as absolute truths such as: The rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Republicans are the party of the rich and corporations while democrats are the party of the working class. Democrats care about the elderly, minorities, children, women, gays, transgender people and the physically handicapped while republicans care about the religious right and gun fanatics. Democrats are thoughtful, thinking people while republicans are back woods people ready to support war and killing in the name of blind patriotism.
Republicans need to attack these clichés at their core before they can go into specific debates about policy. As long as republicans are portrayed in this way, they will not be successful. The worst part of these clichés is that the republicans often lend credibility to the stereotypes by trying to put themselves above other republicans.
For example, when republicans use a term such as “compassionate conservatism”, they lend legitimacy to the idea that most conservatives are not compassionate. Instead of a candidate saying that as an individual, he is a compassionate conservative, the candidate needs to say that conservatism, itself, is compassionate. The candidate needs to be able to display how and why conservatism is compassionate. Before conservatives and republicans can become the political force they need to be, they have to change the take on who they are perceived to be.
Republicans are afraid to defend anything that took place during the Bush administration and that continues to be used against them. Some political strategists, no doubt making a lot of money and being experts in their field, have decided that the past is the past and that political debates must be based on a vision of the future. But when your vision of the future is consistently compared to what you have done in the past you are put in a position where you HAVE to defend the past whether you want to or not.
An honest analysis of what took place during the Bush administration would show that Bush and the republicans were the only ones who saw the impending disaster of Freddie and Fannie, along with the housing market collapse. There are democrat politicians from Barney Frank and Andrew Cuomo to Barack Obama, himself, actually on tape saying that Freddie and Fannie were not in trouble. They are on tape saying they wanted to continue the course of sub-prime loans. These are the same sub-prime loans that were the driving force behind the economic collapse.
The republicans know the complete playbook of democrats. It’s class warfare, lying about actual facts, and portraying the republicans as mean. There is no ingenuity behind that playbook. The republicans know that an 85 mile per hour straight fastball is coming straight down the center of the plate belt high but they refuse to hit it! Since they are already being sold to the public as mean, republicans are careful not to hit the ball too hard because then they might be perceived as even more mean! Yet people would respect and like republicans more if they fought for their issues rather than ran away from them.
When Barack Obama states “But I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking” -- or when Obama says that republicans have driven the car into the ditch and he is trying to get the car out -- or when he says about republicans that “they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back”. All of these comments are based on the assumption that the Bush administration, the republican congress and the republican senate created the economic mess the U.S. is in.
When the entire strategy of the democrats is based on the idea that Bush and republicans “drove the bus into a ditch” then it is incumbent on the republicans to show that they were screaming to stop the bus while the democrats kept driving. In fact, there is a rumor that while the bus was speeding toward the cliff, it was stopped by a traffic cop but when the officer asked for a license and registration, Barack Obama chided him for being extreme. Apparently the officer let the bus go after Obama showed him an old learner’s permit from the state of Hawaii.
Obama was recently caught off camera by CBS and said “Go at it” in referring to republicans attempt to repeal his health care plan. If Obama wants a fight, the republicans should give him one. Start by isolating the lies constantly being told by the left and then attack the motivation for saying the lies, as well as the substance of the lies themselves. It can’t get done through the media and must come in a “mano a mano” challenge directly to Obama. Obama will get angry and will try to hide it by his signature smile. Nevertheless, if he is really challenged, he will come across as bitter and vengeful.
A quick word about the “Birther” issue – a friend recently applied for a job at a large financial firm. He had to provide: Proof of citizenship, A full college transcript, Allow the company to do a full credit check, Show documentation and proof of all residences for the last ten years, Copies of passport and drivers license, Get a drug test. Why does a person applying for a job at a financial institution need to show more proof than the person who has the most powerful position on earth?
The President works for the people and we have a right, actually an obligation, to make sure that he is who he says he is. In fact, we know he has a large collection of friends (too numerous to name here) who have anti-American sentiments. Is it unreasonable to ask to see what he wrote during his informative years in college, especially given who his friends are? Every other president has released his transcripts, why not Obama?
As to the birth certificate, if it has been lost then say so and tell us why. Obama has spent about 2 million dollars fighting lawsuits that want him to simply show the birth certificate. He clearly does not want to show this document. Maybe he is a citizen and maybe he isn’t but he clearly seems to be hiding something.
George Bush had about 10 minutes unaccounted for from his service in the National Guard and every media company in the world tried to find out what went on in those 10 minutes. Now we have a president who hasn’t released his medical records, college transcript and writings, and birth certificate. Where is the media curiosity? Republicans need to (pardon the expression) grow a set on this one and simply demand that Obama release these documents as all other presidents have done.
The republicans have to fight on their terms. Despite an antagonistic media, there is no need for trick plays. All republicans have to do is toss the ball down the field and they will win. There is no need to take a call on a cell phone in the middle of a news conference. Leave this kind of idiocy to the democrats. Are you listening Rudy Giuliani? Don’t insult the intelligence of the citizens of this country with silly games. State your case honestly and without fear, with humor if possible but not with gimmicks. Play to win the game.