Monday, June 15, 2015

Um, Jeb, about that Battle

Jeb Bush is "rebooting" his presidential campaign after a rocky start:
The reshuffled campaign team is aiming to hone Mr. Bush’s abilities as a candidate while sharpening its tactics against Republican opponents. Mr. Bush’s new campaign manager, Danny Diaz, is widely known in Republican circles as a hard-edge operative who is driven by trying to dominate daily news coverage with his candidate’s message or his rivals’ weaknesses. . . . By hiring Mr. Diaz, Mr. Bush wanted to send a clear signal that “the culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents,” according to one Bush ally.
Pickett's Charge?

Why, I ask you, would anybody want to model his campaign that doomed endeavor? On that fateful day Lee sent 12,000 of his men to attack an well-prepared enemy who was waiting for exactly the maneuver Lee was attempting; in fact when they saw the Confederates coming some Union defenders cheered. The attackers suffered 50% casualties, and the whole battle was such a disaster that the Confederates never regained any strategic initiative.

I could perhaps see an angry insurgent with no real chance of winning embracing this rhetoric -- Pat Buchanan, say, or Rick Santorum. But even Ted Cruz rates his own chances as higher than Pickett's. And why would a self-proclaimed front-runner do it?

Maybe Hillary should respond with a March to the Sea campaign, or an Operation Overlord. . . .

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

I imagine it's not about the soundness of the actual tactic, and more about the "gumption" and the "bravery" and the "Southernness" some see it as embodying.

Lee was an interesting figure - complicated, flawed, deeply principled, highly charismatic. I myself have a profound respect for the man and agree with a number of things he said in his lifetime, while disagreeing entirely with others.

But there are some, particularly in the South, who hold Lee in an obsessive reverential light - treating him almost as a sort of messiah, replete with a catastrophic final defeat and subsequent martyrdom.

To some, Pickett's Charge is emblematic not of completely unsound military judgement, but of a heroic and honorable last stand in the name of all that is right and good, in the face of certain inevitable defeat against a tyrannical and overpowering foe. It is Jesus going to the cross after taking his last supper, serenely accepting his unavoidable fate.

While this might strike you or I as patently absurd, to many "Southrons" and "Dixielanders" it is the equivalent of Bush claiming to possess the Mandate of Heaven. The logic is that he shares the true righteous Southern values and principles, and thus he can only be defeated if voters turn "Judas", betraying both him and all Southerners.

Hey, no one ever said you had to be sane to vote - or to run for president, for that matter. If you're a US citizen of the appropriate age who isn't a felon, go for it!