U.S. military academy football teams will play this weekend, despite the government shutdown.
A senior defense official said Wednesday the decision affects this weekend’s games only, and future games will be evaluated as events unfold. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Translation: Those idiots in the White House may not understand about football, but we do. Needless to say, you can guess how those future games will be “evaluated” – spoiler warning: football fans with an opinion on military academy games will not suddenly start changing their minds – but that leads to a larger point. To wit: this administration has the same kind of killer instinct that so infused the career of Confederate General Braxton Bragg.
Don’t know that one? OK, quick history lesson. Bragg was fighting Union General William Rosencrans down in Tennessee. Bragg, showing a flash of military talent that had not visible in his prior (or, indeed, latter) career, whipped Rosencrans at Chickamauga[*]. Rosencrans retreated to Chattanooga, Bragg followed, and then… did nothing at all. Aside from engaging in one of Bragg’s infamous rounds of blaming everybody except himself for everything. This eventually resulted in Bragg’s being replaced, and oh yeah, the latter battle of Chattanooga which utterly destroyed the Confederacy’s ability to wage offensive war in the West and set up Sherman’s March to the Sea.
So, yeah, I wasn’t exactly complimenting Barack Obama, there. But the truth is, the President seemed to think that all he had to do was shut down a bunch of popular attractions and past-times, and then wait for public outrage to do his work for him. This is the aforementioned “Washington Monument Syndrome,” and it can work… if you don’t cave, first. Yesterday, the White House caved on letting military veterans visit their WWII monument. They should have stuck it out… but they didn’t, not least because people (including myself) saw a weakness, played on that weakness, and made them decide that backing down was statesmanlike, or something. The football thing? I don’t have nearly as much inside knowledge on that, but it looks fairly clear to me that a lot of people – people who show up on donor lists – made some quiet calls to various other people in order to tell them that the games were going to go on as planned, so shut up and get out of the way.
And that’s the key. It’s stimulus/response with this administration. Raise a big enough stink about something being closed, and it’ll open. Now, the thing is, simply asking for something to be opened up won’t work: they’ll say no. But Barack Obama fears confrontation; that’s why he’s so blustery about it in arenas where he can control the conversation, and avoids arenas where he can’t. So put some skin in the game, with ‘skin’ being defined as ‘a whole bunch of people with cameras and maybe a reporter and DEFINITELY somebody who’ll look good in the nightly news,’ and you’ll get your favorite ostensibly-federally-controlled site back.
PS: Mind you, this is largely the President’s hangup. Democrats in Congress feel a good deal more insulated from public opinion, which is why Harry Reid thinks that he can safely get away with publicly declaring that he doesn’t care whether kids with cancer live, or die. Heck, Reid insulted Dana Bash for having the temerity of even asking What About The Children?, which gives you an idea of just how warm and cozy Senate Democrats are feeling right now.
PPS: Note, by the way, that just because the administration will be clinging to whatever excuse they come up with to justify their reversal on closing something (in this case, their ‘sudden’ realization that the games were paid for by outside sources anyway) the fact remains that when it comes to policy Barack Obama typically draws the graph first, then finds the data points that will fit. And if there’s any way that I can make that particular observation even more insulting, feel free to let me know.
[*Which, as I have been reminded in comments, is itself in Georgia. That I feel obligated to make sure that is explicitly conceded should give folks an idea of just how seriously people take the details of the American Civil War.]