The new rules for political advancement

In every conflict the aggressor makes the rules. If the other side tries to play by rules that depend on morality, ethics, principles or values the aggressor who does not share those values may see an opportunity to use one’s ethics and good faith against it. If the aggressor’s only principle is winning the other side’s moral and ethical values give the aggressor an opportunity to gain the upper hand.

The use of poison gas by Germany in World War I constituted war crimes as its use violated the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which prohibited the use of “poison or poisoned weapons” in warfare.

The commander of II CorpsLieutenant General Sir Charles Ferguson, said of gas:

It is a cowardly form of warfare which does not commend itself to me or other English soldiers … We cannot win this war unless we kill or incapacitate more of our enemies than they do of us, and if this can only be done by our copying the enemy in his choice of weapons, we must not refuse to do so.

England and France responded with their own gas attacks on the Germans. To have done otherwise, to have followed the rules of war established by the Hague conventions would have been the ethically principled thing to do. It would also have been the foolish thing to do. Had England and France stuck by their principles and followed the rules of war the November, 1918 Armistice would likely not have happened.  As it was, WW I did not end with a clear win nor a clear defeat for either side.  It ended simply because both sides were exhausted. If England and France had refused to play by Germany’s rules they would both have suffered even greater war casualties and Germany would likely have continued the fight until victory.  The world might look much different today if that had occurred.

The modern practice of politics in America is similar in that one side cheats and the other side tries to maintain its highfalutin principles. In politics the “go along to get along” strategy is a disaster for the party who does it.  The good showing of the Republican party in off-year elections have not occurred in the much higher voter turn out of presidential elections.  To change that they need to learn to play by the Democrats’ rules.

It’s Time For Conservatives to Play By the New Rules by Kurt Schlichter is a parody of how Democrats play politics. It’s a good read. Conservatives and the Republican party cannot simply gas their political opponents (although Democrats would surely gas them if they could), but they need to adopt similar tactics and strategies if they want to extend their electoral victories to presidential elections.  They would have to fight the media in order to do that, but merely putting up the fight would benefit not only the Republicans but all Americans of good faith.

Just one example of Republicans trying to play fair will demonstrate their folly. Obamacare would not be with us today if Democrats had played by the rules of the Senate. The election of Scott Brown from Massachusetts gave the Republicans 41 Senators, enough to filibuster Obamacare and prevent it from becoming law. Democrats responded by coming up with a trick to get around the Senate filibuster rules, and passed Obamacare with less that the required 60 votes.  In other words, they cheated.

Republicans don’t have to cheat to repeal Obamacare. Since it was passed by a simple majority it can be repealed by a simple majority.  But Republicans are sticking by their principles and claim that they will not repeal Obamacare unless they have enough votes to overcome a filibuster.  Their highfalutin adherence to principle simply makes them look silly.  And stupid.  One suspects they simply don’t want to repeal Obamacare.  Or they are afraid to.

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