14 February 2009

Emboldened Insurgents

So was there a secret meeting between minority party members wherein they decided to borrow language from the “War on Terror” in their mission to redefine themselves?

Last week, Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) announced that the GOP should model their tactics on the Taliban:

Insurgency we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban -- no, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their front line message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with. [L A Times]

Mr. Sessions didn’t elaborate on which of the Taliban’s methods—how “they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes”—he found particularly admirable. He added, however,

I think insurgency is a mindset and an attitude that we're going to have to search for and find ways to get our message out and to be prepared to see things for what they are, rather than trying to do something about them, I think what's happened is that the line was drawn in the sand.... We either work together, or we're going to find a way to get our message out.[L A Times]

So the point is to “disrupt,” “change a person’s entire process,” and “find ways to get [the] message out" instead of "trying to do something about them”? It’s true that the Republicans need to find diverse, and fresh, ways to get their message out, but if their goal is to “disrupt” rather than fix, doesn’t that make them—obstructionist?

It’s peculiar, as well that Representative Sessions chose the Taliban as a model of insurgency considering the Taliban’s reliance on violence and suppression to “get their message out,” and Mr. Sessions clearly didn’t equate with a GOP “insurgency” with violence, but, as MSNBC points out, there are certainly more valuable examples out there (e.g., Gandhi, the Boston Tea Party, etc.). You can't help but wonder if his public approbation of a Taliban-styled insurgency help to embolden them? Speaking of embolden: from Politico,

"When your opponent trips and falls on his face, it certainly emboldens the opponent," added Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) [of the Gregg withdrawal] "It certainly emboldens us," McHenry said.


Also, Saul Anuzis, who recently lost his campaign to become the new RNC chair, appeared at a Republican "Tech Summit" last week and offered this strange analogy (via Slate):
"Why do revolutionaries use Kalashnikovs?" he asks. "Because they won't jam. It's not the best gun, but you can throw it in the mud, pick it up, and it still works. This is a revolution."
So harnessing new technologies and developing new applications is equivalent to an assault rifle most often identified with the Red Army and terrorists? Yup. Insurgentizing all over the place.

But wait! Now they're insurgentizing each other:

March 01: It seems that two conservative California talk show hosts, John and Ken, have "launched a fatwa" against Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller. Miller's crime? He didn't call for the ouster of the Assembly's Republican leader, Mike Villines, who helped reach a compromise on California's "legislation to temporarily raise taxes to help solve the state's budget problem" (PE). Miller voted against the legislation, by the way, but apparently that wasn't good enough for the party purgers" the "fatwa"calls for a recal election to remove Miller from office.

March 16: John and Ken engaged in a bit of political theater to further their "fatwa." At a "tax revolt rally" this past weekend, and:

The raucous California tea party featured such dramatics as the spearing of a likeness of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's head, and the sledge-hammering of a pile of Schwarzenegger dolls, videos and movie memorabilia - even an action hero lunch box.

The radio hosts' "fatwas" target a handful of moderate GOP legislators who sided with Democrats to end the state budget impasse. Their calls to recall those lawmakers have reverberated throughout the Republican grassroots.

"It's becoming the fatwa party ... the Jon and Ken party," said Hoover Institution media fellow and GOP consultant Bill Whalen. (San Francsico Chronicle)

"Fun and games" aside, you've got to wonder if it is altogether wise to adopt the language of your enemy (e.g., terrorists) to target your own. Moreover, why are David Frum and David Brooks demonized for criticizing elements of the Republican Party, and these two men aren't?

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