Thursday, June 25, 2009

Defense Does Not Win Elections

I’ve been a football fan for about as long as I can remember. And for about the same time, I’ve heard certain mindless experts drone on with various clichés, one of which drives me absolutely batshit: Defense wins championships. Man, I hate that cliché.

Where am I going with this? Well, just bear with me, it has relevance to our goal of sticking it to liberals, but the digression is necessary.

Anyway, as long as I’ve been a football fan, I’ve been a fan of the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams. And therein lies the root of my hatred for that stupid cliché. Consider this paragraph from about Rams Hall of Fame end Jack Youngblood, from a 2001 issue of Pro Football Weekly:

Consider this: From 1970 through 1979, the Rams’ defense allowed the fewest rushing yards, allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns, allowed the fewest total yards and allowed the fewest points while amassing the most sacks. That is not for just one year but for the entire decade, and Jack Youngblood was the cornerstone of that Ray Malavasi-coached odd-man-approach defense. Those feats are even more impressive when you consider that during that decade, defensive units with names like Steel Curtain, Doomsday Defense, No-Name Defense, Purple People Eaters, Orange Crush and Sack Pack were roaming the NFL.

If you have been a football fan as long as me, the situation is becoming a little bit clearer. For all of those impressive statistics – made even more impressive in light of the other great defenses of that era – the Rams never once won a championship during that decade. Not once.

Now consider the Rams team that did win a championship, the 1999 St. Louis Rams. While they had an above average defense, it wasn’t that unit that got them over the top. No, what got them over the top was an offense that was dynamic, explosive, dangerous against even the best competition and one that absolutely and without mercy crushed the life out of lesser opposition.

So here’s the hook – just as a good offense is required in football, the same is true in politics and in winning elections. Maybe even moreso. And even when you play defense in politics, you can’t be defensive.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the election. We have heard all kinds of advice from our supposed betters – David Frum, David Brooks, Rod Dreher, Peggy Noonan, blah blah freakin blah – that Republicans need to “change their tone.” Rush Limbaugh states the obvious when he says he want Obama to fail, and a bunch of so-called conservatives like the ones just mentioned proceed to wet their moderate man panties. Mark Levin says something indelicate to a caller and Conor Friesendorf gets upset because Levin was a big mean poopy-head.

No, instead these guys immediately want to assume the fetal position (or the bent over position), as they start lecturing us knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodytes (in their view), telling us we need to moderate our conservative views. We need to move more towards the left, we need to be more liberal to get more voters. Frum tells us we need to accept a carbon tax, Colin Powell tells us we need to embrace more government in our lives, Ross Douthat writes a book where he advises Republicans to embrace wage subsidies. And don’t get me even started on David Brooks, who’s so squishy he makes Sponge Bob look like a steel beam, or Peggy Noonan, who now sounds like nothing more than a substance-less, menopausal F. Scott Fitzgerald wannabe. Gag me.

The common thread of all of these squishes is that they think Republicans should only play defense. The think we should on good faith accept the premises of every left wing argument that comes down the pike. We need to kick out of our “big tent” the social conservatives, the fiscal conservatives, the defense conservatives … then who’s left? Not only do these squishes want to play defense, they want to take half the players off the field in their desperate hopes that the other team will like us more. And let someone like Rush, Levin, or Laura Ingraham go on the offense, and what do they do? Squeal like a stuck pig.

Well screw that, and screw playing defense. The Democrats didn’t regain power by playing defense, did they? No, they stayed on offense, attack, attack, attack. Yes, a lot of their attacks were unadulterated BS, but there were so many of them that some of them stuck. So while we were trying to play defense, they were busy playing offense, effectively so, and stealing the electorate right out from under our noses. Next on the list is our wallets and guns.

We need to stop listening to the squishes, the ones who think we can win elections by assuming a purely defensive posture. We need to go on offense, and we need to be aggressive. And lord knows, Obama and the Democrats are providing us with an extremely target rich environment. From deficits that dwarf anything that came out of the Bush years, to his weak-ass response to the situation in Iran, to a cap and trade economy killer, to the attempted socialization of health care, to the corruption behind the inspector general firings … you get the picture. Plenty of targets. Start shooting.

Now don’t get me wrong – we don’t need to be like the “Bush=Hitler” moonbats of the left. You do want to focus your aim on worthy targets. You don’t shoot at squirrels when you’re out hunting deer, now do you? However, as noted, the current environment is extremely target rich, and getting richer by the day.

As for defense? Well, yes, you have to play it sometimes, when it is necessary. One of the things that most drove me crazy about Bush is that he so often failed to defend himself against some of the most ridiculous charges. That failure gave many of those charges an undeserved credibility. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that the goal of defense, in football and politics, is to get off the field as quick as possible without the other team scoring. The goal is to get your team back on offense, in the attack mode.

All of which leads me full circle back to a football cliché that I like – the best defense is a good offense. It’s true in football, and even truer in politics.

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