Toward the end of the 1964 Cold War nightmare of a film Fail-Safe, the American Strategic Air Command is working directly with their Soviet counterparts to bring down two remaining Vindicator bombers that have been mistakenly dispatched to bomb Moscow due to a failed circuit in the fail-safe device.
The American General Bogan is giving the position of the bombers to the Soviet General Nevsky over the phone linking SAC with the Russian defense headquarters. He tells the Russian that they can ignore the lead plane because it only contains defensive countermeasures and no bombs. Concentrate on getting the other plane, Bogan tells Nevsky.
But Nevsky says, “Thank you General Bogan. We shall go for the kill anyway.”
On the status board, dozens of Soviet planes converge on the unarmed American bomber while Bogan screams into the phone: “I tell you, it doesn’t carry any bombs. You don’t have to worry about it!”
Too late — the movement of Soviet aircraft has created a perfect corridor for the nuclear armed bomber to slip through and, thanks to the inexplicable decision by the Soviet general, it will definitely be able to hit Moscow.
The Soviet general went for the kill rather than victory and paid the price for it. One gets a similar feeling when examining what has become of the tea party movement and its effect on Republican chances to win in November.
In politics, there is victory and there is defeat. Nothing else matters. If one wishes to pretend otherwise, the victors will disabuse those so enamored of such fantasies in short order. The raw exercise of power in a democracy demands a majority won through the ballot box. If you come up a little short, no one will pat you on the back for trying your best. You’re either on the outs or you’re in — a cold calculation that seems to have been lost on those who believe elections are about something else besides winning and losing.
The tea party folk are on cloud nine this week following several victories on Tuesday night. And why not? They took a fatally flawed candidate in Delaware — a deadbeat who stopped paying her mortgage, a tax dodge, a radical, out-of-the-mainstream social conservative — and elevated her to the status of fiscal warrior and Constitutional saint, defeating a flawed (but not half as blemished) moderately liberal Republican who almost certainly would have waltzed to victory in November.
Jeri Thompson is telling us that Christine O’Donnell is like Sarah Palin and just needs GOP “establishment” support to win in November. She will need considerably more than that, including one of those neuralizers from Men in Black to flash the entire population of Delaware and make them forget some of the loonier things O’Donnell has said about sex, about Vince Foster, and about her own financial history about which she has lied and lied again.