Churchill was telling Stalin:
That is why I attach such paramount importance to good neighborly relations between a restored Poland and the Soviet Union. It was for the freedom and independence of Poland that Britain went into this war. The British feel a sense of moral responsibility to the Polish people, to their spiritual values. It is also important that Poland is a Catholic country. We cannot allow internal developments there to complicate our relations with the Vatican …
“How many divisions does the Pope of Rome have?” Stalin asked, suddenly interrupting Churchill’s line of reasoning.
Churchill stopped short. He had not expected such a question. After all, he was speaking about the moral influence of the Pope, not only in Poland, but, also, throughout the world. Once again, Stalin reaffirmed that he only respected force, and brought Churchill back down to Earth from the nebulous heavens.
You had to hand it to old Uncle Joe: cut to the chase. All business, all the time. But maybe the real question the Obama administration is asking itself now is not: “How many divisions has the Supreme Court?” Rather, it could be: “How much of this Obamacare money have we already promised to the boys? And what the hell are we going to do if it doesn’t go through?”
Administrations which are not very particular about spending money from the future in the today are probably the improvident sorts who hire people in advance.
Perhaps one answer to Blumenthal’s observation is to flip the statement:
An administration that can’t come up with the vig can lose an awful lot of support from the base real quick. The only reason people obey it is because they get a check in a brown envelope. And the administration risks grave damage if a promise of that magnitude and importance doesn’t come off, because people have already made down payments on cars and vacations in expectation of that commitment.
And by the way, the Soviet Union is gone, but there’s still a Poland. And last I heard, there was still a pope.