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The Logic of the Alamo

Of course, the date has changed to Obama's disadvantage. Bill Clinton won in part because his vision of expansive government was far more marketable in the years of prosperity and recent defeat of the Soviet Union. If there was ever a time to close the government-funded health deal, it should have been while America was in the spending mood.

Indeed, Hillary tried it in 1993. In the light of her performance at the State Department, it is easy to understand why she failed. If anybody could bungle a "reset button," she could.

Despite the president's weakness, the prospect of politically going all-out against the president must be a daunting one for a GOP party grown habituated to the sure thing. Challenging the Left -- even after six years of miserable failure -- is something the Republican leadership would prefer to avoid.

However, the truth is that all roads are now fraught with peril for the GOP. Circumstances have combined to do two things: put Obamacare at the center of the national stage where they cannot ignore it, and openly divide the Republican Party's public response to it.

The GOP is a troop of two cavalry platoons which have rushed off in a direction 90 degrees from the remaining base platoon, and in the presence of the enemy. Should their captain maintain his majestic but solitary advance, or go haring after the rest of the men? They must unite to be a viable force. If the GOP apparatchiks do not crush Cruz completely, they must bring him and his followers enthusiastically back into the fold. Nothing less will do, otherwise they will reach the 2014 battlefield split.

Not following Cruz's lead now is arguably just as dangerous as following him. Which of these two perils to accept -- since risk is now unavoidable -- is the problem to be solved. How they will do it is anybody's guess.

The GOP may never make a decision over whether to stand or fly before Obamacare. Decisions often occur by default. It seems appropriate (since Cruz is a Texan) to recall that the decision to defend the Alamo occurred mostly by accident. Nobody planned it. Sam Houston actually wanted to evacuate the Alamo and to redeploy the artillery and forces there elsewhere. A series of misunderstandings between commanders left the garrison there until Santa Ana's army appeared, and then it became a question of fight or run. Conscious strategy had little to do with it.

The unplanned battle became the fulcrum of events. Yet it did not do so in and of itself. What ultimately made the Alamo a victory was the existence of the "afterwards" in the form of forces and rearrangements that nobody, not Travis nor Bowie nor Crockett, could predict. It could have turned out to be completely different. We remember the Alamo today because the cards played out in such a way as to give it imperishable meaning. But without San Jacinto or Santa Ana's incompetence, the Alamo would probably not be remembered much, if at all, today.

That is pretty much the problem with history: you never know how things will work out ahead of time, an inconvenient but unavoidable fact. GK Chesterton once called the future a society constructed by “the democracy of the dead,” a circumstance in which lies are perhaps our last cause for hope, since posterity is probably the only thing we can espouse without personal interest in which there is no moral hazard. What we do for the future, if we do at all, we do for love.

Nothing else makes sense.

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The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

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