Parthian Shot

Despite the fact that the Democrats are reported to have lost the 2014 mid-term elections, the papers are almost give the impression it was the Republicans who lost.  “How the Tea Party lost the 2014 midterms,” says Jon Terbush in the Week.  “The Tea Party has completely…ruined the Republican Party,” according to author Jon Huntsman.


But even if the Republicans have dared to win this time they will be punished for their insolence soon. Alex Seitz-Wald at MSNBC says that for the true believers “2016 starts now”. David Schanzer and Jay Sullivan argued in the New York Times shortly before the polls began that it would be better to cancel the mid-terms, which are an anachronism. “The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president, the only government official (other than the powerless vice president) elected by the entire nation.”

Brian Beutler at the New Republic says the 2014 takeaway for for Obama is ‘no more Mr. Nice Guy’.

Citing administration officials, Politico reports that “Obama’s political and policy teams are planning a big counterattack if the Republicans win the Senate—introducing a slate of legislative proposals and executive actions on immigration, infrastructure and early childhood education that are popular with the Democratic base and that he will dare the GOP to oppose.”

But now that those pesky, useless elections have happened, then fire the Parthian Shot. That’s pretty much what Katrina vanden Heuvel is urging the president to do. “The Democrats Lost Big Tonight. Why Obama Should Double Down”.  Here’s what she says:

The president should go big right now, undertaking a quick series of high-profile executive actions on issues that the Republican House has not acted upon, and will never pass. President Obama should be very visible, with photo ops and speeches and social media and grassroots backup and appearances on Between Two Ferns, moving hard and fast from one executive action to the next….

Start with serious immigration reform…

Cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline …

Meet with China and India on climate issues …

Host a national teach-in …

Go up to the edge of normalizing relations with Cuba …

Nominate a diverse set of progressives to fill every judicial vacancy at every level


Maybe the better term is Scorched Earth: “a military strategy which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area.” Nuke America from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. The mid-terms must have been a giant conspiracy, not a defeat. Peter Baker of the New York Times reports the administration believes that if only the local candidates hadn’t held the president back, he would have swept the field:

But that was not the way Mr. Obama saw it. The electoral map was stacked against him, he argued, making Democrats underdogs from the start. And his own party kept him off the trail, meaning he never really got the chance to make his case. “You’re in the Final Four,” as one aide put it, “and you’re on the bench with a walking boot and you don’t get to play.”

Never mind. The Guardian believes that even with the Republicans able to obstruct domestic policy, there’s still time for Obama to change the world. “Obama set to focus rest of term on foreign policy after elections setback.”

Obama’s biggest hope for his foreign policy legacy is Iran. He came into office pledging to seek a diplomatic deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, an approach that contrasted with the warlike rhetoric of the Bush administration.

Even though the American public may have temporarily jumped off the Obama wagon, “the world” is still roped in for the duration, which means that Obama can still leave a global ‘legacy’. Like Katrina says, its double down all the way. Have faith ye doubters. Have faith.


Maybe double-down is not what’s going to happen, but its what some people feel like doing: the puissant progressive thing that, just you wait and see, everyone will love when it comes out.

Perhaps the truest assessment of the election from the conservative point of view was by Roger Simon. “Hooray for the Wave: Now Forget It … there’s no time to celebrate. We almost lost our country. There’s no time to lose getting it back.”  It’s worth a try but there are some ideas which would rather rule in hell than live in the commonplace light of day.

What though the field be lost?
All is not Lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And the courage never to submit or yield.

Power above all: and for some, nothing else matters.  They will tell you what to do.  They will create a paradise and it is mandatory for everyone to be in it. Unfortunately, history has to live with such people.  You can’t nuke them from orbit without destroying yourself. The dark is the flip side of  the light. You can’t have one without the other.

Back in 2012 I wrote that conservatives disappointed in Obama’s re-election should express their defiance by succeeding; in  making their fields flourish and workshops productive.  The advice may hold as true for electoral victory as for defeat. The Left you will always have with you.  You just have to outbuild them. Make the most of each day. As the late Michael Crichton pointed out, whatever the schemes of the controllers, “life will find a way”.


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