Perhaps the most insightful piece of satire ever written was that line in Spaceballs where Dark Helmet taunts Lone Star during their climactic duel in the bowels of MegaMaid. “Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.”
It came to mind as I considered analysis from Allahpundit regarding Senator Ted Cruz’s latest scheme to rally support around an impossible issue. You’ll recall last year’s pointless “defund strategy” that served only to fundraise and grow mailing lists. In a similarly quixotic move, Cruz now seeks a constitutional amendment to “defend marriage,” in spite of the fact that nothing of the kind could possibly get passed or be ratified.
But that’s beside the point of this post. What I found most instructive in Allahpundit’s piece was this blurb about the strategic mindset of the Left:
In practice, of course, the amendment is going nowhere: Democratic legislators in Congress and at the state level aren’t going to jeopardize the judicial momentum towards legalized gay marriage, even if Cruz’s idea would put more power in their own hands. (Look how many liberals in Congress are happy to let Obama grab legislative power in the name of enacting a policy they like.) Lefties are highly results-oriented on this issue and right now they’re getting the result they want. They won’t mess with that, especially if it means endorsing an idea proposed by Ted Cruz.
In a nutshell, that’s why the Left always wins. They don’t care about the means. They don’t care about the process. They only care about the results.
There’s a lesson in that for Republicans and the broader potential coalition of folks who believe in the Constitution. While the ends may not always justify the means, we need to learn to be more strategic in our approach to both electoral politics and the craft of governing. Of particular relevance during this election season is the effect of third-party candidates and wedge issues on the Right.
The worst product of the Tea Party movement, and I say this as someone active in it consistently since it began in 2009, has been a myopic focus on the ideology of particular candidates without consideration of the context in which they are running. For instance, in my state of Minnesota, it has become fashionable to object to the Republican candidacy of Mike McFadden for U.S. Senate because he’s a moderate. Nevermind that Minnesota is a decisively blue state. Nevermind that the failure to elect Mike McFadden will effectively re-elect Al Franken. Nevermind that the same intransigence in 2008 regarding then Republican candidate Norm Coleman resulted in Franken’s first election, providing the 60th vote for Obamacare. None of that matters, because “principles” or something.
Call me crazy. But my principles call for achieving the best possible result.
(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 15:05 minutes long; 14.54 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)