Asymmetrical political warfare
Asked Aug 31, 2009, 10:28 AM
At Tom's suggestion, I am going to create a new thread based on something that we were talking about in the Sara Palin thread.
The question was asked by NeedKarma:
To which I responded as follows:
Originally Posted by NeedKarma
Tom followed up with the following post:
Originally Posted by ETWolverine
NK made some comments about "corporatism" which really don't apply to this conversation, because... well, there's no connection between the "grass roots movement" we're seeing on the right and corporatism. NK is just spouting off a Liberal talking point that he learned watching some cable TV show. But the fact that he tried to use that talking point in response to what Tom and I posted makes it fairly clear that he doesn't even understand what "corporatism" means, and was simply posting to sound off. So I'm just going to ignore it.
Originally Posted by tomder55
But the point is that we are seeing something here that we have never seen before... the political version of "assymetrical warfare".
Asymmetrical warfare is when you are fighting a war against a non-traditional, non-government enemy like a group of terrorists. In traditional (symetrical) warfare, when you defeat the military or take out the enemy's leadership, or conquer the land of the enemy, the war is over. The line between defeat and victory is very stark and very clearly defined.
In "assymetrical warfare" there is no land to conquer, there is no political leadership to defeat, there is no "army" to beat. That is the difficulty with fighting against terrorism. There are ways to do it, but "victory" cannot be defined by vanquishing the enemy armies or conquering his land.
What we are seeing in American politics from Conservatives right now is the political version of asymmetrical warfare.
NeedKarma CORRECTLY pointed out that right now the leadership of the Republican Party is in a shambles. There is no single, outspoken leader of the GOP. The political machine within the GOP is broken right now. It is a mixed-up situation, with half the GOP leadership saying that the GOP should moderate their positions, and the other half saying that they should become more staunch in their conservatism. And neither of these two factions has managed to reign in the party. In effect, the GOP HAS NO LEADERSHIP RIGHT NOW.
Instead, what we are seeing is the rise of the grass-roots of the Conservative movement (which is separate from the Republican Party). We are seeing leadership pop up in local neighborhoods, small towns and medium-sized cities. We are seeing the people organize themselves rather than wait for instructions from the GOP leadership. The Tea Parties, for all that the DNC tries to laugh them off, are a major grass roots movement that is getting conservatives and right-leaning-moderates involved in the political process in a way that we have never seen before... at least not in my experience.
It is easy to win a political battle when you can make the opposition leadership look bad. It's easy to beat the GOP if you make Bush, Cheney, McCain and Romney look like a bunch of kooks.
But how do you beat a movement that has no national-level leader, and that is organized at the local level? EVEN IF you manage to make one particular leader in one city look bad, the leaders in other cities will continue to organize in their locale. It's like trying to fight terrorist cells instead of fighting a cohesive army.
No, I'm not trying to say that the Conservative Movement is being run like a bunch of terrorists. But it is seeing a shift to asymmetrical warfare. And that shift is a HUGE CHANGE from politics of the past.
Can it work? I don't know if it is enough to win elections, though I would suspect that it might be. But what it CAN do is help shift the political momentum of the country. It can help shift POLICY in the country. And the DNC hasn't been able to figure out a way to stop it yet.
Asymmetrical political warfare.
Something new for the poli-sci types to contemplate.