I wanna be like Mike.......................
Wednesday, October 05, 2005Applying the Principles of War to Harriet Miers SCOTUS Nomination
MOOSEMUSS. Yes, MOOSEMUSS. That is what came to mind when the discussion amongst the right about the Harriet Miers nomination went into full tilt yesterday…MOOSEMUSS.
Hat tip to Mr. Atos for planting the seed with his Bangalore Torpedo piece, and after all the rancor yesterday, I thought, MOOSEMUSS.
I don’t buy the theory that in an instant, that the President, who incidentally, got the GWOT right, and the John Roberts nomination right, who has Dick Cheney as his VP and Condi Rice as his SOS…blew a gasket and has gotten this completely wrong. I thought…maybe …MOOSEMUSS.
I think that the President had many possible choices here, but I think he chose to be a bit more devious than he is being given credit for. I think he, as Mr. Atos points out, is taking this opportunity to covertly attack the leadership and structure of the Democrat base. Why do I think that? MOOSEMUSS.
MOOSEMUSS is the easily learned acronym that highlights the nine, generally accepted, Principles of War. Notice I didn’t say battle. Battle…a general encounter between armies, ships of war, or airplanes. War…a period of declared and open hostilities. For the uninitiated, fighting wars…protracted periods of combat, and fighting battles…encounters between warring forces, are two entirely different matters and require two entirely different schemes. One, war, requires strategic thinking, and battles, require tactical thinking. These are two entirely different operational levels.
So, when I think MOOSEMUSS, I am not considering the tactical, I am considering the strategic.
Let’s look at the Miers nomination and see if, somehow, the guy who got the GWOT, may also get the Principles of War, when it comes to waging a long term strategic campaign against the Democrats.
M – Mass – Concentrate Combat Power at decisive time and place.
I think the President gets it…this is not the time to force an all out fight with the Democrats…he is not willing to expend all of his political capital in order to push through a more controversial nomination. Let’s chip away until the mid-term election, but let’s don’t give them any additional ammo going into them.
O – Objective – Direct every military operation against a clearly defined, decisive and obtainable objective.
Again, this nomination, while important, is not the final conservative objective…I would view that as the ultimate emasculation of the Democrat Party to the point it is ineffective as an organization. This nomination is an intermediate objective, but not the final objective…no need to expend all of your ammo here.
O – Offensive – Seize, retain and exploit the initiative.
This nomination is a home run here. The Dems were obviously preparing for the worst…basically any other, very conservative judge, they were ready. They would have come out of the box on Monday morning with their canned offensive and dominated the evening news with their media blitz. The President, with this nomination, redefined the fight, put the Dems on defense, and is able to maintain the initiative, against the Democrat party for the foreseeable future. Harry Reid endorsing Miers, is a much a capitulation as it is an endorsement. The President put the Dems on their heels and took away their ammo…
S – Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time, a place and in a manner for which he is unprepared.
See above- Offensive. This move completely disarmed the Dems. They were immediately frozen, and have yet to get any traction on this issue, in any coherent way. This was achieved by coming across with a surprise nomination, not by attacking their prepared defenses.
E - Economy of Force – Allocate minimum combat power to secondary efforts
This is not to diminish the importance of this nomination, but clearly the President’s nominee will be confirmed with about zero political effort. This allows the President to maintain his momentum without getting bogged down with this nomination. Virtually no expenditure of political capital is required.
M – Maneuver - Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through flexible application of combat power.
Again, suffice it to say that the President did not charge into the Dems main defenses with a nominee that they were anticipating…he went widely around them and gained the offensive advantage as a result. In football terms, he’s off and running on a nifty end-around.
U - Unity of Command – For every objective, ensure unity of effort under on responsible commander.
In the end President Bush will be remembered for a lot of things, this nomination being one of them, but he has demonstrated an overt willingness to accept responsibility for his decisions and stick by them with confidence and certainty. This is what we ask of our leaders, and I see no reason why he should have abdicated responsibility for this choice to the far right, independent legal scholars, or the tooth fairy. In the end this is his choice to make, and all of the MMQBs should sit back and watch the start of the game before predicting gloom and doom. A committee’s choice on this one would have produced slightly different, but equally as contentious commentary.
S – Security – Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.
Without knowing the exact information the Dems had on the “A” list nominees, it would be impossible to know where the fight would head after the nomination was made public. By going to the “A-“ list, the President did not put himself in the position of losing control of the nomination unexpectedly. By surprising the Dems on this one, control of this nomination will remain in the hands of the Republicans.
S – Simplicity – Prepare clear, complicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure understanding.
An extremely simple plan that out maneuvered and out thought the Dems.
MOOSEMUSS corollary ... perfect can be the enemy of good enough.
In the end, pushing through the “perfect” conservative judge would have likely expended a tremendous amount of political capital…the President’s as well as that of many Senators. Isn’t this plan a bit more palatable in that light. We may still have considerable momentum going into the mid-term elections…remember this is not a single battle.
One last thought…how are the way-Lefties going to respond when the Supreme Court battles they anticipated never materialized, and the mainstream liberal leadership looks ineffective again? Fragmented? Discontented? Disorganized? Inept? I suggest that avoiding a battle here, and out maneuvering the Dems, will cause them more problems than Harriet Miers will ever cause conservative Republicans.
posted by Major Mike at 12:02 PM