Thursday, November 06, 2008

Playing To Win

You can't help but like a guy who can compare moderate Republicans with Brad Childress:

What the Squish faction is calling for should be familiar to everyone who remembers the pre-Reagan Rockefeller Republicans: a Democrat Lite option designed to appeal primarily to those who generally favor an amount of government intervention but fear the Democrats have gone too far.

This is the political version of Brad Childress's coaching strategy, with which every despairing Vikings fan is all too familiar. Try to keep it close, don't take any risks or make any mistakes, just stay in the game and hope that your opponent makes a mistake towards the end that will let you steal a victory. In football, this strategy will win the occasional game, but it never wins the Super Bowl.

Not only will it not help you win the big game, it's boring to watch! Denny Green never managed to win the big game either, but at least his teams were trying to win, not trying not to lose (well, at least most of the time).

Well over a year ago, I concluded that the Democrats were likely to win the White House no matter who their candidate was. Had there been a legitimate solidly conservative Republican candidate available in the primaries (no e-mails from Ron Paul supporters please), I would have gladly hitched my wagon to that campaign and would have enjoyed going down to defeat with principals intact a la Goldwater in '64 (a defeat which--as George Will explains today--could have been constructive instead of sterile).

But with no such option available, we had to opt for playing it safe with McCain and hoping that the Dems would fumble it away. The problem with such an approach is not only does it rarely succeed (as Vox points out), but even when it does there isn't that much upside.