“The effort to defund ObamaCare has failed. It was my hope that we could fight this law, which marks a new level of government control over our lives, and defeat it before it was implemented. I was wrong to think that we could get this done at this time and in this way, but I will never stop fighting until the goal of repealing this law is finally achieved.” — Ted Cruz, September 29, 2013, on the failure to defund ObamaCare.
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duly could do. If any blame or fault is attached to the attempt it is mine alone.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, July 5, 1944, on the failed D-Day invasion.
“Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. . . . Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts. For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.” — Richard M. Nixon, July 21, 1969, after confirmation of the deaths of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon.
As we contemplate the fight to defund ObamaCare, the prospect of failure weighs heavily on Republicans’ hearts. The question on many people’s minds is: if we fail, what will that mean for Republicans’ election prospects?
Perhaps the better question is: if we fail, what will that mean for freedom?
Men have faced the prospect of failure before, in embarking on undertakings whose prospects for success seem obvious now, with the virtue of hindsight.
Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a message in his own hand that he was prepared to deliver in July 1944 if it became clear that D-Day had not been successful. The message, quoted above, shows that Eisenhower knew there was no certainty that we would win the day in Normandy — something that had to weigh heavily on his mind given the catastrophe of the Battle of Dieppe, the previous attempt at an invasion of the European mainland.
William Safire drafted a speech, excepted above, for Richard Nixon to deliver in the event that humanity’s first attempt to have men walk on the Moon was a disastrous failure. Given the deaths of Gus Grissom, Edward White II, and Roger Chaffee in Apollo 1, success certainly did not seem assured — and as students of the landing know, there were many points where everything could have gone (and almost did go) disastrously wrong.
I hope Ted Cruz does not have to deliver the short address I have written above, but he might.
Any time we embark on any worthwhile fight, we must consider the possibility of failure.
But we must also not allow the possibility to frighten us into not trying in the first place.