Patterico's Pontifications

2/22/2014

Sowell on Cruz, Part III: Forget the Alamo!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:45 pm

Thomas Sowell has a new column in National Review Online that essentially serves as the third entry in his trilogy about the terrible threat that Ted Cruz’s integrity poses to the establishment Republican Party. I covered Parts One and Two in previous posts (my response to Part One and my response to Part Two).

In Part One, Sowell furnished readers with a rambling and nonspecific criticism of Cruz, which ended with a whispered acknowledgement that, well, OK, establishment Republicans seem to lack principles nowadays. In Part Two, Sowell criticized Cruz for jeopardizing Republicans’ electoral prospects, but then (schizophrenically) Sowell chronicled why Republicans don’t deserve to be elected. In my post in response, I expressed hope that Sowell was starting to see the light.

I was wrong. Sowell’s latest piece doubles down against Cruz, arguing that one does not fight unwinnable battles in a war:

In a war, you do not fight battles that you are certain to lose, if only because you will need your troops to fight later in battles you can win. The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France, and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime.

In politics, as in war, you need power to win, and you don’t dissipate your forces fighting battles that you are sure to lose. Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.

I have three words for Thomas Sowell:

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!!!

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Above: Thomas Sowell has forgotten

Tomorrow marks the 178th anniversary of the beginning of the siege of the Alamo. Every Texas schoolchild knows the apocryphal story wherein William Travis drew a line in the dirt and gave his men a choice: turn tail and run, or step across the line to indicate a willingness to stay and fight. The story goes that Jim Bowie (of “Bowie knife” fame) was sick in a cot, and asked other men to carry his cot across the line, to show he was ready to do battle.

Whether that particular story is true or not, the fact remains that Bowie, Travis, Davy Crockett, and almost 180 other brave souls fought to the death at the Alamo, killing 400-600 of Santa Anna’s soldiers in the process. The battle was “lost” — but it was the turning point in the war. Santa Anna thought that the massacre would keep Texans from fighting back, but it had the opposite effect. Men joined Sam Houston’s army in droves. At the decisive battle, the Battle of San Jacinto, Texan soldiers, were heard to cry: “Remember the Alamo!”

Thomas Sowell has forgotten what so many Texans remember, and will never forget.

It seems fitting that many of the folks on this site who intuitively understand how Sowell is getting this wrong are Texans. (The rest of you can be honorary Texans!) Indeed, it is especially fitting that the primary target of Sowell’s broadside is the junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz.

Even battles that end in victory sometimes look daunting before the fighting is joined. I had the privilege of visiting the D-Day beaches last summer, and I can tell you this: anyone who thought the Allies knew this plan was certain to succeed simply does not know the history. A previous attempt to invade the continent had ended in disaster, and poor weather could easily have turned the second attempt into a similar slaughter and Nazi victory.

The men who stormed the beaches at Normandy did not know that they would live, and they did not know that their side would prevail. They knew only one thing: this battle was necessary. And so, they fought it.

We’re at a turning point in this country. It is painfully obvious that we can’t continue on the present course, or anything like it, without facing certain financial disaster. Careful tinkering, fretting about polling, and handwringing concern about how voters will react to the slightest show of courage — that is the way of the estalishment Republicans, and it will not get the job done. We need men who are willing to fight to save this country, even if it means risk to themselves.

Ted Cruz is drawing a line in the dirt. I am stepping over it. Thomas Sowell is staying put. Whose side will you be on?


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