My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Of Bad Cycles and Star Trek 

Long time readers of this blog (both of them) know that, in spite of my veneer of pure logic, I do have a few "trivial" enjoyments in my life--one of them is Star Trek. And it is from Star Trek that I take tonight's lesson.

In the second movie, officer trainees are presented with a scenario in which the standing protocol for dealing with a distress signal overrides any consideration of the immediate safety of their "ship". Eventually, the ship is destroyed, and all its crew killed. It's called the "Kobiashi Maru" Scenario, and it became shorthand for "no-win situation" in the Star Trek lexicon. It was a test of character, not of strategy or command.

Unfortunately, as I look ahead five months, I'm looking at the GOP's prospects as a "Kobiashi Maru." The face of the Party, as of right now, is a man alternately mocked and hated by a very large percentage of the population; the signature policy of the face of the party--pre-emptive war--has been dismissed by most of the public, thanks in no small measure to bungling by the civilian leadership; the Party brand is in a shambles, as demonstrated by the poll from last week that showed generic candidates with conservative positions outpoll gereric "Republicans" by something like 20 points. On top of that they are faced with an energized Democratic Party, who will, no doubt, coalesce around their candidate in the Fall and campaign with a spirit and an energy--and a bankroll--that could swamp the Republican efforts. Even on the level of recruiting local candidates, the GOP is woeful (the candidate in my Congressional district, which was drawn by a judge to be as balanced as possible and was won in its first two elections by Bob Beauprez (R), described himself as a "sacrificial lamb" at the county convention. As if our current Representative (D Ed Perlmutter) was invincible, in spite of two years of VERY little achievement legislatively)!

And then Arlen Specter pulls one of his remarkably insightful moves by calling for a Congressional inquiry into "SpyGate." Sadly, what the public sees--and has seen for four years now--is a Party able to muster up the gumption to intervene on Terry Schiavo's behalf and investigate professional sports, but that can't quite get their arms around balancing a budget, ensuring that FEMA does its job, or securing our border. What the public sees is what the Republicans have become: a Party of perks, entrenchment and incompetence.

And so November 2008 begins to look like the Kobiashi Maru.

In the Star Trek series, only one candidate ever beat the Kobiashi Maru--James T Kirk (of course). He did it by sneaking into the simulator the night before the test and changing the parameters of the test--he escaped the "no-win scenario" by cheating.

Got a commendation for original thinking, too.


If the status quo remains, essentially, the same as it is right now, there is virtually NO WAY that Republicans avoid getting killed in the Fall. John McCain? He's practically a symbol of the system that created this scenario--he's not going to change anything. House Leadership? Not likely, after rolling over on a bad farm bill this week, they look dead in the water.

Somebody's got to change the test, or November is going to be sad. I don't know if that will be bloggers (like how Powerline changed 2004 with the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth), or a dynamic vice presidential pick--somebody nobody expects.

But I'm really hoping that somebody comes up with something, and fast.

I'm not sure the national GOP can take any more "character lessons" like the one we got handed in 2006.

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