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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/20/10

Governance Per Mac The Knife

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Stephen Pizzo
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It may have come as shock to my "Flower Power" generation, but human nature has changed very little since the beginning of recorded history. This is especially so when it comes to war and politics. Which is why Tzu Sun's 6th-century text, "The Art of War" is still required reading for military brass. And why Niccol├â ▓ Machiavelli's 14th-century leadership handbook, "The Prince" is as informative today to those who wish to govern as it was five centuries ago.

Now don't get me wrong. Both these guys were about as amoral as it gets. Neither was a fan of taking prisoners, either on the physical or political fields of battle. Still each man knew his enemies. They each understood something my Marine Corps drill instructor pounded into my head way back in 1965: "If you find yourself in a fight, remember this... there's no such thing as a fair-fight. There's only the fight you win or the fight you lose."

I only mention this because I'd like to suggest that President Obama, who I assume has read The Prince at sometime in his academic life, curl up with at Camp David for a brush up. Because he is in the hole he's in right now because he violated some of Machiavelli's (Mac The Knife's) prime-est of prime directives.

Here, let me get Barry started on this review; (Machiavelli quotes in bold)

"I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.

So far, so good. That's exactly, nearly word for word, what Barack promised us during the campaign.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

And again, spot on Big O. He's been telling us this for a year now, so we assumed he understood none of this would be easy which, as the old saying goes, also means, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."

The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.

Oops. Barry dropped that ball, hasn't he. Mac The Knife would never have missed the opportunity to strike when his enemy was at its weakest.

There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

Oops #2. Obama tried to avoid going "to war" with Republicans and conservative Dems, thereby allowing them time to unbraid him and his health care reforms and financial reforms. As Mac warned, "Tardiness robs us of opportunity," And so it came to pass, advantage the enemy.

Hence it is to be remarked that, in seizing a state, the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict, and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily; and thus by not unsettling men he will be able to reassure them, and win them to himself by benefits.

Yeah, well there we go. Obama had to know that he was going to have to step on a lot of powerful and sensitive toes in order to get his health and fiscal reforms passed. And he should have gotten about it the second he took the oath of office. He should have leveraged his "a new broom sweeps clean," momentum to get the bloodshed over with. Instead now he tarried, and now he's stuck doling out the all that pain in drips and drabs like pulling off a bandage real slow instead of fast. As a result he will be hated by more, for longer:

He who does otherwise (slowly,) either from timidity or evil advice, is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand; neither can he rely on his subjects, nor can they attach themselves to him, owing to their continued and repeated wrongs. For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavor of them may last longer.

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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