Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tactics of Mistake
Gordon Dickson wrote a Science Fiction novel called Tactics of Mistake. The title is used to describe a military tactic (supposedly lifted/borrowed from fencing for the purpose of the novel) which seeks to use a series of small feints or skirmishes to cumulatively draw an opponent into overreaching or over-committing through the mistaken impression that your side is in a disadvantaged position.
Of course, like any good gaming tactic, it can be applied in other situations. I suspect this may be the case with this so-called rejection of the almost-certain-to-be-nominee for the Repubs, Sen. McCain because of his failure to meet "true" Conservative standards.
Exactly how this is of benefit to the Repubs is difficult to gauge. And that's why it's called tactics of mistake: You never see it coming until the trap is sprung, until you are already completely and irrevocably committed to a wrong course of action.
For example, Dems might get a positive thrill/charge from this seeming dissension among the Conservative ranks. If they believe it to be real, they might become overconfident of the contest ahead. They might assume that there is no significant support for their nominal opponent and thus commit to focusing on the wrong areas for the election. They might be blindsided by a totally unexpected surge and unity on the Right.
Just a thought.