Dan Gainor

Nearly 200 years ago, emperor Napoleon came back from exile and re-conquered France without firing a shot. His conquest of Europe failed when Napoleon, in proper English terms, was soundly thrashed at Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington.

Napoleon might be long gone, but President Obama is doing his best to fill his boots. Sure, he’s taller, and instead of hiding his hand in his shirt, it’s either in our pockets or signing bills and spending money. But his aims are very similar – power and control. Just as the French army was Napoleon’s personal guard, Obama’s followers resemble more of a personality cult than a political party. If he wins, ordinary citizens lose and government grows ever larger.

In the years since Napoleon I lost at Waterloo, that battle became the metaphor for epic defeat. Today, conservatives avoid that kind of major confrontation with the popular Obama for fear of being crushed and sent into political exile. Rather than risk losing, phony conservatives are helping Obama by voting for his massive increases in government.

That’s entirely the wrong strategy. If Waterloo was a major defeat, it was also a major victory. That battle should have taught us that even a man who conquered much of Europe can be defeated. For every Napoleon, there is a Wellington who goes down in history as an epic winner.

This isn’t just one battle. The modern battlefield is healthcare or cap-and-tax or immigration. The issues change rapidly as the president tries to keep his opponents off balance, but the tactics remain the same. Every new campaign overlaps the last, dividing Obama’s enemies and their resources. Stimulus. Cap-and-tax. Healthcare. Attack, attack, attack.

It lacks military precision, but it’s definitely more military campaign than political one. The Obama strategy is one of using each “crisis” to his benefit. A quick search of the White House Web site finds 530 separate mentions of “crisis.” They’ve got an “economic crisis,” a “financial crisis,” a “home mortgage crisis,” a “flooding” crisis, an “international financial crisis,” a couple of “humanitarian” crises and even a “potential environmental crisis” in Australia.

As Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Rather than call Obama on his “crisis” management, manipulating the news, the media uses the term more than he does. In the past few months, journalists have added an air of immediacy to Obama’s every action by linking it to a perceived “crisis.”


Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.