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Conservatives, let this be our Waterloo

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

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.”

North Korea, Honduras, Pakistan, Iran, Israel and Zimbabwe all have some sort of “crisis” according to recent articles in The Washington Post. Countries don’t just have problems or disputes any more. That’s not sensational enough to give Obama the support he needs.

It’s the same on the domestic front. Want to fix health care? Then MSNBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman talks about “America’s biggest health care crisis” in her new show. Want support for another outlandish stimulus bill to fend off the “economic crisis?” Then the networks promote pro-stimulus voices by a factor of more than 2-to-1. In all, the Post had more than 1,000 different Obama “crisis” stories since he took office just six months ago.

It’s part of the mainstream media campaign to keep Obama strong and help the Democrats give away enough spoils to secure permanent power. They are leading the charge against a largely leaderless conservative movement and hoping to turn our defeat into a rout. The theory is activists and voters will turn away and give up without direction.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Napoleon famously said, every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack. In other words, if the movement needs leaders, leaders will emerge.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are emboldened. They run the House and now have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate thanks to the addition of Sen. Al Franken (D-Looney Tunes) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Turncoat).

The Republicans and conservative Democrats need to be just as bold. One major victory and Obama’s momentum runs out of gas. Stop government takeover of healthcare, as conservatives did with Clinton, and the whole uber-left campaign grinds to a halt. With no bogus health reform, the even more bogus cap-and-trade bill could fail. If they fail, conservatives could muster support to stop a sell-out on immigration.

To win, conservatives have to be willing to fight and to learn a little history.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen each Thursday on’s “Strategy Room.”

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