Dana Milbank, the liberal columnist for the Washington Post, expressed astonishment in an October 17, 2013 piece that Senator Ted Cruz had refused to admit defeat in the recently concluded government shutdown fight. Calling Cruz a “sore loser” Milbank wrote:
“The amount of wreckage Cruz has caused in such a short time is truly awe-inspiring. He has damaged his party, hurt the economy, lowered the nation’s standing and set back the conservative cause. But appearing at the Capitol on Wednesday morning, he wore a broad smile as reporters and cameras surrounded him to learn what further mayhem he was planning.”
If Milbank were history literate he would have recognize an analogy, dating back to the Battle of the Wilderness, fought in May, 1864. It was General Ulysses S. Grant’s first major battle as commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. The battle ended inconclusively, though the federal loses were astonishing at nearly 18,000 casualties. Every other time a Union Army had its nose bloodied in Northern Virginia, it has elected to retreat to lick its wounds and try again some other time.
Grant, according to the History Channel, had other ideas.
“Despite the costly nature of the battle, Grant refused to order a retreat, having promised Lincoln that regardless of the outcome, he would not halt his army's advance.
“That night, exhausted Federal troops left their trenches and began marching south, toward the lower edge of the Wilderness. As Grant came riding to the head of the troops, the blue-coated soldiers slowly realized they were not in retreat (as had been assumed), and broke into wild cheering.”
Cruz is politics’ version of General Grant, relentless, confident in ultimate victory, and unflinching. When General Lee was informed that Grant has continuing to advance despite to shellacking he had gotten at the Wilderness, he realized that he was facing a different kind of Union general. Milbank should realize that in Cruz the left is facing a different kind of Republican.