March 17th was more than just St. Patrick’s Day. Little known outside of Boston, and probably not well remembered in the city thanks to public education, March 17th is Evacuation Day. In 1776, the newly appointed General George Washington took command of the army near Boston. The city was then under siege from the British. The Crown decided to crush the heart of the American Revolution by starving Boston. Washington was sent to do something about it.
A large monument atop Dorchester Heights commemorates just what he did. The heights overlook all of Boston harbor including the fortress, which still stands, that guards it. Using cannons captured from the British at Fort Ticonderoga in New York, Washington overnight constructed battlements on Dorchester Heights and pointed the cannons at every British ship in Boston harbor. Seeking to avoid another very costly battle, like the recent Bunker Hill, General Howe ended the 11-month siege and abandoned Boston. Washington saved Boston and did so with an ironic secret. Howe feared losing his ships from the cannons, or many of his men trying to push Washington off the heights. While the fight would have been bloody, the ships were safe. Washington had the seventy odd cannons but he did not have gunpowder to fire a single shot. It was all a huge bluff.
March saw another huge bluff, this one political. There was more than one actually, the first started before the health care reform vote. Pundits and the Speaker consistently put out the message that they had the votes to pass the bills. In the beginning, this was a bluff. If the votes were there this would have been passed sooner. But the bluff and message was designed to push people into voting Pelosi’s way. It accompanied back room deals and threats. It worked. Health care was pushed through. The second big liberal bluff echoes from the media. It is that Obama has his presidency reborn.
The Financial Times, just one of many, has an extensive analysis piece on how this healthcare victory has put him back in charge of everything political. This is another bluff. The president is gloating, daring Republicans to try to repeal his version of healthcare. But if it was a victory, it was a very costly one. A third of his presidency is gone, devoted to one issue. Foreign policy is a mess. Brazil gets billions of taxpayer dollars so Brazil can drill for oil off its shores. Brazil returns the favor by hosting the president of Iran and unrelated, slapping trade tariffs on US goods. The only reliable ally in the Middle East is treated with contempt for simply believing Obama will live up to the written promise Israel received that the US will support Israel at the 1967 borders (which includes all of Jerusalem)in return for unilateral territory concessions. Russia slapped Secretary of State Clinton in the face by telling her to her face that they are going ahead with giving nuclear reactors to Iran. And our closest ally, England, gets thrown under the bus yet again when Argentina complains to Hillary that the UK should not drill for oil in the Falkland Islands. England stated for years the status of the Falklands is not up for discussion. Hillary states publicly that the UK should sit down and talk about things with Argentina before the issue got too hot. She only made things worse, only to calm down later by Argentina not talking anymore. Domestically, issues such as financial reform, immigration reform and the economy have been ignored.
Massachusetts pays the highest healthcare premiums in the nation. That is not going to change. The President’s confusion between cost and price will also not change, but he has the control of healthcare. The gloating is a necessary bluff. It is to quell opposition and keep liberals from resting on their laurels. Next up is immigration amnesty. If the same opposition and fight against healthcare arises against immigration “reform” then the left is in for another two years of struggle. With only eight months until Election Day, the President has to act as if he is on a roll. The bluff is that the healthcare fight did not cost him. He is now back on his game so no one can stop him. The president is not reborn, but that is the lie.
General Howe retreated from Boston without a fight because he did not want to repeat the Battle of Bunker Hill. Howe won that fight, but lost more than a third of his men in doing so. After Bunker Hill (the fight was actually on the nearby Breed’s Hill but that name apparently does not ring to history) Howe had to recommend to the crown that to hold America would require a massive army. Obama has to live the bluff in order to give him the chance to push the rest of his agenda. Will the President, like General Howe, calm down and rethink the next fight, or will he push on despite all possible losses? Has anyone told Obama the apocryphal quote attributed to Howe (or artistic license) after Bunker Hill that, “Many more such victories and we will lose the war”?