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A Tale of Two Republics. Why Policy is Too Important to Leave to Politicians?

Two republics exist side by side in parallel universes. The Republic of Confusia and the Republic of Practica. Coincidentally both republics suffered a grievous massacre of civilians on a certain day in September.

The Story of Confusi

Confusia is the most powerful nation on earth. Its military, political and economic muscle influences nations far and wide. The source of Confusia’s power is wrongly understood to be due to the fortuitous circumstances of its geography. Confusia is in fact endowed with a large land mass, although it is not the largest nation on the earth.

It has bountiful natural resources, although it does not dominate commerce in raw materials for any one product. Unlike many other nations, Confusia’s relative isolation has protected its population and assets from the depredations of warfare.

When Confusia was attacked its citizens rallied in defense of the nation. Old political grievances were put aside to assure the citizens that their government officials would work together to both defend the nation and smite their attackers. Given the immense military power of Confusia, the contest with the attackers was not much of a contest.

While Confusia was united in its defense, there remained strong under currents of factionalism on domestic issues. Confusia had enjoyed many record years of economic growth but lately the economy had stalled and begun to shrink. Millions of Confusians had lost their jobs, companies were going bankrupt and the stock market, a reflection of Confusian optimism about the future, had fallen. Confusia’s national budget, recently in surplus, had fallen into deficit because unemployed citizens and businesses that fail don’t pay taxes.

The President of Confusia called for a meeting with the leader of the opposition. All the key leaders of both factions were present and they released a joint statement of common national goals.

The citizenry took much heart from this list of national goals. Even the unemployed were heartened that the government would make the return of economic growth the chief domestic priority of the nation. Both leaders stated that while they might differ on the details of how these goals would be met, with a set of common goals as a guideline, they could negotiate in good faith to address these problems.

Upon returning to his office, the chief of the opposition consulted with his advisors and peers. After many hours of discussion and debate he produced a to do list for the members of his faction. This action plan was never published but a copy did leak to the press.

The President and I have agreed on a set of common national goals. These goals are sensible and will do much to fulfill our obligations to those who elected us. The following items are the outline of how we will go about achieving them.

Enhance Defense Forces

The President has requested a substantial increase in defense spending for next year. While the public is likely to approve of this course of action we must ensure that those funds do not threaten our domestic priorities. If we fail to deliver on domestic programs the supporters of our faction may very well lose their enthusiasm for our cause. I have assigned several of our senior leaders the job of creating an alternative defense bill that will give the appearance of increasing national defense while retaining the balance of funds for social programs.

The attack on our nation was a complete surprise. It is clear that our intelligence community and law enforcement failed spectacularly. It is critical that we examine in detail the cause and effect of this attack. But, we must be careful of how this investigation is conducted. Much of the blame for this failure could be laid at the door of our faction, which controlled the executive branch for the last 8 years. There is also a subsidiary issue, the spectacular bankruptcy of the Energy Corporation, which has close ties to our opponents and the President. This presents us with an opportunity to dominate the headlines with numerous investigations. While it is clear to me that the President and his administration have done nothing wrong, we can and should place before the public the idea that this situation has all the appearances of corruption. So I am assigning the chairman of the intelligence committee to conduct an investigation but giving him the mission to ensure it does not overshadow our domestic investigations.

Hunting Down our Attackers

In the absence of a conclusive end to the war we must make every effort minimize the President’s association in the public’s mind with the current successes overseas. I will take the lead on this by emphasizing the importance of coordinated action with our allies. Caution and the cover of international law will be our watchwords. Our most important goal is to deprive the President of any further military victories, which might give his party an edge in the upcoming election. By stressing the dissatisfaction of our allies, I hope to begin to create in the minds of the public the idea that the President is an unconstrained leader who is embarking on a path of permanent war at the expense of international good will.

Restore Economic Growth

The quickest way to damage the President is to undermine public confidence in his ability to promote growth in the economy. The President’s recovery program emphasizes tax cuts. Reducing government revenues will have two dramatic effects on our faction. First, it is likely to result in an improvement in the economy and while we could share the credit as some advised, it is better for our faction if the public is disillusioned come November. Second, and of long range importance, reducing the amount of taxes collected impinges on our ability to satisfy the demand of our supporters. If we can not provide any financial benefits to our supporters, they will turn elsewhere for satisfaction.

We can do this under cover of fiscal responsibility. The public has been conditioned to fear "deficits". Although this fear has no basis in reality by continuing to repeat this mantra we can maintain the big lie. We must also focus our efforts and energies on discrediting the policies that led to the collapse of the Energy Company. Any opportunity to tie the President, his staff or his faction to this collapse will highlight our commitment to the average voter.

In addition to these strategies, we must also pursue issues that test well with the public. The public has been persuaded that politics is corrupted by money. We must pass a bill that protects our positions but gives the illusion of reform. Everyone is for reform and the details don’t matter much. The average voter has no idea how complex the system is and we can hire all the legal talent we need to bring our activities to meet the "letter" of any law we pass.

Never forget, our goal is to win control of the legislature.

What Next?

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