"A Bridge Too Far"?

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  • Posted on: 9 November 2011
  • By: Aaron Barlow

Yesterday, after a year of battering by the forces assembled by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and funded by the likes of the Koch brothers, progressive America finally successfully fought back. But the victory is small, and will prove Pyrrhic (as 2008 victories have proven to be) if progressives feel they can now relax.

After all, the right sees this as simply a tactical defeat; their strategy remains intact. Ohio Governor John Kasich says "They [the people] might have said it was too much too soon."  His desire to curtail the unions, the defeat yesterday notwithstanding, remains firm.  The mistake, in his eyes, was in going for too much too fast. 

In Arizona, Russell Pearce, President of the State Senate, was recalled and replaced, but remained unapologetic: “If being recalled is the price for keeping my promises, then so be it.”  There is no reassessment of the agenda, here, and Pearce will probably struggle to regain his seat and his influence... and may succeed.

We took a breather after Obama was elected--and let the Tea Party walk all over us and "win" the 2010 elections.  This gave them (and the Republicans who cater to them) the illusion that they now control the agenda--the same illusion many of us on the left had cherished just a year earlier.  Now, with the muscle of the "Occupy" movement and these new victories at the ballot box, we may fall once again into that trap.

Let's not.  Let's understand that it took decades for ALEC to build up its base and its catalogue of candidates--and to amass funding sources adequate for it to force its will on the people.  We progressives have nothing that can match that, nothing but the people themselves--all the people can be lulled to sleep by the opiates fed them by the right.  It's our job to ensure that the people, now coming awake, remain awake through the 2012 election and beyond.

In World War II's Operation Market Garden, portrayed in the movie A Bridge Too Far, the Allied forces overreached.  The right, today, feels that victory is as assuredly theirs, quite as much as the Yanks and Brits did in late 1944.  The defeat of yesterday may have cost them, but it has not cost them the war.  They still feel they can and will win that.

We dare not forget that fact.