George Orwell said it best: “Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.”
I think of Orwell as one of the most astute political observers of the modern age. So if he is right, we can derive some strategic expectations. If the side that is winning appears invincible, there is no reason to only apply this to the losing side to tell them not to give up. That’s one important application, but we can say more.
If, “whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible,” there is no reason to think that the winning side sees their own power any differently. As often as not, The winning side will think they are invincible. Which brings us to another deduction: The winning side will tend to overreach.
Nothing is more dangerous than thinking that you are invincible. When the White House decided to illegally appoint three people to the National Labor Relations Board, they obviously believed that they could get away with it and bluff their way through.
But they were more vulnerable than they knew. And now they have presented to the world the drama of being defeated. As Politico reports:
“The ruling found that the Senate was not actually in recess when Obama made them. ‘[T]he President made his three appointments to the Board on January 4, 2012, after Congress began a new session on January 3 and while that new session continued,” the court wrote in its decision. ‘Considering the text, history, and structure of the Constitution, these appointments were invalid from their inception.’ Implications of the decision are still being sorted out.”
Notice the language. The so-called appointments “were invalid from their inception.” This sounds to me like that, legally, no one was ever really appointed to those offices. As the story goes on to say,
“One potential result raised immediately was that by invalidating the labor board appointments, the decision may have opened the door to effectively invalidating all the board’s work since they were made, including orders and regulations issued. The NLRB and the White House expressed confidence that this would not happen. ‘This court decision does not effect this operation, their ability to function,’ Carney said. The decision also could put into question the appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That appointment was made at the same time as the NLRB appointments. Carney argued that the decision will have ‘no bearing’ on Cordray, adding, ‘It simply doesn’t as a legal matter.’”
Perhaps the Obama Administration is right that there will be no further consequences of the fact that the courts have told them that their appointments were illegal and invalid. But we have every reason to hope that they are just trying to appear invincible because that is all they know to do.
Making those appointments (or going through the motions of doing so; in reality Obama had no more authority to appoint anyone that you or I have to do so) was plainly an overreach. And there is still reason to believe that this whole ongoing gun grab will be an overreach, both legislatively and judicially. Maybe Obamacare will become an acknowledged shame and failure to the government.
There may be other applications. Perhaps TARP was an overreach on the part of the government-banking combine. Perhaps using terrorists to overthrow Gaddafi was overreach. Perhaps Americans are now realizing just how illegal and criminal our government really is. Winning a victory and winning a permanent victory are two different challenges.
Perceived invincibility encourages stupidity. I can only pray that this court case is the first of many losses that the regime will suffer.