'In Your Face!' What a great game

Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013, 11:00 pm
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By Col. (Ret.) Dave Shaver
There seems to be a number of high-ranking people playing an old game called "In Your Face." The game is played at any level in political and business boardrooms. Here's how it works:

Player No.1 does something on purpose that Player No. 2 doesn't like -- the more egregious the wrong, the better. Then Player No. 2 fights back with a nastier "wrong" until both parties begin to ooze hatred and adrenalin. The problem with the game is that it has no final move -- no resolution, but, in some overzealous cases, physical violence or, if between nations, war, may result.

The game normally does draw spectators, but, after a while, it becomes old hat, and the gawkers and fight-followers move on to the next game. Here are some examples:

President Obama has his domestic version of the game. He has been playing In Your Face for years now, almost since his first election.

Obamacare is a result of Congress bending to his will, regardless of what the majority of Americans wanted. His department and agency heads are also very skilled Chicago-Democrat-style In Your Race players -- pleading the Fifth Amendment, rather than answering Congressional committee questions, or refusing to provide requested documents (stonewalling).

But the really good, big-time wrongs concern promotion of administrative staffers and appointees who have conducted legal wrongs. For example, I mean completely ignoring actions such as lying to Congress or disgracing their office by politicizing bureaucratic responses such as what happened in the Cincinnati office of the IRS, then promoting their chiefs.

If Republicans really want to hammer someone for misconduct, it seems that Mr. Obama likes nothing better than to do the very opposite. "In your face, Republicans!"

Mr. Obama is a Master at the In Your Face game. I've never encountered anyone in the military, in business or in political circles who has reached his level of expertise, with perhaps the exception of Russia's Mr. Putin, (evidenced by his shrewd move to stop the anticipated U.S. air strikes on Syria).

In his version of the In Your Face game, Russian President Vladimir Putin initially gave temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. This drove President Obama to cancel a one-on-one summit meeting with Putin, and calling Putin's physical appearance a sort of "slouching."

This game has been going on for a long time, on issues like Iran's nukes, Syrian chemical weapons, and the Egyptian uprisings, and elsewhere, reminiscent of the East-West Cold War. More recently, ex-KGB tyrant Putin wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times chastising American exceptionalism. That's really "in your face." These examples also indicate the game is self-escalating.

On the domestic front, President Obama wants immigration reform. He knows how to play the game.Those who won't go along with his program of amnesty, secure borders "maybe" after passage, and clear pathway for 20 million illegals to become citizens just because they are here, must not succeed.

Our massive unemployed workforce cannot withstand the competition. Unfortunately, it seems like the Republicans don't know how to play the game. Many have been pushed off their political benches, rather than become Player No. 2, and create a really big time "wrong," like demanding punishment for administration "evil-doers, or perhaps evoking the "I-word" in some cases.

Maybe the Republicans can't win and they know it. From this spectator's seat, it looks like, by the time the Republicans learn how to play, there will be far too many Democrats, either speaking Arabic or Spanish, to ever win a national election again.

With the now certain future passage of immigration reform in its current format, Republicans will surely lose their command of the majority of Governorships and their majority in the House of Representatives. Too bad. I was just beginning to like divided government.

After all, theoretically, during times when control of the House and Senate is split between the parties, it's much harder to pass bad legislation. But when one side plays "in your face" and the other side blinks, we can and will get bad legislation like Obama-care, immigration reform, and a military strike against Syria.

The current Putin- Obama In Your Face game on Syria has befuddled many of us, and certainly muddied the congressional waters as many budget and domestic political issues are tackled.

What a great game!
Col. Dave Shaver is a retired U.S. Army officer and former tenured faculty member of the U.S. Army War College, where he held the General MacArthur academic chair of research; dshaver630@aol.com.


Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.

(More History)