The Volokh Conspiracy recalls a list of tactics promulgated by the OSS for use by allied agents in positions of responsibility inside Nazi Germany — the name of the game, apparently, was to maximize damage while maintaining your cover, by using feigned incompetence and stalling to generate the kinds of failures that are equally attributable to either malice, or just forgivable incompetence.
Clever, but these tactics should all strike a more familiar and menacing chord. They might as well be copied out of the playbook of the Republican opposition, the one they’ve been running day in and day out since January 20, 2009. Examples:
- (3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible–never less than five.
- (4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
- Is President Obama a citizen?
- Is he a socialist? Is he patriotic?
- Does he use the phrase “Islamic fundamentalism,” or other buzzwords, enough?
- Is any attempt to tinker with financial policy a tax hike?
- Will health care reform (somehow) lead to euthanasia?
- The list goes on — and includes the acknowledged practice of filing frivolous amendments to upset a delicate consensus.
- (7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
- (8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision–raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
- Has the Republican caucus ever not raised a constitutional objection to a major policy decision?
- Politicians should make such objections — but only when they have a good faith basis for it, the kind that’s lacking in, say, the health care reform “litigation.”
Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator they are not, but the Republican Party knows what they’re doing.