|Otto von Bismarck escorting the arrested Emperor Napoléon III after the Battle of Sedan, French corpses littering the side of the road. Painting by Wilhelm Camphausen, 1877, via Wikimedia Commons.|
Shorter David Brooks, "The Democrats Win the Summer", July 28 2016:
Now the Democrats looks like nice middle-class folks who care about their families and their country and feel empathy for others. Thanks a lot, Donald!Naive people like me commonly think of politics as if it ought to be a confrontation of ideas on what the polity needs to do, but of course it's really a confrontation of people, organized into teams, a kind of war or a game of field control, and ideas are the field, the territory the teams contest, the largely static semiotic map across which we crawl out of our ideological trenches, trying to plant our flags in enemy ground.
Which means that what the fight is mainly over is the territory of ideas on which we all basically agree, the motherhood and apple pie; our job is to own those ideas, and deny them to the enemy. If I can convince the voter that I'm really strong on motherhood, with an unquestionable commitment, that will suggest that the other guy really isn't—that he's suspect, unreliable on motherhood, dangerous and dishonest.