If your current horse is foundering, changing horses in midstream can be an excellent idea.
Michael Barone notes that if McClellan had defeated Lincoln, the South would have won the Civil War, and uses this as an argument against replacing Bush in the middle of the war for Iraq. (I guess this is the official acknowledgement that “Mission Accomplished” is no longer the operative spin.)
But of course McClellan was running on a platform which virtually committed him to accepting defeat; this year’s Democratic Platform, it is safe to say, will make no such commitment.
Barone doesn’t attend to what seems to me a more compelling analogy. If Hitler had been killed or overthrown anytime between the fall of France in June of 1940 and the invasion of Russia a year later — leaving the conduct of the German side of World War II and its associated diplomacy to the highly competent professionals of the German armed forces and diplomatic corps — Germany would very probably have won.
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman
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