John Bell Hood and the Tea Party

During the Atlanta Campaign Confederate Commander Joseph Johnston was in a dilemma. Outnumbered 2-1 he was not in the position to crush the advancing forces of William T. Sherman. His best bet was to delay Sherman and look for a chance to hit him in detail or to force him into a deadly frontal assault. (such as Kennesaw Mountain).

Sherman with his superior force managed to flank Johnston again and again forcing him back until Atlanta was in sight.

Back in the Confederate Capital the administration was indigent. In their eyes Sherman was having things all their way. They demanded action to push Sherman out of Georgia rather than holding him up. In the end they decided that they would settle on a different more aggressive commander to face the Northern forces. General John Bell Hood.

Before making that decision Jefferson Davis consulted Robert E. Lee, himself fending off the relentless and bloody advance of US Grant in the east. Lee who was not one to attack those who had served under him had this to say:

“…Hood is a bold fighter. I am doubtful as to other qualities necessary.”

and continued thusly in a follow up:

“Hood is a good commander, very industrious on the battlefield, careless off and I have had no opportunity of judging his action when the whole responsibility rested upon him. I have a high opinion of his gallantry, earnestness, and zeal.”

Hints not withstanding, the Confederate government choose to replace Johnston with Hood. The Southern Papers cheered the decision anticipating fighting. They were right. Hood, despite an inferior force decided to immediately go on to the offensive and in a series of battles managed to rack up four defeats at the cost of nearly 20,000 men (to under 15,000 for the North) that allowed Sherman to take Atlanta just in time to turn the tide of the election of 1864 in favor of Lincoln.

The blame for this was the Confederate leadership and theirs alone. They wanted pure offense and were more interested in Hood’s “earnestness and Zeal” than the realities of the political battlefield which by 1864 was the only place where the south had any prayer to win. By forgetting these facts and ignoring the political realities they doomed themselves. As Sherman said in later years “At this critical moment the Confederate Government rendered us most valuable service”.

And that brings us to the type of stuff I am hearing from tea party people this week.

People I like and respect seem to have totally lost themselves in this battle and forgotten the war. Ann Barnhardt (via Stacy McCain) a woman I respect says this:

The so-called “right” or “Tea Party” in this republic is being so thoroughly rolled and defeated that I am struggling to come up with an adequate violent submission metaphor that does not involve prison rape . . . and they honesty think that they’re “winning.”

On Rush Radio 106.1 they were excoriating Rep Renee Ellmers for voting yes on this bill. Suggesting that she was just another pol.

On Twitter I see person after person lamenting the party “caving” My friends at Freedom Works are detailing every problem that this bill has.

There are valid points against this bill. It does not balance the budget, it does not control spending as we need and I’ve never liked “special committees” Those are generally used to dodge tough calls.

And I’ve also written the need for the Tea Party groups to keep the congress honest.

Nevertheless the moment we start abandoning Tea Party Republicans who made a valid vote to take the victory that we had, a victory where we were outnumbered 3-1 (1/2 of one branch vs 1 1/2 branches of government) we make the same mistake that Davis did.

All of this is prelude to 2012 that is where the direction of the country will be decided, with a republican congress an a republican president we will be able to make actual cuts and actual changes to the way Washington does business. (and even then we will have to face the 60 vote margin in the senate).

Unlike the Rebels in 1864 who would still have to deal with a President McClellan with the military situation unchanged, we will have numbers in each house to make the difference that need to be made and the bully pulpit to make the case to the American People.

This should be the focus of our efforts, to elect tea party friendly people to the Senate and a tea party friendly president to the White House.

A lot of the seats we won in the house last time were won by just a few thousand votes. If you want to risk giving those seats back to the democrats over one vote you are missing the point.

My general order hasn’t changed:

Ride Right Through them, they’re demoralized as hell!

…but its hard to ride right through them if we are shooting our own people off their horses.

Eyes on the prize people, eyes on the prize.

Reference The Civil War, a Narrative Vol 3 by Shelby Foote