NLS, Blogs, OODA, and Ad Hominems

When I posted yesterday about the OODA Loop and Virginia politics (complete with diagram), I just knew someone was going to immediately take issue with my analysis.  I just didn’t know it would be me taking issue with me. 

After I took another angle on my constant crank that the major parties stand for nothing, today I realized where the OODA loop and manuver warfare is alive and well in Virginia.

Where, you say?  The blogosphere.

Why do I say that?  Consider the recent political departure in Fairfax County, where Democratic nominee for Clerk of the Court David Miller recently withdrew from the race.  Today Lowell at RK posts an interview with Mr. Miller, who slings much blame for his withdrawal. Receiving particular vitriol is our friend Ben Tribbett at NLS. Mr. Miller says of Ben, “I think he’s a liar, I think he’s a coward.”  He did not address Ben’s concerns and complaints, at least not in the piece cited.

To no surprise, Ben is unruffled.

But what caught me is the way Miller described his inability to come to grasp with new technology, his failure to address the issues Ben raised, and a feeling he should not try to engage Ben in the blogosphere.  What caught my attention next is how, even at this late date, he he failed to address Ben’s attacks.

In fact, Ben’s attacks and Miller’s inability to capably respond, instead falling into confusion and uncertainty, is precisely the reaction manuver warfare is intended to induce. It is not unlike the confusion the Allen campaign exhibited last year when it got stuck in the blogosphere’s headlights.

I find it amazing that a candidate for office in 2007 could be such a luddite as to not be ready to engage in the blogosphere. This is especially true in Virginia, where the blogosphere is well developed and the denizens therein are articulate, energetic, frenzied, and skilled in political jujitsu. Moreover, as I said wrote last February:

…blogs are now a recognized fast response medium. From the bloggers who took issue with Dan Rather and his GWB National Guard report to George Allen’s Macaca Moment we have seen blogs provide a way to get information to support attacks and counter-attacks up quickly. They also provide a way to spread the word of the “inside baseball” that goes on within any realm of activity…and that is especially true about Virginia politics, where we have an election every year.Well…duh, you might say. So what else is new?

What is new is that at the same time that the public is coming to terms with the ability of blogs to pump out information fast, the MSM media is cutting back. The MSM is trying to save money, and is cutting lose reporters left and right. The WaPo had a couple of well publicized cuts, and we fans of NBC-4 in DC have seen several familiar and favorite figures leave as the National Broadcasting System moved to NBC 2.0. Result? While there may be as many talking heads on TV, there are fewer human assets under the corporate umbrella providing news. They are losing not only reporters, but also the network of contacts that reporter has built.

The MSM needs to be able to go somewhere to generate leads and ideas…and that is where Blogs come in.

Did Ben Tribbett drive Brother Miller out of the race all by his lonesome? No. But he used his blog to bring up a plethora of issues about Mr Miller that should have been vetted before he got the Clerk nod without opposition. Miller, having gotten the nod without much public discussion, was unable to retune his thinking to fight a different kind of battle.

Guerilla warfare is the essence of the OODA loop…it is when the big orgs try to do it, or fail to change their culture to do it, that problems begin. In retrospect, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that Miller w/drew…the big guys have been taken down by little guys who stick and move ever since David drilled Goliath.

What is surprising is that he is so forthcoming w/his opinions. Nonetheless, he failure to recognize a not-so-new day in campaign tactics is in place, and his willingness to disparage his critics is quite amazing. His comments remind me of those WWI generals who marched their men across barren ground into the flame and sting of machine gun nests behind barbed wire, and then complained because of the way the enemy fought.

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you fight a campaign with the tools you have available, and your unwillingness to use those tools or a failure to neutralize them when they are used against you is no reason to resort to ad hominem attacks.

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