Obamacare and "Intersecting Ground"

In “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, the ancient strategist lists nine types of ground that conflict can take place on.

According to the rule for military operations, there are nine kinds of ground.


Land that is surrounded on three sides by competitors and would give the first to get it access to all the people on the continent is called intersecting ground.


On intersecting grounds, form communications…

With a showdown coming and RedState’s own Front Page decorated in posts on senators and their willingness/unwillingness to fight Obamacare, it is easy to see this particular battle as one taking place on intersecting ground.

The three sides in this debate are the Democrats, Republicans (in this case referring to establishment who oppose defunding Obamacare) and conservatives. The intersecting ground is funding the president’s health care law (specifically, making it a major part of the negotiations in the upcoming budget fight). Senator Mike Lee has drawn up the battle plans for the conservative side, with a number of allies supporting him. The House of Representatives (at the moment) seems to be leaning toward the side of conservatives, while senate Republicans have made the motions of fleeing. Instead, what I fear from them and the GOP consulting class, is continued funding of the monstrosity in order to make full repeal a campaign tool in 2014 and/or 2016.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are struggling to maintain unity. Stories have emerged about them fleeing from the law, contrary to what we heard only a few months ago about the overall strategy being to embrace it.

One later commentator of The Art of War, Ho Yanxi, says this:

…[F]irst, occupy this ground, and the people will have to go with you. So if you get it you are secure; if you lose it you are in peril.

At the moment, the intersecting ground is occupied by the Democrats, but it is not secure.  Republicans are too indecisive to make their move to capture it  and unify the people who are discontented with their cause. The conservatives will have to make their move. If the House of Representatives sides with them, their chances grow tremendously. John Boehner, too, sees the signs of trouble at home for Mitch McConnell and wishes to avoid a similar fate. His flexibility on the issues can be discussed later, but he is an important ally for the conservatives now.

Another commentator, Meng Shi, expanded on intersecting ground further:

On intersecting ground, if you establish alliances you are safe, if you lose alliances you are in peril.

The alliance in this case would be between Senate conservatives and the House of Representatives. Republicans have been breaking their alliance with conservatives for years now. Democrats are fleeing their own alliances. Every possible advantage is lined up in favor of the conservative movement. All that is left is to take the John Cornyns and the Mitch McConnells and get their compliance. A full-on assault from the full party, establishment and conservative, wins this battle and does far more good than consultants will tell you.

As Erick Erickson has said time after time: Call your senator.

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