The story—a composite of many such stories from Livy’s War with Hannibal—would go like this: The highly-trained and superbly-equipped Romans would invest a hillside or a bridgehead with one of their famous marching camps—ditch, rampart, palisade.

Later, Hannibal would dispatch a few hundred foot and a squadron of horse to march on the Roman camp in no good order.

The Romans would repulse Hannibal’s troops. The Romans would then march out of their camp in force to pursue the routed attackers and, almost invariably, discover themselves caught in a trap as Punic foot and horse would spring from the hollows or defiles in which they hid themselves. The Romans would be weary from marching and fighting on the march; the new Punic forces would be far fewer in number, but they would be fed, rested, and confident in their knowledge of the terrain.

The Romans, fighting to extricate themselves, would then see either (a) smoke rising from their base-camp, or (b) fresh troops suddenly appearing to their rear or on their flanks. The result would be a moral collapse among the Roman forces; they would break ranks, scatter, and the Punic forces would defeat them in detail.

This is the so-called Punic strategy—ruses, feints, traps, followed by moral collapse—this is how Hannibal defeated forces possessed of greater numbers and superior arms with his loosely cohering bands of stragglers and misfits from Spain, Africa, and Gaul.

Turn your attention to Romney. Romney remains pinned down in the early-primary states, hemorrhaging millions in media buys as he spends every waking moment campaigning. Suddenly, to Romney’s rear, in a state that Romney believed bought and paid for, Huckabee appears flush with new cash and, according to rumor an impending endorsement from Dr. James Dobson. See:

Also: McCain is recovering in the polls. A resurgent McCain could cost Romney New Hampshire.

Question: are these developments all just grim coincidence for the hapless candidate from Bain Capital?—well, what is Mayor Giuliani telling the world about his plans?

“Wednesday, after the announcement that Pat Robertson was endorsing his candidacy, Giuliani sat down with me for a talk about strategy,” writes Byron York of the formerly conservative and shamelessly pro-Romney National Review in an article titled, prosaically, The Race Rudy Will Run Giuliani talks state-by-state strateg

The plan he described basically involves counting backward from February 5, that is, first establishing himself in the mega-primary states — with Florida a must-win contest — and then taking up the fight in the smaller early states. It’s a big-risk, big-reward strategy, given the possibility that another candidate might dominate the early primaries, knocking Giuliani out of the running before the big states began to vote.

“Everybody has their own theory,” Giuliani told me. “Our theory was to get the big states organized, try to beat everybody else to getting the big states organized, so you have them as a fallback, and then take your resources and start to expend them in the states that come up first. And now we’re going to do that.”

Translation: I have organized my base and am now prepared to maneuver beyond it—I will take the fight to Romney. What the always-a-little befuddled York seems to miss: a split decision, or a failure to achieve a clear decision, in the early states is a win for Giuliani no matter what other candidate emerges still standing. See:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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  1. 1 Crowely and Scheiber: “For all the attention Rudy Giuliani got with that Pat Robertson endorsement earlier this week, the numbers increasingly suggest Romney is going to be the GOP nominee” « who is willard milton romney?

    […] how hizzoner brings the fight to Romney—Romney caught in a punic pincer […]

  2. 2 Crowley and Scheiber: “For all the attention Rudy Giuliani got with that Pat Robertson endorsement earlier this week, the numbers increasingly suggest Romney is going to be the GOP nominee” « who is willard milton romney?

    […] how hizzoner brings the fight to Romney—Romney caught in a punic pincer […]

  3. 3 NLRC to endorse Thompson in direct challenge to Dr. Dobson—big-huge-giant loser: Team Romney « who is willard milton romney?

    […] … but still … how hizzoner brings the fight to Romney—Romney caught in a punic pincer […]

  4. 4 Sargent: “[Grrrr-Romney] was spending $100,000 a week through October, and he’s now upped the ante to $200,000 a week [in NH]” « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Romney has vastly overshot the mark in both Iowa and New Hampshire. So much so that he has prejudiced in advance the conclusions that will be drawn from his victories, and doomed himself completely should he fall short of overwhelming victory. Hence: Boy Romney is pinned. Against Gov. Huckabee, against Mayor Giuliani, against Sen. McCain, all of whom have suddenly begun advertising whether in New Hampshire or in Iowa or both, Romney must hemorrhage disproportionately more money, more credibility, and more of his dignity, because he himself has created conditions such that a loss in either state may be fatal to his campaign. We predicted this—we predicted precisely this: how hizzoner brings the fight to Romney—Romney caught in a punic pincer […]




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