BY THE TIME OUR next issue arrives on your desk, mid-term elections will have come and gone, and we will be figuring out how the political landscape will have changed. For me, it provides an unusual challenge. There will be a Republican stampede or a surprising Democrat defense; either way I need to have two covers ready to go, which is something we don’t do very often.
A great deal is at stake in this mid-term, and it reminds me of the 1994 “Republican Revolution” in which the GOP won control of Congress off the backlash against the Clinton administration’s efforts to create a national healthcare plan. Back then, Clinton’s efforts struck me as an ill-fated effort to do what we Hearts players call “shooting the moon.”
If you haven’t played the card game Hearts, the goal is to avoid taking points, but sometimes in a hand, if you take every point that can be had, then everybody else takes points. In this game, it’s the equivalent of going for broke; by the time you start shooting, everybody else at the table knows it, and all they have to do is take a single point to leave you with a huge, ugly score at the end of the hand. This is why most players never try to shoot the moon unless they are dealt a hand that makes success really likely. Sometimes you get a hand that is too terrible to play, but not terrible enough to shoot with comfortably. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can salvage the hand, shoot the moon and avoid catastrophe. But most likely, you must face the unpalatable decision between taking points and more points.