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James Inhofe Pulls Out Plutarch to Attack "Speaker Pyrrhus"

In the enviro-sphere, all eyes are on the House of Representatives, which is currently engaged in a heated debate on the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill, expected to receive a vote this afternoon. But that’s not stopping one Republican senator from digging through the history books to find new ways to attack the legislation.

Apparently, he had to go pretty far back. From a new blog post titled “Speaker Pyrrhus,” by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member-turned-classical historian James Inhofe (R-Okla.):

[The Waxman-Markey bill] will be, in short, a Pyrrhic victory—so named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army, during the Pyrrhic War, suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans in two key battles.

So we consulted Plutarch for his historical account of King Pyrrhus and his unfortunate victories. According to Plutarch, after his victory, Pyrrhus lamented, “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.” In the spirit of Pyrrhus, Speaker Pelosi appears to be traversing down the same path to ruin. And with mid-term elections in 2010 looming on the horizon, voting for an energy tax could provoke the same backlash that occurred in 275 BC. Again, Plutarch: “For he had lost a great part of the forces with which he came, and all his friends and generals except a few; moreover, he had no others whom he could summon from home, and he saw that his allies in Italy were becoming indifferent, while the army of the Romans, as if from a fountain gushing forth indoors, was easily and speedily filled up again, and they did not lose courage in defeat, nay, their wrath gave them all the more vigor and determination for the war.” As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

If the Democrats forget the lessons of Plutarch, it appears their defeat in 2010 will be bloody indeed.

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