Note the two sides, above and below, of a mailer I received at home.
One of the good things about being a Patrick O’Brian fanatic is that it provides one with so many good metaphors.
For instance… one of the most difficult things for a man of war’s crew in the age of sail was to fight both sides of the ship at once. One way this might occur would be if a ship sailed between two enemy ships and fired with its larboard and starboard guns at the same time. This took not only a very well-trained crew, but a numerous one — remember, it took a lot of men just to keep changing sail and maneuvering the ship, plus twice the usual number of gun crews. Each gun required a crew of several men, and they weren’t much good if they hadn’t had plenty of experience firing live ammunition at targets under all sorts of conditions.
This required a wealthy commander, because the Royal Navy provided a minuscule amount of powder and shot, and the captain had to shell out his own money if he wanted his men to be able to perform well, even to survive, in a fight.
And only a captain with a numerous, well trained crew would attempt anything so taxing as dashing between two enemy ships to fight both sides at once.
Either that, or a very desperate captain.
I suppose you could interpret this mailer I got at home either way. It was sent out by Restore Our Future, Inc., which exists to promote Mitt Romney.
We know he’s a wealthy captain, with a numerous crew. But is he also desperate?
His foes are the ones who should be desperate. They know that if they don’t stop him in South Carolina, they are done for. But he also knows that, and probably just as soon have done with them all.
So he fires both broadsides at once; never mind the cost.