The mantle of the great Russians has descended upon the Gauchoholics.

With an election blitzkrieg, the Student Action Coalition drove deep into Gauchoholic territory. Despite a bitter fight and the atrocities committed by both sides, SAC shook more hands, made more promises, put up more signs, thoroughly outgeneraled the Gauchoholic forces, and captured all four executive offices and a two-thirds majority on Associated Students Legislative Council. With the Gauchoholics in rapid retreat to bicycle safety committees and university internships, SAC thought the war won. But like so many whom have invaded vast and brutal territories, they thought wrong.

First, SAC is invading in a lean year. The base fee failed and the harvest for next year will be very poor indeed. Many a board and committee will starve.

Second, the Gauchoholics are fighting a brilliant retreat with all the weapons that Robert’s Rules of Order can provide. In tactics reminiscent of Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov’s, Representative Martin T. Doyle is burning every financial field and shooting every cash cow that SAC forces could find useful, and a great deal besides.

It’s brutal to be sure, but war often is.

The scorched-earth tactics began at Monday’s Finance Board meeting. The counterattack was led by Doyle, A.S. President Brian Hampton and defeated Gauchoholic presidential candidate Maggie Stack. They started small. First, they reordered the agenda. Such a minor point, really, which is why no one paid much attention to the fact that it put El Congreso, a stalwart SAC organization, last in line for funding at a meeting where Finance Board emptied the last pennies from its pockets. And then, after everyone else got almost everything they wanted – including a computer for the martial arts club – El Congreso got $1,615 less than they asked for to fund a Chicano/Latino culture week.

With El Congreso still smoldering in Finance Board, Doyle moved swiftly to torch SAC’s budget. He drafted his own budget off of the president’s. By offering it as an amendment to the president’s budget, he kept his plans from the enemy until he sprung it on them at the meeting. It was a superb parliamentary procedure gambit and no one who was there, no matter what side, could help but to second a motion acknowledging his cunning.

Doyle’s budget slashed funding for every executive officer and destroyed the last traces of money in the SAC strongholds of Student Affairs Organizing Director, Student Advocate and Women’s Journal. Hardest hit was the external vice president for local affairs, who’s budget for next year will be an eighth of what it was this year and three fortieths of what it was two years ago.

SAC tried to fight, but unprepared for the battle and unversed in the wiles of legislative combat, they struggled. The Gauchoholics, with a majority but without enough soldiers to force a vote, only had to wait until the fight went out of the SAC forces and they forget to get on the speakers list. Once that trap was sprung, it went automatically to a vote and SAC was routed. For the coup de grace, Doyle put the budget forever out of reach by making a motion to reconsider the vote and then quickly tabling it.

After five hours of battle, it was over and only the smells of smoke and dead livestock remained for SAC.

SAC can get some of its money back by getting the A.S. administrators to change the recharges and voting as a solid block next year to, one by one, reallocate its money. At the moment though, their tanks are empty and stuck in the mud, and it’s still going to be a long, cold and hungry winter deep in the heart of the motherland.