That’s the title of John Hood’s column today on Walter Dalton’s campaign for governor. Hood argues that Dalton is choosing a strategic that’s unlikely to produce a victory:

Still, Dalton is partly responsible for his plight by choosing to emphasize modest, incremental, and unexciting ideas rather than bold initiatives. His strategy is to play small ball – a concept that originated in baseball and then migrated to poker. Essentially, the idea is to build to ultimate victory through a series of low-risk, low-return plays rather than swinging for the bleachers.

His problem is that in politics, you can afford to play small ball only if you have superior or equivalent resources. In public policy, you can afford to play small ball only if the performance of your government is near or above the national average, requiring only tweaks to continue progressing over time.

Neither condition applies to Dalton’s situation.