“The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” 
What does it mean?
This tactic is genius in its simplicity. The idea is to keep the attention on your opponent by simply peppering them with the ways in which they fail to be perfect. No one is perfect and so the rule is powerful.
In fact, it is one of the most powerful tactics in the Alinsky arsenal. We will see as we go along that this rule, along with the fifth rule and the thirteenth rule are the heart and soul of how the Obama Administration uses Alinsky rules to their benefit.
Alinsky points out the Christian church because it was through the churches in Chicago that he first began to implement his strategies. When he approached Pastors, he found that it was nearly impossible to speak to them about Christianity (or so he says) because they were focused on the church, the people, the money and all that made up the infrastructure of the institution and not on the philosophy or theology that guided that institution. 
Why is this important to understand? It points out a basic flaw. People often profess one thing and then live in complete contradiction to what they profess, or at the very least neglect the things they claim to be most important in favor of the most expedient.
Let us be clear that people being people are generally going to fall short of any expectations they put upon themselves. The key Alinsky found was that this could be used to discredit those making claims they did not live up to. It is a deceptively simple and powerful tactic.
For example, suppose someone you know is encouraging you to stop smoking (oh, I don’t know let’s just say it’s the President of the United States) because they assure you that they are concerned about your health. They know the dangers of tobacco and they care about you. You really need to stop smoking so you can be around to be their friend.
Now let’s suppose you find out that this person (oh, I don’t know let’s just say it’s the President of the United States again) is actually smoking themselves. The next time they tell you that you need to quit smoking, what is the first thing you’re going to say? You are going to say, “Hey, wait a minute. Don’t lecture me about smoking when I happen to know you do it yourself”. You would be telling them to live up to their own book or rules-this is Alinsky’s fourth rule, and it is a strategy against which it is difficult to defend.
How has Obama used it?
Sarah Palin: In an article entitled, “I still hate you, Sarah Palin” the author lays out how Obama eviscerated Palin with Rules for Radicals and finishes by saying this,
“What you clowns need, in other words, is a Rules for Radical Conservatives to explain what you’re up against and teach you how to compete before it’s too late.” 
In essence what I am presenting through these series of articles is the framework of just such a manual for Conservatives (yes, a book on this does exist). While Conservatives are beginning to come around to what Rules for Radicals is all about, I have been screaming about it for way too long now.
- Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
- Never go outside the experience of your people.
- Whenever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.
- Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
- Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
- A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
- A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
- Keep the pressure on with different tactics, and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
- The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
- The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
- If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
- The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
- Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Alinsky, Saul Rules for Radicals. Toronto: Vintage Publishing 1971
Rules two and three. We will examine the second and third rule together since they are so closely connected. Alinsky states these two rules on page 127 of Rules for Radicals as:
The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear, and retreat. It also means a collapse of communication, as we have noted.
The third rule is: Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat. 
What the rules mean. Alinsky states that venturing outside of areas where people feel comfortable creates the following problems for the movement: confusion, fear, retreat, and a collapse of communication.
The first three seem to be rather obvious consequences of going outside of one’s comfort zone. For example let’s suppose you were at a teaparty. Everyone around you has generally the same philosophy and concerns that you do. Now suppose instead that you are at a meeting of the Black Panthers and you are the only Conservative there.
How would you behave differently in these two very different situations? It seems obvious that you would feel not only comfortable, but quite bold with those with whom you agree. On the other hand, you would likely feel confused, be a bit fearful and would be anxious to get out of the Black Panther meeting. So the first three responses seem self evident.
But what about the idea of a collapse of communication? Notice Alinsky mentions that it refers to something he has already discussed in the book. Indeed, in the chapter entitled Communication he goes into detail about how going outside of the experience of the group creates a breakdown of communication. Simply put, the idea is that when we behave in ways that are outside of the normal understanding of those with whom we deal it becomes difficult to communicate our ideas and thus to move the organization forward. Don’t worry if this is not clear at this point, it will become obvious.
How Obama has used rules two and three.
Obama as economic expert. Obama’s supposed expertise in financial matters was largely a matter of illusion. He could point to no record of experience in economics, but he was able to cast his opponent as knowing nothing about the subject. In this regard, Senator McCain provided ample ammunition to his opponent.
First, there was the dismissal of his economic adviser, Phil Gramm. Well, technically he said he stepped down, but we all know what that means. In any case, Gramm was forced to step down after saying that the United States had become “a nation of whiners” and for dismissing the economic crisis as a “mental recession”. 
As an important aside, I would highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with Gramm’s role in the deregulation, which many believe lead to the financial crisis, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that was signed into law by President Clinton.
The following four Wikipedia articles are a good starting point for those who wish to understand some of the Congressional Acts that lead directly to our current financial crisis, as well as how both Phil Gramm and Larry Summers played parts in the deregulation that lead to it.
This will all be the subject of an article in the near future.
Next, there was the matter of whether McCain had in fact admitted a lack of economic knowledge. Again, he provided nothing but fuel to this fire, as the following video demonstrates. This video not only discredits McCain on the economy, which would be the deciding issue of the election, it also discredits him on foreign affairs, which is supposed to be in his “area of experience”.
Therefore, Obama, with a lot of help from McCain, was able to position himself as an economic expert despite the complete lack of any economic credentials. He did this by simply making his opponent look ignorant. He had used this same negative strategy against Hillary Clinton in the primaries. In that case, it was the war in Iraq instead of the economy. Obama did nothing to prevent the Iraq war, but he benefited from having not yet ascended to the United States Senate by 2002 when Congress voted on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. 
We should also note here that Barack Obama ran mostly against George Bush and Sarah Palin. His campaign staff spent most of their time tying McCain to the unpopular Bush and personally ridiculing Palin and her family. Again, McCain failed to counter the “McCain as Bush” argument effectively until the last debate. By then it was way too late.
The economy was the central issue of the 2008 election (ironically this was the case because the surge that John McCain had championed had been largely successful in Iraq), and therefor I havecovered these economic aspects of the campaign in a little more depth.
The following are a few very brief synopses of some of the other ways that Barack Obama used the second and third rule during the general campaign in 2008.
Obama as young and brilliant. Obama seized on the comparison of himself as young and hip against that of McCain as old and out of touch. It was commonplace (and still is) for people to refer to Obama as “brilliant” and “a genius”, but there is little evidence given to support this thesis. We don’t have his college transcripts, and he has made many public errors on simple matters. The latter will be a post all unto itself.
What he has been successful in doing, however, is comparing himself to Geroge W. Bush who was widely panned for his public speaking and frequently referred to as stupid (a charge which I submit does not hold up to scrutiny, but that too is for another day), and to John McCain who is not the most thrilling public speaker.
This Obama campaign video is famous for showing McCain as old and out of touch.
Obama as post-racial. During the 2008 Presidential campaign both parties were careful to walk a fine line when it came to race, but Obama held the most advantageous position simply by virtue of the scarred history of America when it comes to race.
He used that advantaged position to launch side-swiping attacks like the following comments he made about McCain:
“He’s spending an awful lot of time talking about me. You notice that?” Obama asked a crowd of just over one thousand seated in a university gym. “I haven’t seen an ad yet where he talks about what he’s going to do. And the reason is because those folks know they don’t have any good answers, they know they’ve had their turn over the last eight years and made a mess of things.”
“They know that you’re not real happy with them and so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me,” Obama continued, repeating an attack from earlier in the day. “What they’re saying is ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, he’s a got a funny name.’”
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.
“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.
“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”
Such attacks allowed Obama to use race against his opponent by staying within an area where he held the advantage and experience. He essentially challenged McCain to enter the arena of race knowing that perceptions would never allow for a white man to be seen as a victim of racial politics when he was engaged with an African American. He stayed within his own area of experience and advantage while trying to lure McCain into an area where he would have to fight with a clear disadvantage. This is textbook use of the second and third rules.
There are many other examples to demonstrate how Obama used these rules, but let me mention just two others and move on. John McCain challenged Obama to a series of Townhall events, but Obama never even officially responded. He didn’t say he wouldn’t, he just never did them. The reason? Obama knew that such events are McCain’s forte, and he wasn’t willing to take the chance of being shown up in these events. Obama is now legendary for his use of the teleprompter, so it makes sense that this would have been wondering outside of his “area of experience”.
And finally, Obama constantly spoke in soaring rhetoric with little policy substance. He sought to appear ascendant. By way of contrast, the Obama campaign pointed out McCain’s less effective public speaking skills. Since Sarah Palin was able to stir crowds as effectively as Obama, if not more effectively, they chose to use a different rule on her, and we will discuss that in depth in a future article.
Recognizing and dealing with rules two and three.
The change of subject approach. You will often see people use rules two and three by trying to lure you away from an area where you hold the advantage and into an area where they feel they hold the advantage.
This is quite common on twitter. You may be making a point, and winning an argument, and your opponent will then try to change the subject gradually moving you away from areas where you are strongest. If you recognize this you can use it to your advantage.
Obviously, it is more desirable to use this method as a defensive measure. In other words, you are not intentionally trying to steer people away from their points to yours, but instead you simply demand that they stay on subject.
The failure to communicate. Perhaps the least obvious of the points in the second and third rules is Alinsky’s point that when you venture outside of the expertise of your people it will result in a collapse of communication.
This is covered in a separate chapter by Alinsky in Rules for Radicals and so we will only touch upon its most basic meaning here. The point Alinsky is making is that by going outside of the expertise of your people a breakdown in communication is inevitable. For example, if I start discussing Ohms law with you in the middle of this article, it is likely that you are going to lose interest and become confused unless you have a background in electrical engineering.
The point is that leaders of organizations have to consider the abilities and interests of the people working for them in order to maximize their potential.
The Rules on twitter. Twitter offers an opportunity for different people to use it in different ways. Some are good at engaging with those whose opinions differ from theirs, others are better at presenting information or news. Still others might be good at helping to reinforce and encourage those with whom they agree and others are good at using humor or wit. It is possible to venture out of your safe zone in this regard, but generally speaking you should find your strength(s) and stay within that framework. The converse of this would be to attempt to draw the other side out of their area of expertise and into yours.
What comes next? We will continue with the rules, and after we have covered them all we will double back and cover the book chapter by chapter.
The next rule we will cover is:
· Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
 McCain Co-Chairman, Under Fire, Steps Aside – NYTimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/19/us/politics/19mccain.html?_r=1 [Accessed October 11, 2009].
 Gramm quits McCain campaign – The Boston Globe. Available at: http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/articles/2008/07/19/gramm_quits_mccain_campaign/ [Accessed October 11, 2009].
 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. Available at: http://banking.senate.gov/conf/ [Accessed October 11, 2009].
 Search Results – THOMAS (Library of Congress). Available at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:H.J.Res114: [Accessed October 11, 2009].
 Hot Air » Blog Archive » Obama: McCain’s message is that I don’t “look like the other presidents on the currency”. Available at: http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/30/obama-mccains-message-is-that-i-dont-look-like-the-other-presidents-on-the-currency/ [Accessed October 11, 2009].
 Hot Air » Blog Archive » Who’s playing the race card? Update: Audio added. Available at: http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/21/whos-playing-the-race-card/ [Accessed October 11, 2009].
The First Rule
In the chapter of Rules for Radicals entitled Tactics Alinsky states his first rule as,
“Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have”.
Alinsky places a quotation from Hannibal at the head of this chapter. Hannibal is thought of as one of the greatest military minds in history, and his leadership of the Carthaginian military is the stuff of legends. His exploits included his march towards Rome, taking a Carthaginian army across the Pyrenees and the Alps (Lancel, Hannibal). No small feat in the third Century B.C. The quote reads, “We will either find a way or make one”. Again we see the resolute nature of Alinsky, and his admiration for one who refuses to take no for an answer, but would instead find a way to attain the desired ends.
In describing what he means by tactics Alinsky says, “In the world of give and take, tactics is the art of how to take and how to give. Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves”.
He then goes on to compare tactics to the human face. The eyes represent visible power such as is possessed by the ruling class. The ears represent a smaller group who cloaks their lack of size by raising a din that belies their numbers. Finally, he mentions the nose, “[I]f your organization is too tiny even for noise, stink up the place.”
So then the first rule is the art of managing perceptions. He assumes that he is speaking not to the ruling class, but to the smaller, disenfranchised groups that are seeking power. After all, why would the ruling class want things to change at all? And so, since the numbers of the oppressed are small, it is critical to find ways to seem larger than you are; much like a cat which raises its back and its fur when threatened to appear larger and more formidable to its foe.
What can we glean from the first rule that will help us to understand how Alinsky tactics are being used, how to counter them, and how to use them for our own cause?
How Obama has used the first rule.
His entrance into the Presidential race.
Then Senator, Barack Obama used the first rule when first declaring as a candidate for President. As a little known Senator with a fairly undistinguished record to that point Obama was certainly not the eyes, but he was more than the nose. So taking Alinsky’s analogy of the ears we can see that Obama sought to make enough noise that his fledgling campaign would appear larger and more powerful than it was.
The first thing he did was to use symbolism.
He stood before the Old State Capitol building in February of 2007 and declared himself a candidate for President of the United States. An online newspaper described it then in these words,
“The first-term senator announced his candidacy from the state capital where he began his elective career just 10 years ago, and in front of the building where in another century, Lincoln served eight years in the Illinois Legislature.”
With a few thousand followers listening, the young Senator seized upon everything he could to make his movement seem bigger than it was. He mentioned Lincoln several times in his speech, thus melding his vision and the vision of one of our most famous and beloved Presidents. In order to further magnify his voice he spoke about the war in Iraq and how he would bring the troops home. This speech took place in the first few weeks of the surge and in the midst of rising discontent over the war and in the way the war was being managed. He seized upon the issue that was garnering the highest percentage of mainstream media coverage, and married himself to it. Since Mr. Obama was not in the U.S. Senate when the resolution to give war powers to President Bush took place he found himself in the unique position of speaking out against the war in Iraq without seeming hypocritical for having voted for the resolution.
Caucus Methods. Another example of Obama’s use of the first rule is his method for attaining caucus victories. The Obama supporters were routinely louder and more aggressive than the delegates for the opposition. It didn’t matter if he had more delegates at the beginning of the process as long as he had the loudest delegates they would eventually drown out the others and claim the victory, and this is exactly what they did.
According to TalkLeft.com they obtained a memo that illustrated the main tactics the Obama people used to overwhelm the opposition at caucuses. Here are the main points they brought out:
- Individuals arriving all at once in large groups can disrupt the caucus by making it difficult to keep track of sign-in sheets, among other things.
- Individuals may arrive who are not registered to vote in a particular precinct with the story that ‘they just moved there.
- Supporters for a particular candidate, such as Senator Clinton, have arrived at caucus sites early to decorate and organize and been told that ‘the building was locked. 
These are clear examples of power being not only what you have but what others perceive that you have. Obama used groups of loud, rowdy delegates (and possibly non-delegates) to make it seem as though his support was larger than it really was, and by locking the building it not only kept the opposition out it also made Obama’s people appear more powerful than Clinton’s.
Since Clinton won in the bigger states such as Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida (although Florida did not count at the time) it was critical for Obama to take the caucuses, take them he did. Most believe that the caucuses swung the primary in favor of Obama, and without these tactics Hillary Clinton would have been the Democratic nominee.
The fake Presidential Seal. How many remember the fake Presidential seal from Obama’s meeting in Chicago in June of 2008? It caused quite a stir as people felt that Obama was using a seal that looked far too much like the official Presidential seal. This is another example of perceived power. Candidates have always sought to “look Presidential” but many believe this crossed a line. If they did cross a line, they did so because they were following Alinsky rules, which do not consider anything tricks to be dirty. Instead, moves like this are demonstrations of how committed someone is to their cause. The ends justifies the means methodology of Alinsky can often lead to questionable acts like this. 
The Office of the President Elect. In an unprecedented move, Obama chose to set up what he called “The Office of the President Elect”. Of course, there is in fact no such thing as an office of the President Elect, and it was merely an affectation to have him appear more powerful even before he actually had any real power. Few would argue that it was effective for his group, and that no President Elect has ever had more effect on policy while not actually holding the office.
Beyond that, some have opined that the seal used in both instances was in fact a violation of the law. The Weekly Standard explains that it is illegal to use the Presidential Seal when you are not in fact the President of the United States.
How the left uses the first rule.
In general, progressives have a rather unified approach to political dialogue that they feel was finally vindicated with the election of Barack Obama. Obviously we cannot discuss all the ways in which the left uses any of the rules, but we can hit the highlights.
Intellectual superiority. The bourgeoisie find it difficult to believe that anyone could possibly challenge them on an intellectual level. They hold the common man in contempt. There is perhaps no clearer example of this than the way in which the media and political establishment reacted to Sarah Palin. She did not go to an Ivy League school nor does she spend most of her time inside the Beltway schmoozing with the elite intelligentsia. She became the poster child for what the elites see as the proletariat breeders.
One of the key tenets of the intellectual groupthink of the pseudo-intellectual elite is a religious adherence to all things pertaining to the environment in general, and global climate change in particular. This is a discussion too large to address here, but it is important to understand that a vital part of the perceived power of the left is derived from their co-opting of exclusive knowledge of science and that they alone know with certainty that our planet is on the precipice of doom from climate change.
Moral superiority in matters of race. The left is also convinced that they, and only they, are truly egalitarian and transcend traditional racism in America. They paint anyone on the right with the broad brush of intolerance. While they claim to be the ones who are tolerant, and who are the protectors of free speech, it is clear that free speech to many progressives means you are free to speak as long as you agree with them – otherwise you are either mentally deficient and /or a racist.
In fact, the election of an African-American (technically a half African-American) President affords them the unique opportunity to couch everything in terms of racial identity. By paying lip service to the idea of racial equality while using identity politics to build their power structure, the left actually uses and manipulates minorities for what they consider the more important goals of progressivism.
Such claims of mental and moral superiority are ways to exercise Alinsky’s first rule. By appearing smarter or morally superior they are perceived as having more power than they actually do. It is a way to validate their political views as though they are somehow scientifically proven to be true.
Combating the first rule.
There were only two ways to defeat the Obama caucus strategy. One, the opposition could shed enough light upon the tactics being used to create a backlash that would redound to their benefit, or two, they could have fought the opposition with its own tactics. The first approach is dependent upon the ability to raise sufficient interest in the issue and to bring wide scale media coverage to bear on the issue. Senator Clinton actually attempted to combat Obama in this way, but was unable to bring enough light to bear. One of the reasons she failed involves another of Alinsky’s rules. She failed to keep sufficient pressure on her opponent, allowing him to behave badly without being called to account for his actions.
The second approach would be to simply make sure your group was louder and more aggressive than your opponents group. Senator Clinton made no effort to meet her opponents’ ferocity with equal fervor. By acquiescing she simply turned over caucus states to Barack Obama without any significant effort to stop him. Frankly, ‘telling on’ the aggressor is unlikely to yield the desired results even though it is the more noble approach. Often, when Alinsky tactics are used there is simply no other way to win than to beat them at their own game.
So how can we battle them on their pet issues of mental and moral superiority? First, regarding intellectualism it is often quite easy to poke holes in the arguments of the so-called intelligentsia. One way to do this is to use common sense. Frequently, the left over-thinks (or is it really under-thinking?) things to the point of absurdity, and claims pseudo-science to be scientific fact. You must call them on it when you see it.
Some examples of the absurdity of pseudo-scientific claims by the Left
Four months to avert irreversible changes in our climate:
We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet. If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters. Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest even violence could follow. – –UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, 11 August 2009
I guess we’re down to three months now. This is obviously ludicrous. In a world where it is impossible to predict the weather with any certainty even a day ahead of time it is ridiculous to think we can predict the long term fate of our climate is predicated on a four month window for action.
For those of you who enjoy math and mathematical proofs as I do, I would encourage you to consider Heisenberg’s principles of chaos and their application to complex systems such as the earth’s weather. Additionally, a review of Godel’s proofs would be in order. Mathematical models of weather systems that are capable of producing provably correct results simply do not resist, and there is ample evidence that the mathematical proof that they cannot exist is correct.
Four years for the President to Save the earth.
The Guardian.co.uk declared without a hint of irony, “President ‘has four years to save Earth’ US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster.” The article states,
“Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration, he added.”
Placing questionable environmental concerns above human life.
Those of you who watched recent coverage by Sean Hannity of the Government caused drought in the San Juaqin Valley in California will be familiar with what the CAPoliticalNews.com refers to when it says,
“The state’s water emergency is unfolding thanks to the latest mishandling of the Endangered Species Act. Last December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued what is known as a “biological opinion” imposing water reductions on the San Joaquin Valley and environs to safeguard the federally protected hypomesus transpacificus, a.k.a., the delta smelt. As a result, tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched.”
Species go extinct every day. It is a part of the evolutionary process, which progressives hold so dear. There is no way to save species destined to go extinct, and doing so is often our arrogant intrusion into the evolutionary process. Yes, there are times when we must use all the science at our disposal to save the environment, and certain animals, but we cannot and should not seek to save them all.
Perhaps this quote from Capitalism.net can offer some context:
While it is not necessary to question the good intentions and sincerity of the overwhelming majority of the members of the environmental or ecology movement, it is vital that the public realize that in this seemingly lofty and noble movement itself can be found more than a little evidence of the most profound toxicity. Consider, for example, the following quotation from David M. Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service, in his prominently featured Los Angeles Times book review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature:
“Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line–at about a billion years ago, maybe half that–we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth.
Absurd, over the top claims for animal rights.
Recently, President Obama chose Cass Sunstein as his new Regulatory Czar. There have been numerous quotes from Sunstein that have given rise to serious questions about his beliefs and understanding of science and the Constitution. Perhaps the wildest is this quote:
“We could even grant animals a right to bring suit without insisting that animals are persons, or that they are not property. A state could certainly confer rights on a pristine area, or a painting, and allow people to bring suit on its behalf, without therefore saying that that area and that painting may not be owned. It might, in these circumstances, seem puzzling that so many people are focusing on the question of whether animals are property. We could retain the idea of property but also give animals far more protection against injury or neglect of their interests.”–Cass R. Sunstein, Martha C. Nussbaum. Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions. (Oxford University Press, USA, 2004). P. 11 
Past radical claims:
Newsweek claims in 1975 we face a certain ice age.
“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now.”
“To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”.
The Washington Post also made such claims.
“The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts. Dr. S. I. Rasool of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Columbia University says…”
The New York Times printed several such articles.
In May of 1975 the New York Times predicted an imminent return to an ice age.n 
These are just a few examples of how wrong the elite intelligentsia can be while smugly cloaking themselves in their supposedly rational belief in pseudo-science. It should be noted that the left has been promoting some version of climate change that will lead to a lack of food and/or water for decades. It is worth asking who would gain, and what they would gain from this push of pseudo-science, but that discussion is for another time.
Dealing with the Left on issues of Race.
It is quite easy to goad the left into making errors in the area of race. I firmly believe that racism is the purview of the left more than the right. If nothing else, their constant obsession with it would seem to indicate that they are overcompensating. The recent remarks of former President Jimmy Carter are a perfect example of this. While claiming that Americans who oppose the policies of President Obama are in a large part racist he speaks the code of old southern racism, and his history demonstrates a less than stellar record on civil rights. He has used the image of African-Americans to paint his opponents in a bad light, and has a long history of what many would consider anti-Semitic beliefs and comments.
Lessons learned from Dambisa Moyo. I would encourage all of you to learn the work of Dambisa Moyo and her work for Africa. In a nutshell, she demonstrates that state aid to countries in Africa may be well intended, but it creates nations that are corrupt, financially disparate, and dependent upon outside aid. She is not talking about donations to people, she is referring to state aid. This is an important distinction for the importance of her work.
The analogy this provides us is quite remarkable. What clearer demonstration could there be that those who seek to treat people as though they cannot do for themselves are in fact condescendingly practicing a thinly veiled racism that traps and enslaves people rather than liberating them? Clearly, this is the same way in which Liberals use identity politics and promises of hand outs to keep minorities and the poor dependent upon them.
We have seen that the first Alinsky tactic is a matter of perception, and that it has been used by the Obama Administration and by the Left in general to make them appear more powerful than they really are. This perception then allows them to co-opt actual power if their methods are not revealed, and their claimed “facts” go unchallenged. With each of the tactics we must learn to recognize it when we see it, and with many of the tactics we must learn how to use them as well or better than our opponents if we wish to succeed.
Next time we will cover rules two and three, which go hand in hand. Rule two says, “Never go outside the experience of your people.” Rule three says, “Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.” That’s next time.
 Alinsky, Saul Rules for Radicals. Toronto: Vintage Publishing 1971
 Obama Declares White House Candidacy. Available at: http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/2/10/113431.shtml?s=tn [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf (application/pdf Object). Available at: http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf [Accessed September 18, 2009].ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf (application/pdf Object). Available at: http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 Vichy Democrats: Breaking News: Clinton Claiming Widespread Fraud By Obama, Ramping Up Legal War To String Out Primary. Available at: http://vichydems.blogspot.com/2008/03/breaking-news-clinton-claiming.html [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 Another Report of Improper Obama Caucus Tactics – TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime. Available at: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2008/3/12/155450/725 [Accessed September 21, 2009].
 Caucus Strategy Bolsters Obama’s Bid for White House – Watching Washington Blog : NPR. Available at: http://www.npr.org/watchingwashington/2008/02/caucus_strategy_bolsters_obama_1.html [Accessed September 21, 2009].
 The Great Seal of Obamaland? – The Caucus Blog – NYTimes.com. Available at: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/20/the-great-seal-of-obamaland/ [Accessed September 21, 2009].
 The Weekly Standard. Available at: http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/06/is_obamas_great_seal_illegal_1.asp [Accessed September 21, 2009].
 President Obama ‘has four years to save Earth’ | Environment | The Observer. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/18/jim-hansen-obama [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 CA Political News | show. Available at: http://www.capoliticalnews.com/blog_post/show/3013 [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 The Toxicity of Environmentalism. Available at: http://www.capitalism.net/Environmentalism%27s%20Toxicity.htm [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 Sunstein quote file.pdf (application/pdf Object). Available at: http://stopsunstein.com/media/pdf/Sunstein%20quote%20file.pdf [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 Newsweek on the cooling world. Available at: http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming. Available at: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/access/144703752.html?dids=
U.S.+Scientist+Sees+New+Ice+Age+Coming[Accessed September 18, 2009].
 ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf (application/pdf Object). Available at: http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/ny-
times-1975-05-21.pdf [Accessed September 18, 2009].
ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf (application/pdf Object). Available at: http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/ny-times-1975-05-21.pdf [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 Jimmy Carter’s racist campaign of 1970 | Washington Examiner. Available at: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Jimmy-Carters-racist-campaign-of-1970-59499482.html [Accessed September 18, 2009].
 Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa. Available at: http://www.dambisamoyo.com/ [Accessed September 21, 2009].
A short note: the background and the first rule are definitely the driest part of our total discussion, and perhaps the least useful. However, it sets the critical framework, which will enable you to understand the rest. In essence – this is the vegetable portion. Dessert comes later.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Saul Alinsky and his now famous Rules for Radicals. The way in which his ‘rules’ are applied in large part today constitutes a bastardization of his original intent, and many of those using his rules are precisely what Alinsky swore he would never be-namely, ideologues.
To truly understand his tactics it is necessary for us to understand at least a little about the man himself. Alinsky (1909-1972) cut his teeth in the rough and tumble 1930’s in Chicago. Coming of age during the Great Depression shaped a great deal of his thinking as it did for so many of those who lived through this most traumatic of times in American history.
By 1939 he had begun to work with Labor to right what he saw as injustices in the ‘back of the yards’ in Chicago made famous by his predecessor Upton Sinclair. Having worked across the nation for the labor movement, he turned his sights on the black, ghetto communities in the 1950’s. Other than his allegiance to labor, he never sought solidarity with any political or religious group, feeling that his independence of thought would be compromised were he to join such organizations with their rigid dogmas.
The original intentions of Alinsky were quite laudable. He saw injustices, and indeed there were many injustices to be sure, and he sought to right them. He saw downtrodden workers and oppressed people, and sought to bring about a social justice with them and for them. Few would have a problem with such goals. I certainly see them as admirable. But as usual in life, things are not quite so simple. What started as a crusade to help the less fortunate somehow morphed into a strategic battle plan to turn the conditions of wealth and poverty upside down, and in the process Alinsky lost sight of any value in the morality of the means involved, and instead espoused only that the ends were worthy of consideration no matter how horrible the process might become .
Many have called him an avowed Marxist or communist, but such characterizations are neither completely accurate, nor are they fully explanatory of the nature of the man and his methods. At times he could wax patriotic in the vein of a Thomas Paine, and just as easily he could seek the overthrow of the Government and the ascension of the underclass to power by any means necessary. Alinsky stated that his philosophy was beyond mere Marxism, but that he sought similar ends is irrefutable.
They’re still using Alinsky tactics
“Obama has a strong arts agenda, we were told, and has been very supportive of both using and supporting the arts in creative ways to talk about the issues facing the country. We were “selected for a reason,” they told us. We had played a key role in the election and now Obama was putting out the call of service to help create change. We knew “how to make a stink,” and were encouraged to do so”
(Michelle Malkin’s Web site).
While the fact that the NEA is being manipulated by the President is troubling to say the least, I want to call attention to a specific part of the above quote. It says, “We knew ‘how to make a stink,’ and were encouraged to do so.” This could not be a more glaring reference to Saul Alinsky. From Alinsky’s biography by Sanford D. Horwitt we have this excerpt,
“…Alinsky later recalled with delight the community uproar in Rochester that greeted his suggestions as to what might be the only way for poor blacks to get the attention of the smug, self-righteous establishment: they should purchase a large bloc of tickets to a performance of the Rochester symphony-but, just before arriving, they would all get together for a huge baked-bean dinner so that at the symphony, Alinsky deadpanned their presence could not be ignored”(Horwitt,Let them call me Rebel, p. xv).
And Alinsky himself delighted in the story in his book Rules for Radicals. He says, “Here you could have a combination not only of noise but also of odor, what you might call natural stink bombs” (Alinsky, Rules for Radicals p. 139). In his description of his methods he encourages the underclass, lacking financial resources, to harness numbers and to raise a stink. So I think we can see that the Alinsky tactics have been firmly entrenched into the entire structure of the Obama campaign and Administration – right down to the NEA. Their recent attempts to target individuals and freeze them have been documented in some of my former posts. I will not retread that ground here.
Designed to destroy,not build. There are several reasons, but they all spring from one central concept: Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals were designed for an oppressed underclass (or more appropriately in Alinsky’s thinking, Plebeians – ala Karl Marx) to bring down the Capitalists who were ‘oppressing” them. This is a recurring theme with Obama, his friends, his appointments, and his supporters. Alinsky begins his book with these words,
“What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be”(Alinsky, Rules for Radicals p. 3).
You may or may not recognize those words from Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention where she quoted them almost verbatim as coming from the mouth of Barack Obama the very first time she met him. Here’s the video:
The thesis of Alinsky’s book is that the oppressed underclass can use the strengths they have to change America, and they need not simply permit those with the money to trample upon them. In some sense this is an admirable goal, but Alinsky takes it to the extreme. He ceases to concern himself with any sense of morality, and instead chooses to concentrate on change by any means necessary, with the end justifying the means.
Inherently Inconsistent. Alinsky may have started his book with the line about a ‘world as it should be’, but he never gets around to providing a structure or framework for such a new, more just world. He never seems to see beyond the struggle. It’s as though there is no sense that his side could ever actually win. Ironically this violates his own principles and tactics. Again, it is the twelfth rule that always trips up those who use Alinsky; probably because it tripped up Alinsky himself.
The twelfth rule says, ” The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Alinsky never planned for a process or any tactics to follow if victory was achieved. If the enemy actually agrees, Alinsky is stuck with no explanation for his actions.. If suddenly people agree, Alinsky offers no next step. Obama has fallen into this same trap more than once. For a good explanation of how the twelfth rule has bitten Obama recently see The American Thinker article here.
Likewise, the Obama Administration has been left with no ‘constructive alternative’ when everyone agrees that there is a need for improvement in America’s healthcare system, and differs only on the method by which it should be accomplished. Instead the void has been filled by angry townhalls, a traveling teaparty, and a scheduled march on Washington D.C. on September 12.
Vacation. With Congress in recess, his polls in free fall, and the American people rising en masse against the perceived Government intrusion of the various plans stuck in both Houses, Obama chose to take a vacation. Perhaps not the worst strategy. It seemed that every time he spoke his ratings dropped and the divide over healthcare reform widened. The overwhelming sense was that the President had failed to articulate a clear vision of what he wanted healthcare reform to look like.
A good summary of how ineffective Obama was on defining his message is summed up well in the following video by Cable News’ highest rated personality-Bill O’Reilly:
Counter-Offensive. While Obama is on vacation the strategy has been to organize against the townhall response. The following video catches an Obamacare supporter actually coaching the recruits how to shout down townhall protestors:
So clearly the strategy is to rely on old-style Alinsky tactics for now. Perhaps when the President returns from vacation, a new strategy will have been developed. Whether it departs from the prescribed Alinsky methods used thus far remains to be seen.
One thing seems certain. Unless Obama takes a page from the Clinton playbook and begins to move towards the center there is no way for him to win in the present environment. If he pushes healthcare reform through with ‘reconciliation’ he will only further enrage the already disenfranchised right and the newly disenfranchised Independents. It he fails to get enough for the left, even the so-called camel’s nose under the tent (a small step towards Publicly run healthcare that lays the framework for further action later) the left is not inclined to support the President.
Alinsky would continue to attack, pressure, ridicule, and polarize. Will the President continue that unsuccessful and divisive approach, or will he find a new way to do things? A way that would mean a huge departure from everything that has gotten him this far. It’s hard to say, but the next few weeks and months are certainly starting to look interesting!
The primary document for this post is an article from the left-leaning online newspaper The East Bay Express. They offer what they think is a glowing recommendation of (Anthony) Van Jones, but in the process they reveal a great deal about his radical Marxist beliefs and endeavors. 
On Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 12:37 PM Van Jones was announced on the White House Blog as the new “Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at CEQ.” The more popular title ascribed to him today is Obama’s Green Czar. His mission is to lead the Obama Administration in creating an entirely new energy economy and in particular to create and develop so-called “Green Jobs”. The Blog then goes on to describe Van Jones in glowing terms, but never bothers to mention that he is an admitted communist who has spent most of his adult life spreading Marxist ideas.
In what appears to be an attempt to introduce Van Jones on the national stage, The East Bay Express tells the story of a young African-American who grew up in poverty, and sought to effect change,and to bring fairness and fiscal equity to the poor neighborhoods of Oakland, CA. In the course of the story we are informed that Jones chose to go to Yale Law School. What they do not tell us is how a poverty stricken young man such as Jones was able to suddenly attend one of the most prestigious and most expensive places of higher learning in the nation.
Such things probably do not really bother far left online newspapers, but it is stark when in the course of painting Jones’ biography The East Bay Express says,
“Jones had planned to move to Washington, DC, and had already landed a job and an apartment there. But in jail, he said, “I met all these young radical people of color — I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’” Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. “I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary.” In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th,” he said. “By August, I was a communist.”
According to the article, Jones had been swept up during mass arrests at a celebration of a not guilty verdict for some involved in the Rodney King riots in LA. But prison is the least of the things that jumps off the page. “By August, I was a communist.” To this day, there is no record that Van Jones has ever disavowed those beliefs.
To the contrary, his background indicates a deep rooting in Marist philosophy. In 1994 Jones was a part of the formation of a radical group called ‘Standing Together to Organize a Radical Movement’ (STORM). It is through the document describing this organization that we learn just how deep the roots of Marxism run in Van Jones.
Let me just give you a few quotes from the STORM summation entitled “Reclaiming Revolution”:
- “And disputes – primarily among the three committed anarchists and the six committed communists – had driven many to the more politically experienced and ideologically committed revolutionary Marxists out of the study process.” (p.9)
- “For many STORM members, the integrity of the investigation was proof of the usefulness of Marxist tools (e.g. Mao’s principle of “No investigation, no right to speak.”) in solving real-life problems.” (p. 13)
- “We spent the next six months studying together. We tried to draw out the strengths and limitations of different forms of organizing. We contrasted Alinsky organizing models, SNCC’s grassroots model and Marxist-Leninist methods of mass work. We worked to develop a basic understanding of Marxist and Leninist histories, theories and politics.” (p. 14)
- “Outside of the organization, a group of movement veterans intrigued by STORM’s interest in Marxist politics organized a series of study groups. STORM members, along with other young leftists, thus got a chance to study Marx’s critique of capitalism and revolutionary strategy together with trained communists.” (p.14)
- “All Core Members had to be explicitly committed to revolutionary Marxist politics.” (p. 15)
- “Later sessions covered more “contemporary” issues, including Marxist feminism, transgender liberation, and the Palestinian liberation struggle. We continued to study the Marxist tradition, including dialectical materialism and member initiated studies of Mao’s “On Practice” and “On Contradiction”. (p. 19) 
Make no mistake about it. STORM was the brainchild of Van Jones and this summation represents his thoughts on communism, Marxism, and Leninism. In fact, the words “Marx” or “Marxism” appear 89 times in a document that is less than 100 pages long! The American Spectator says, “He does not appear to have distanced himself from his past communist activities and is now part of the Obama administration’s push to turn Sept. 11 into a National Day of Service focused on the promotion of the radical environmentalist agenda.” 
Along with the American Spectator, WND online offers a link to a document advertising Jones’ anti-American Imperialism rally while the twin towers still smoldered, and thousands in New York still clung to the faint and fading hopes that their loved ones might still be alive. Worse yet, he had already organized a vigil on Sept. 12, 2001. The American Spectator says, “…self-described “communist” and “rowdy black nationalist” Van Jones, held a vigil in Oakland, California, “mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world” on the night after Sept. 11, 2001.” 
All of this would be enough for most fair thinking Americans to believe that such a man does not belong in the highest places of our Government. In fact, how can we expect a Marxist to create private industry jobs? But there is even more to disturb the senses in this appointment.
The New Yorker offers us this window into the world of Van Jones,
“Jones, who is forty, is tall and imposing, with a shaved head and a patchy goatee. He wears rimless glasses and favors dark clothing. On this particular day, he was wearing a black turtleneck, black jeans, black boots, and a charcoal jacket. He was introduced by a community organizer and aspiring rapper, who described him as “a leader with answers,” a “genius from the hood, similar to our own,” and a youthful version of Barack Obama.” 
A young Barack Obama? There are more than passing similarities. The East Bay Express says of Jones,”…and in college had discovered the black liberation theology that reinterprets the Christ story as an anticolonial struggle, he had pulled away from spirituality during his communist days.” 
Where have we heard that phrase “black liberation theology” before? Oh yes, this was the theology embraced by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright as Barack Obama sat in the pews of Wright’s church for some twenty years listening to his hateful, anti-American sermons.
From the book that has made Barack Obama rich, “Dreams of My Father” there is this excerpt:
“To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.” 
In an Op-Ed for the Boston Globe, David Alinsky, the son of ‘Rules for Radicals’ writer Saul Alinsky says,
“Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.” 
So what drew President Obama to appoint Van Jones as his new “Green Czar”? It would seem that they share some very similar and very troubling roots. Both men have shown an interest in:
- Black liberation theology
- Saul Alinsky and his ‘Rules for Radicals’
- Community organizing
It is time that President Obama and Van Jones answer to “We the people”. Van Jones, do you still espouse Marxism? If not, when did you quit believing in it? Mr. President, were you aware that Van Jones was/is a communist? If so, please tell us why you appointed him as your adviser.
1. “East Bay Express | News | The New Face of Environmentalism,” http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/the_new_face_of_environmentalism/Content?oid=290098&showFullText=true.
2. “The White House – Blog Post – Van Jones to CEQ,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/03/10/Van-Jones-to-CEQ/.
3. “STORMSummation.pdf (application/pdf Object),” http://web.archive.org/web/20070719020533/http://leftspot.com/blog/files/docs/STORMSummation.pdf.
4. “The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Van Jones and His STORMtroopers Denounced America the Night After 9/11,” http://spectator.org/blog/2009/08/29/van-jones-and-his-stormtrooper.
5. “Obama ‘czar’ on 9/11: Blame ‘U.S. imperialism’!,” http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=108180.
6. “Can a remedy serve for both global warming and poverty? : The New Yorker,” http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/01/12/090112fa_fact_kolbert?currentPage=all.
7. Obama, Barack Dreams of My Father. New York:Three Rivers Press, 1995, 2004
8. “Son sees father’s handiwork in convention – The Boston Globe,” http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2008/08/31/son_sees_fathers_handiwork_in_convention/.
When attempting to address a large group or corporation it can be very difficult to get anyone to admit culpability. For example,suppose you have a problem with Republicans. Well, Republicans are a broad group and it is easy to say things like, “I didn’t vote for that bill”, etc. In this way you are never able to pin the opponent down.
When you freeze a target it means you have chosen a single person to represent the problem, and thus you have frozen any ability to pass the blame to others (think Rush Limbaugh).
Polarizing means that you have made this person such a poster child for what you are against that anyone who opposes the same issue you do sees them as polarized (think polar opposites).
Personalizing goes together with freezing,but takes it a step further and allows you to ridicule a person in very personal ways because people perceive it as ridiculing the idea or ideas that they represent (think Sarah Palin).
I hope that helps.If you have other questions be sure to ask.
So the townhalls caught the Administration off guard for the reasons I shared in the previous article. What then does the President do? His response was to go back to his strengths. He gathered large audiences of his admiring followers and answered staged questions. He used this as an opportunity to do three things:
- Show a display of power.
- Change his message.
- Refocus and find new “targets”.
He obviously could not afford to participate in a townhall like the ones we were seeing across the country so he chose his audience carefully. The old chants of “Yes we can”, which could have easily been mistaken for chants of “Yes we’re plants” even reemerged. When in doubt, go back into campaign mode!
This afforded Obama a chance to seem “Presidential” and in control. Unfortunately for him, most Americans saw an inexperienced President who veered off his talking points and was even befuddled by a college student.
The other response is to try to change the message-repackage the same product, but make it more appealing. And so the trial balloons float out every Sunday only to be shot down either by the far left of his own Party or by the American people, and the poll numbers keep bleeding. Even after they changed from healthcare reform to health insurance reform (should have started there), the message failed to resonate and the Left erupted when the Administration toyed with the idea of dropping the public option.
The third thing the Administration did, and continues to do, is to try to refocus their efforts and find new (and sometimes old) targets to be the face of the opposition. The President has been careful to never mention Sarah Palin by name, just as in the election campaign, but he made very clear who he was referring to when he said that some people were out there talking about crazy things like “death panels”.
Somebody Needs to Keep Reminding Obama About Rule Twelve.
The twelfth rule says:
“The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying, “You’re right – we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us” (Rules for Radicals, p. 130).
I actually tweeted about the President’s failure to hold to the twelfth rule, and a few weeks later, an excellent article about it appeared in TheAmericanThinker.com (I’m not claiming credit for the idea for that article. I’m sure that author has never even heard of me). The Republicans might have been more cooperative if the President had not ended an early discussion with words that took the air out of the room, “Well, I won!” Now the GOP had only one real option, but it just happened to play right into the Administration’s weakness concerning Alinsky tactics. They have shown a repeated pattern of taking an “audacious” chance that no one will ever challenge them to come up with the real answers, and so they delegated it to Congress and the Republicans sat on their hands and watched and waited (almost conceding, ala rule 12).
As a result, the responsibility fell back to the Democrats and the Administration to clearly define what they wanted to do, and how they wanted to do it – and they couldn’t! They were, albeit temporarily, trapped as Alinsky had warned.
Before my predictions, let me clarify rule 13. What does it mean to freeze, polarize, and personalize a target? We’ve seen them do it with Sarah Palin, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others, but what exactly are they doing?
They are putting a specific and recognizable face on the enemy! When Hillary said years ago that she was fighting against a “vast Right-wing conspiracy” it did not resonate with the nation, but when the Obama campaign staff unfurled one of the most vitriolic, Alinsky-style attacks in history on Sarah Palin during the 2008 election it snowballed and quite possibly tipped the election in their favor (hence the temptation by the Left to always go back to the Palin attacks). In a later article I intend to explain why I believe Sarah Palin’s career is far from over, and why this tactic could come back to haunt Democrats.
So What Happens Next?
What will be the new approach? I’ll use my experience with Alinsky tactics to try to predict that, but remember even Alinsky himself said, “There can be no prescriptions for particular situations because the same situation rarely recurs, any more than history repeats itself. People, pressures, and patterns of power are variables, and a particular combination exists only in a particular time – even then the variables are constantly in a state of flux” (Rules for Radicals, p. 138). While you may not be able to predict the future using your knowledge of Alinsky tactics, you will see them clearly when they use them. Some have even told me that it is like having their eyes opened. Everything suddenly begins to make sense.
First, expect a continuation of the moral imperative argument, because they think this will reach Christians. This only shows how little they really know about Christians, but expect them to try to hammer it home. This is disingenuous at best considering he is staunchly pro-abortion, will not pray, has not chosen a church, has crosses covered before he speaks, and went to Rev. Wright’s Church for 20 years.
Next, I believe they will come out strong against the insurance companies. They make easy villains, and in some cases are deserving of being villainized, but they are not stopping the President’s healthcare reform, his own party is. They have the votes without Republicans, but they can’t get everyone on board for the same things. So, watch a media blitz about the horrors of how people have been mistreated by these “evil” insurance companies.
Next, expect some very specific targets, and by that I mean people not organizations such as insurance companies. I expect specific CEO’s of insurance companies to be targeted and embarrassed by the Administration for being successful, and possibly for being negligent. The negligence, if it does it exits, will be exaggerated.
Don’t expect the targets to stop there. With time for Axelrod to refocus Obama, he will return to rule 12, and realize that people can really focus blame and hate on a person more than an idea or a group. For example, attacking Eric Cantor was much more “Alinsky” than blaming the Republicans for not co-operating as the President recently did, and attacking Glenn Beck is more successful than attacking Fox News. Freeze, polarize, and personalize!
Remember the reaction chain from the previous article. Just when you think you’ve won, they’ll have a new reaction. Perhaps it will be the Trojan horse of co-ops, or perhaps something we haven’t even thought of yet, but if you’re paying attention to the rules you will recognize it when you see it.
The side that wins will be the one that stays one step ahead, and keeps the pressure on. Rule eight says, “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose” (Rules for Radicals, p. 128). You can be certain that they will. Will you?
The joker faces and LOL icons have added a flavor of ridicule that carries a bit of a bite, but do not fall prey to being goaded into racism and Hitler comparisons. Your reaction to their reaction will be the key. When they make you mad, and they will make you mad in the next few weeks, ask yourself, “what kind of reaction are they trying to get from me”, and don’t give it to them. If they try to paint you as stupid, study up and document everything. If they try to make you look angry and out of control, laugh at them.
Whatever you do, don’t let them make you stop putting the pressure on!
“The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is the unceasing pressure that results in the reaction from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction bur that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad infinitum. The pressure produces the reaction , and constant pressure sustains action.” (Rules for Radicals, p. 129)
Keep in mind also that according to Alinsky:
“The fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’ most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.” (Rules for Radical, p.128)
So what has happened that has so suddenly turned on this President, and his advisor David Axelrod (who is one of the all time greats at using Alinsky’s rules)? Well, notice that Alinsky says in the quote above that it is “almost” impossible to counterattack ridicule. He was quite careful with his language. It is almost impossible, but it is not impossible.
The President is particularly enamored with rules four, and thirteen. As a refresher, rule thirteen states, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” (Rules for Radicals, p. 130) If you look back to the general election campaign your first thought when reading this will be, Sarah Palin! Exactly right.
The Administration had become so accustomed to having everything their way that they became a little complacent in playing the rules. After all they were very successful against McCain and especially Palin(to say nothing of Bill and Hillary). Their success seemed to continue as they branded the Republicans the party of no and basically spit in their face in private while publicly touting bipartisanship politics. They moved on (pun intended) to Rush Limbaugh, and aside from a boost to his ratings they were largely successful with their new “target”. And then suddenly things started to change.
They misread how grassroots the movement in town halls really was. This was a cynical assessment, assuming that everyone knew and played by their rules. Surely it was all orchestrated by Republican Organizations (some was), and surely they would make easy targets. After all, these were mainly white Americans screaming about an African-American President and they didn’t seem that smart.
When Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer ran an op-ed in the NY Times calling the folks at town hall meetings un-American they hit the wall. They had violated their own principles. The American people respect people who speak up, and resent politicians labeling them – especially extremely unpopular politician s like Nancy Pelosi. They had chosen ridicule again, and this time they forgot that it is not only the reaction, but the reaction to the reaction.
Suddenly, Obama’s poll numbers plummeted, and the margin against healthcare reform steadily widened. It perplexed the White House at first. Where had they gone wrong? The final turning point came when the reaction from the one which they had pressured and ridiculed the most, Sarah Palin, actually led the discussion, and helped to torpedo their efforts at grabbing more control.
They had assumed that not only had they marginalized her, but that when she resigned as Governor she had placed the final nail in her own coffin. Brilliantly, she waited and waited and then just one post on new media, where Obama was supposed to rule, and things had taken the final turn. Today they are running out spokespeople to declare that they are willing to give up on the public option – the very heart of what they were trying to do.
To sum up, they forgot about the reaction to the reaction chain spoken of by Alinsky,and they fell too in love with a few favorite tactics. They thought they were bullet-proof, and they assumed they had marginalized white discontent as racialism, and Sarah Palin as a hillbilly nut-job. They were oh so wrong.
You see there is a way to defeat Alinsky principles. It is good old fashioned first amendment rights, coupled with a love for country and respect for The Constitution!