Rule 8: “Keep the pressure on with different tactics, and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”~Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
All of the Alinsky tactics dovetail together, and until you fully appreciate that, you can’t unequivocally understand the Alinsky model, but if there is one central concept around which all the others orbit it is the overarching theme that the application of pressure is the only thing that will create change, and change is always the goal.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” ~Rahm Emmanuel
To the average sensibility, this quote from Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel seems oddly detached from our normal emotional reactions in times of tragedy. The word psychopath leaps to mind, but Rahm is no psychopath. He is just so fully immersed in the teachings of Alinsky that applying Alinsky principles is a reaction that requires no thought, and so any natural consideration of humanitarian concerns simply becomes irrelevant as it dissolves into “the greater good”. Of course, whose definition of “the greater good” we’re using would seem to be a pertinent consideration, and will be the subject of future posts.
As I explained previously in The Alinsky Reaction Chain, the principle purpose of all the tactics is to keep the pressure on your opponent. This requires a litheness and fluidity of approach that means even the tactics themselves are subject to change or abrogation if the end can be accomplished more quickly, or more easily by some other means. We will investigate in later posts just how important this issue of means and ends is in the Alinsky paradigm.
So the object is to keep the pressure on; be relentless; be ruthless if necessary, but win at any cost. No tragedy or misfortune is out of bounds if it can be employed to achieve your end goal. If you are utterly and completely convinced you are correct then surely you should leave no strategy untried to attain such noble goals. In this context, it is easy to understand the corruption, sell-outs, and backroom deals concomitant with the ramming through of Obamacare, as well as the seeming inconsistencies between noble goals and amoral means used to attain them.
Obama demonstrated his fidelity to Alinsky tactics over and over throughout the Presidential campaign of 2008, and continues to use them in the White House.
During the campaign Obama applied Alinsky tactics repeatedly; here are a few examples of his use of the eighth tactic:
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” ~Barack Obama
“I want you to argue with them, and get in their faces.” ~Barack Obama
The general intent of the eighth tactic is this: if you’re convinced you’re right, and the consequences of your opponent winning are too dire for you to consider, you are obligated to do whatever is necessary to ensure that your side wins. The messy, corrupt process of passing Obamacare stands as a stark reminder of what Alinsky tactics look like when used to Govern. This isn’t just politics as usual. This is politics without even a consideration of the possibility that the morality of means might be relevant in the process of bringing about change.
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There is a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of American Exceptionalism these days, and much of it stems from the remarks of two Presidents.
Reagan referred to American Exceptionalism with the following profound words:
…I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still…
Contrast this with President Obama’s response to a reporter’s question about American Exceptionalism at a news conference in Strasbourg, France, in April 2009. The President’s response was, “”I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism,” Clearly the two men see a different America.
So what it so exceptional about America anyway, and are we being egotistical to laud this land as a beacon beyond any other?
I would encourage you to read the full entry at wordIQ.com because it presents many of the gray areas, and contrasting views surrounding the use of this language, but I present here only the first paragraph of that article to illustrate the way most Conservatives view American Exceptionalism:
American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States and the American people hold a special place in the world, by offering opportunity and hope for humanity, derived from its unique balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom.
To many of us, this great experiment in Liberty continues to be that shining city on a hill of which Reagan spoke, and it continues to be the last, best hope for a free and prosperous world. Those who are quick to see America’s faults, but somehow miss her greatness do not see it this way.
It would seem that Progressives see America and her faults, and ask, “How dare she call herself Exceptional?” Conservatives, on the other hand, see America and her faults and ask, “How dare we allow America to be less than Exceptional?”
The longer version of something I’ve been tweeting for many months – Barack Obama’s plan to destroy America:
1. Bail outs for banks who help him and to control companies.
2. Socializing medicine.
3. Controlling the world’s finances through Cap and Trade.
4. Allowing illegal aliens into America and granting them amnesty for votes.
5. Giving rights to terrorists and using euphemisms instead of force.
6. Suppressing free speech at first by threat and joke and then by law.
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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!