11/4/09

Not a referendum on Obama

Can't anybody here play this game?

Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'. It's the handbook of the New Left. Barack Obama used it to school Republicans just a year ago. And Rules cut both ways.

The anti-socialist movement, starting with Rick Santelli's rant in February, began to employ Alinsky's Rules to gain traction against Obamunists.

Twenty-something videographers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles - students of Saul Alinsky's Rules - took down the union-backed fraud group called 'ACORN' where all GOP efforts had led to nothing.

Did Republican leaders and strategists miss the memo? Power Tactic Rule #13 has had plenty of publicity. If you are not playing by the new Rules, you surrender. You deserve to be out the game.


from Ramesh Ponnuru, NROnline: A Republican Strategist's Take. I just spoke to a smart one. He pours cold water on the idea that the elections were a referendum on Obama. "Obama's numbers in Virginia are not that bad. He's not upside-down, that's for sure." (That is, more people rate him favorably than unfavorably.) "I guarantee you that McDonnell got a lot of votes from people who approve of [the job Obama is doing]." He takes the vote to be a rejection of many of Obama's policies. But he adds, "I don't think that Republicans should come away from this and think that all that we have to do in 2010 is run against Obama. McDonnell had a very vigorous policy agenda."
Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com


Rules for Power Tactics:

1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
3. Whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.
4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
5. Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside.
12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Because Alinsky was sensitive to criticism that he wasn't ethical, he also included a set of rules for the ethics of power tactics. You can see from these why his ethics were so frequently questioned.

Rules to test whether power tactics are ethical:

1. One's concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one's personal interest in the issue.
2. The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
3. In war the end justifies almost any means.
4. Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
5. Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.
6. The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
7. Generally, success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
8. The morality of means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
9. Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition to be unethical.
10. You do what you can with what you have and clothe it in moral garments.
11. Goals must be phrased in general terms like "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," "Of the Common Welfare," "Pursuit of Happiness," or "Bread and Peace."

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