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Fighting Fire With Fire

Politico has a rather interesting article on how the tactics of Saul Alinsky are being used today -- especially by those who not only consider Alinsky their ideological mortal enemy, but his very tactics repugnant.

First up, there's nothing per se wrong with using an enemy's tactics -- especially against that enemy. Three of Nazi Germany's greatest innovations were unrestricted submarine warfare (especially the use of "wolfpacks" of subs), the blitzkrieg, and the Autobahn. All three were cheerfully adopted by the US, to tremendous success.

Second, there is a delicious irony in taking one of one's opponent's favorite tactics and using it against them. There's a whole "hoist by one's own petard" sense of schadenfreude when you see your enemy's favorite weapon blow up in his hands.

Third, it's entirely consistent with Alinsky's own rules. They are remarkably nonpartisan. This is just an application of Alinsky's Rule 4 -- ""Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." They have declared these tactics legitimate, so they have no grounds to howl.

Finally, it's worth noting that the Tea Party movement -- by accident or design -- has managed to successfully circumvent the most potent of Alinsky's rules. By not having a clearly-defined leadership, the "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it" falls kind of flat. Also, the "ridicule is man's most potent weapon" is failing -- the use of juvenile sexual slurs agains the Tea Partiers never really took hold among the general public, as the general public is not too comfortable with tossing around terms like "tea-bagging."

The Politico article boils down to "They're using our best weapons against us! And worse, it's working!"

Damn straight it is. And I don't think I've ever heard a sweeter sound than that of those stuck pigs.


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Comments (31)

"They're using our best wea... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"They're using our best weapons against us! And worse, it's working!"

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait til we use reconciliat... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Wait til we use reconciliation and the slaughter rule against them.

Alinsky is his own alter eg... (Below threshold)
914:

Alinsky is his own alter ego!!!

Would calling Barney Frank ... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Would calling Barney Frank a tea-bagger be considered offensive, or complimentary?

Patience is needed at this ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Patience is needed at this time. The dem's have done plenty in the last few days to demonstrate to the electorate that they care not what they think. All we need to do is remind the electorate. ww

Well, there's a problem wit... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Well, there's a problem with Rule 4. When you decide to make the enemy live up to its own rules, those rules become your rules as well. In fact, depending on how insistent you are, you become more bound to them than your opponent was at the start. That's why the complaints about the lack of transparency and the culture of corruption in Washington are even more effective now than when Democrats made them an issue in 2006 & 2008.

So, essentially, you are fighting on your opponent's home turf. Applied to ideology, whatever victory you achieve is likely to be pyrrhic, as you will have reinforced their principles and values at the same time as you tear their current leadership down.

Rule 4 definitely can be ap... (Below threshold)
VaGal:

Rule 4 definitely can be applied to Dems. Since the Dems always try to position themselves as representing the "little guy", the poor, the downtrodden, etc., I think Conservatives are in a great position to point out exactly what the Dems have done for(to)them. Detroit, CA, Chicago would be a good start. I have been suggesting all conservatives study Alinsky since the election and it's great to see the rules used against the progressive agenda.

There was GREAT celebration... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

There was GREAT celebration in Washington today as the Obamassiah signed the Health Care Reform Act. No longer will 45,000 people die each year WITHOUT insurance (according to the Democrats). Their bill will cost $940 BILLION over 10 years.

WHY DON'T ALL THE BENEFITS START NOW, ALONG WITH THE TAXES? Heck, this bill is going to reduce the deficit by $120 BILLION!

Let's get those people on insurance TODAY! People cannot wait until 2014! THEY ARE DYING IN THE STREETS!

Where is the compassion? 123 people will die NEEDLESSLY today!

"Would calling Barney Frank... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"Would calling Barney Frank a tea-bagger be considered offensive, or complimentary?"

GianiD, neither. You would be engaging in hate-speach. But don't forget, when they refer to you as a tea-bagger they are just using a term they've heard tea partiers use to describe themselves.

I know, your head feels like it's spinning now, but it's all about context. Context, a close friend of nuance.

It will be very entertainin... (Below threshold)

It will be very entertaining to see the jug eared chain smoker's sissy reaction to the bully tactics used in reverse should the majority he hates throttle his moonbat majority.....know what I mean?

We clenched tight but it still hurt so bad because I guess our crappy current health care system doesn't provide enough free KY and novocaine to all of us.

I say his diapers will be more full of you know what than his lies are.

Well, there's a pr... (Below threshold)
Well, there's a problem with Rule 4. When you decide to make the enemy live up to its own rules, those rules become your rules as well. In fact, depending on how insistent you are, you become more bound to them than your opponent was at the start. That's why the complaints about the lack of transparency and the culture of corruption in Washington are even more effective now than when Democrats made them an issue in 2006 & 2008.

So, essentially, you are fighting on your opponent's home turf. Applied to ideology, whatever victory you achieve is likely to be pyrrhic, as you will have reinforced their principles and values at the same time as you tear their current leadership down.

I don't think so. The point is that your rules are different. When you point to the enemy failing to live up to his own>/b> rules, you are not saying that they are valid, just that the enemy is a hypocrite.

"Would calling Barney Fr... (Below threshold)
JJ:

"Would calling Barney Frank a tea-bagger be considered offensive, or complimentary?"

GianiD, neither. You would be engaging in hate-speach. But don't forget, when they refer to you as a tea-bagger they are just using a term they've heard tea partiers use to describe themselves.

I know, your head feels like it's spinning now, but it's all about context. Context, a close friend of nuance.

I think you're both a bit off the mark. Calling a heterosexual a "teabagger" would be offensive and hate speech. Calling Bawney a "teabagger" is just factual.

Morons like the poster in #... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Morons like the poster in #13 above will steadfastly avoid facing the truth.

Obama is still polling with over 50% thinking that he's doing a crap job. Now there comes a poll showing that 72% of DEMOCRATS think that the US economy is going to collapse.

When 72% of your own party thinks that you suck so bad that you are driving the economy into the ditch and 89% of the rest think that you are doing it on purpose it is not likely that the opposition will dissolve and go away. The opposition is just getting more resolve to continue the fight no matter what. There hasn't been the whining that you see when dems lose. There has been a steeling of resolve. There has been action with people lining up to support the opponents of those who voted for this injustice.

Look at what has happened to Stupak's opponent. Look at the dem candidate for Indiana Senate. He voted for the bill and he is plummeting in the polls now behind by 18%. November will be a disaster for the dems. With 72% of their own party feeling that the economy is collapsing I don't expect a big economic turnaround coming to save their asses.

Saul wrote the rules, Barry... (Below threshold)
914:

Saul wrote the rules, Barry enacts them.

Correction: That should ha... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Correction: That should have been 84% not 89%.

Oh and Americans believe 3 to 1 that Obama's deficit is a greater threat to this country than islamic terrorism.

They said that if we elected Obama that we wouldn't have to fear from terrorism and they were right!

TaxSucker really irritates ... (Below threshold)
glenn:

TaxSucker really irritates the folks who toss the term teabagger around. Use it as often as you like.

"Soon there will not even b... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Soon there will not even be a Republican Party."

Didn't you say that same thing last November? Perhaps you'll define "soon"? Better yet, why not wait until the November elections. You may want to revise your estimate.

What's happened to honesty and integrity? Why the need to post under more than one name. Oh, wait, my bad. We're talking about SAUD/JPO. Never mind.

Ouch!<a href="http... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Ouch!

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/03/8-predictions-for-health-care/37826/

Megan McArdle intends to keep the leftists' feet in the fire. They made claims, she's going to see if those claims are verified. Now those who made the claims are crying 'foul!'.

This is a fine example The ... (Below threshold)

This is a fine example The Turd Boomerang Principle in practice.

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

President Obama signed the Senate health care bill into law Tuesday. He did not sign the executive order on abortion negotiated with Michigan Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak in an 11th-hour arrangement that may well have saved the entire health care reform effort.

A White House official told Fox, Obama will not sign the Executive Order Tuesday and has set no specific date to do so. Stupak predicted Obama would sign the order later this week. The White House said only that Obama would sign the order "soon."

I really hate to break this... (Below threshold)
Burt:

I really hate to break this to everyone, but insured people die also. It has been said that birth is a fatal accident, that will kill you eventually.

Burt, the version I've hear... (Below threshold)

Burt, the version I've heard and prefer is "life is a sexually-transmitted disease that is 100% fatal."

J.

but...but..ObamaCare passed... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

but...but..ObamaCare passed! Death has been vanquished! After HE was elected 'the seas halted their rise, temperatures moderated and the air became clean again'. HE said so! HE IS THE OBAMASSIAH!

Even the insured eventually... (Below threshold)
Hrothgar:

Even the insured eventually die from heart failure.

I can only hope that the sheeple manage to stay awake until November, but with immigration reform and cap and trade in the chute and coming down fast, we may be overwhelmed. Besides, all you have to do is bribe 51% of the potential voters (and with billions of stimulus money left, all with transparent open accounting of course) that won't be hard.

If Barry thought health car... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

If Barry thought health care was a battle, just wait. Crap & Tax is dead in the senate. Too many Democrats from coal states. Might as well slit their throats in the senate chamber than vote for that....either that or just wait until they go back home, the miners are not gentle folk. If immigration reform was TOO HOT when the economy was good, imagine what it will be now. Roughly 17+ million (total short/long term) unemployed are not going to look kindly on it. Look for Barry 'to try' (ie, he'll make a speech). Nancy will brag that Crap & Tax already passed the House (although House members getting close to the mid-term elections might not like her bringing it back up). Nancy will 'study' immigration reform until after the elections.

I don't think so. ... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:
I don't think so. The point is that your rules are different. When you point to the enemy failing to live up to his own>/b> rules, you are not saying that they are valid, just that the enemy is a hypocrite.
Which is why absolutely no one is upset that the Dems are opaque, corrupt, and not the slightest bit interested in fiscal responsibility. Yup, people recognized that they were just calling republicans hypocrits on these matters, not actually intending to fix anything. Hence, the country is compeltely passive and ok with what's going on in Washington. Not a sign has been written in protest.

Strangely, people don't really care if you're a hypocrit on issues that do not matter to them.

I was rudely presented with... (Below threshold)
Maddox:

I was rudely presented with a bill for my prescription at the Walmart pharmacy today.

I though the great big %#@$ing deal in Washington today meant health care was now free?

I told them to send the bill to Obama but they didn't seem amused; must have been some of his supporters. I paid but will forward the receipt right to the White House for a refund tomorrow.
I hope you will all do the same with your health care expenses.

Sprinkle a little Cloward P... (Below threshold)
clearmind:

Sprinkle a little Cloward Piven on Alinsky and you have a cesspool of socialism rushing from all points on the compass and being brought with every cause imaginable vying for funds as they gather every slum rat boogie slob along the way. ACORN was the fly paper for collecting the riff-raff and selling the socialists they could get funds to bribe more pols. It worked over time and now Cloward-Piven has its accelerant - the POTUS and his health bill. Then he sets the next socialist target: more in the legions through reform of immigration. Use health care to tax the shit out of the system, load more debt, set-off high inflation and it only takes a year or 2 to have a third world country. Then you invite Chavez to run the oil industry and he joins the other socialist deviants in the White House. Bye, bye the America we knew.

Second, there is a delic... (Below threshold)
john:

Second, there is a delicious irony in taking one of one's opponent's favorite tactics and using it against them. There's a whole "hoist by one's own petard" sense of schadenfreude when you see your enemy's favorite weapon blow up in his hands.

Kind of like taking the "individual mandate" for health insurance, which was originally a Republican idea, and passing it against their newfound objections.

The last time Congress debated a health overhaul, when Bill Clinton was president, Hatch and several other senators who now oppose the so-called individual mandate actually supported a bill that would have required it.

In fact, says Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea. "It was invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123670612

Delicious, indeed.

Kind of like takin... (Below threshold)
Eric:
Kind of like taking the "individual mandate" for health insurance, which was originally a Republican idea, and passing it against their newfound objections.

The individual mandate was a stupid idea then, and its a stupid idea now. The Republicans finally caught on, but only a Democrat would continue to defend a stupid idea all the way to the end.

Thanks for the tip on that ... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the tip on that article. Has anyone read Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals?"

I've only read excerpts, and the text makes no bones about eschewing morality and making personal agendae the primary governing principle of the reader's life.

The excerpts I encountered were in a book I recommend, written by an FBI agent in the White House during the Clinton administration: "Unlimited Access."




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