Republicans Flub The Double Reverse Alinsky

For degree of difficulty, I’ll give them a ten, but Republicans are far too incompetent to have risked the political Jujitsu required by their recent exercise.

Saul Alinsky was an activist and author who has been called the founder of modern community organizing. He is said to have been an early influence on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. His book, Rules For Radicals, outlined a program for effecting social change by building organizations that restored the balance of power from the elite to the people.

Early in last year’s presidential campaign, Republicans sought to exploit Clinton and Obama’s connection to Alinsky, implying that there was something frightful about his advocacy of empowering the poor and middle classes. More recently, his name has begun to reappear in a new, seemingly coordinated assault on the President, the press, and any stray progressive activist that might saunter along. The problem is that these conservatives swing so wide of the mark that they only succeed in making asses of themselves. Their approach is so pedestrian that not only do they fail to make their point, the point they make is often antithetical to what they intended. For example…

Jim Geraghty wrote an article for the National Review, The Alinsky Administration, that seeks to associate Obama with the first of Alinsky’s rules: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. But Geraghty’s limited comprehension distills the concept down to nothing more than the allegation that Obama is a politician who seeks to attain power. Shocking, isn’t it?

Geraghty: “As conservatives size up their new foe, they ought to remember: It’s not about liberalism. It’s about power. Obama will jettison anything that costs him power, and do anything that enhances it.”

In addition to missing Alinsky’s point entirely, Geraghty also contradicts the vast conservative confederation that has been hammering away at Obama precisely because of his intransigent liberalism. So while everyone else on the right is trying to convince us that Obama is taking us down the road to Socialism, Geraghty contends that the ideology is expendable in the pursuit of power.

Then Geraghty turns up on the Hannity show and invokes his version of Alinsky’s fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. But in making his case, Geraghty has uncovered a heretofore unknown conspiracy that is under the direction of Obama:

Geraghty: “[H]e’s got everything from ‘The Daily Show’ to ‘The Colbert Report’ to, you know, liberal bloggers, entertainers, Bill Maher. He kind of outsources that aspect of the Alinsky operation.

It may come as a surprise to Jon Stewart et al, to learn that they are mere puppets of the White House Overlord. The administration’s army of comedians must keep a lot of Republicans up at night. And, Heaven knows, the President himself loves to laugh. Bill O’Reilly also picked up the ridicule angle and added NBC as an instrument of Obama’s plot:

O’Reilly: “Enter far-left philosopher Saul Alinsky […] Before he died, Alinsky wrote a book called ‘Rules for Radicals,’ and here is where the politics of ridicule was defined. According to Alinsky, in order to change America into a far-left bastion, traditional Americans must be marginalized.”

Of course, O’Reilly made up virtually all of that. Alinsky not only did not advocate for marginalizing “traditional Americans,” he was their biggest advocate. Then again, O’Reilly’s definition of a traditional American is a wealthy, white, Christian, corporatist, social Darwinian, who gets off on torture and loofahs. But my favorite part, personally, is where O’Reilly says, “Before he died, Alinsky wrote a book…” As opposed to the books he wrote after he died? Thanks for making that distinction, Bill.

If the Republicans are sensitive to being ridiculed, it is only because they make it so easy. However, their disingenuous sniveling is hard to take seriously when they are just as guilty of the practice as the left. O’Reilly has a daily feature on his show wherein he calls people pinheads. The RNC repeatedly cranked out campaign videos mocking Obama as a celebrity, a media darling, or “The One”. Glenn Beck has a recurring series on the “March to Socialism”. Rush Limbaugh devotes most of his daily three hour rant to nothing but ridiculing one Democrat or another. The Internet is awash with images of Obama as everything from a terrorist to a Messiah to Hitler.

The flood of references to Alinsky is threatening to drown out all other political discourse. It has been taken up by everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Michelle Bachmann to Karl Rove. When you hear Republicans condemn Democrats for some breach of civility, you can lay odds that they are doing the very same thing. Their capacity for projection is legendary. This is no less true with regard to their allegations concerning Alinsky’s rules. But their execution is atrocious. They are so bad, in fact, that they are even contradicted by their own side. Last year, John J. Pitney Jr., also writing for the National Review, penned a column entitled, “The Alinsky Ticket,” wherein he exposed the real perpetrators of this pinko scheme:

Pitney: “Radical activist Saul Alinsky has had quite a season, especially for somebody who has been dead for 36 years. The two Democratic finalists had Alinsky links […] But the candidates who have most effectively applied Alinsky principles are John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

Well, now the cat’s out of the bag. Pitney dropped the dime on the GOP. How can they assail Obama and the Democrats for a strategy that they are employing themselves? Actually, they can do it very easily. In fact, it is rule number one in Karl Rove’s Rules For Reactionaries: Conduct a campaign of dirty tricks, but accuse your opponents of doing it first.

Rightists are now trying to adapt that rule to Alinsky’s teachings, and to disparage Obama and the Democrats. Unfortunately, their ineptitude is so advanced that they can’t execute a successful program. All they are accomplishing is a reaffirmation of their own desperation and lameness. Nothing illustrates this better than the recent proposal by the RNC to rebrand Democrats as the Democrat Socialist Party [shakes head and sighs].

Watch for more hilarity as Republicans continue in their quest to complete the perfect Double Reverse Alinsky – no matter how many times, or how miserably, they fail.


7 thoughts on “Republicans Flub The Double Reverse Alinsky

  1. For the record, Here are Alinksy’s rules:

    Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.
    Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.
    Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.
    Rule 4: Make opponents 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.”
    Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.
    Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”
    Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.
    Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”
    Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.
    Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”
    Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

  2. Mark: about that “before he died, Alinsky wrote” line: do you think O’Reilly – perhaps unconsciously – intended to create a link between the book and Alinsky’s subsequent death? A cause-and-effect relationship in which the book somehow led to his death, either as a result of the strain it caused him to write it or even as cosmic punishment for having done so? That O’Reilly’s viewers would receive the implication on a subconscious level as well? Or was it just lousy sentence construction as is typical of O’Reilly, who had no discernible motive to bash Alinsky whom he was quoting admiringly in advocating that conservatives adopt his tactics for their own purposes?

    • I think you’re reading too much into it. I think O’Reilly is just an idiot.

  3. America will not like living under Communism.

    • Maybe so, but the real question is, will you like living in the home for paranoid, Glenn Beckified, psychotics? Have you checked under your bed for commies lately?

  4. Forgive me, Mark for I have sinned. It has been several days since my last comment. I am a faithful adherent to the progressive ideology and yet I have never read Alinsky. Since I now know that these rules were written like the words of the Bible (maybe etched in stone?) I know I should follow them. Written words are so powerful. I only wish republican statesmen and right-leaning commentators had books and rules they followed with religious-like faith. It seems unfair that we have all the media AND all the tomes to guide us…

    • Yes, it is too bad that Republicans don’t have anything like a “Bible” that can guide them. Where do you suppose they could get a “Bible” of rules to live by? Maybe there is “Bible” that has already been written a couple thousand years ago that they could adapt to their needs. Jesus, you’d think they would have thought of that?

      Go and sin no more.

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