Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Obama's Rules for Campaigning, Governing

To understand the tactics used by Obama and his campaign guru David Axelrod, it's necessary to grasp the "rules" outlined long ago by radical labor organizer Saul Alinsky (in his "Rules for Radicals"). In the last campaign, John McCain and, especially, Gov. Sarah Palin faced such tactics. (In fact, Alinsky influenced both Hillary Clinton, who wrotea thesis on him, and Barack Obama.)

[Note: I'm cross-posting today with my other blog; tomorrow, I will return to offering different columns on each site.]

Supporters of Gov. Palin need to understand Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." Frankly, there's no reason they can't be used AGAINST Obama and his minions. The following points summarize Alinsky's Rules and note how Obama/Axelrod used them in the campaign -- and continue to apply them to undermine potential opponents, such as Gov. Palin.
  1. “Rub raw the sores of discontent” – in other words, get irritated people angry enough to demand change, which was Obama's mantra;
  2. Convince skeptical and demoralized people that real change is possible (“Yes, we can!”);
  3. Understand that hopefulness can overcome a sense of powerlessness; (e.g., Obama's stress on 'hope");
  4. Sharpen resentments, fan hostilities, and exploit controversies; (BO’s continual, contemptuous references to "George Bush!" and the targeting of Rush Limbaugh)
  5. Begin organizing by first disorganizing the community – to overcome complacency;
    Convince your opponent that your movement is invincible; (“This is OUR time.”)
  6. Stay within your people’s comfort zone – their limited experience (e.g., symbols are more effective than substance);
  7. Force your opponent outside his comfort zone to create uncertainty and fear;
  8. Demand your opponent obey his stated rules, which he usually won’t; (e.g., demanding that Obama's wife not be subject to any criticism -- "lay off my family," as BO said)
  9. Use ridicule to infuriate your opposition and generate overreaction (e.g., Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” reference to Palin);
  10. Apply tactics that your people enjoy carrying out (e.g., chanting slogans);
    Change your tactics regularly to keep your opponents off-balance; (e.g., wwitching attacks from Bush to McCain to Palin)
  11. Maintain constant pressure on the opposition to encourage confusion (e.g., make so many charges your opponent won’t be able to answer them);
  12. Threaten an extreme action, such as tying up a major highway, because it's more terrifying than carrying it out; (e.g., suggestions that if Obam lost, there would be “riots in the streets”)
  13. Have a constructive alternative to your opponents’ proposals; (“95% will get tax cuts”; a phony promise by Obama)
  14. Avoid vague abstractions by picking, personalizing, and polarizing the target (e.g., Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, or George Bush!);

If you go through these “Rules” line-by-line, you’ll be reminded of what Axelrod and Obama did (such as using fear and ridicule/smear tactics). You’ll also understand exactly how we must proceed to overcome Obama and his minions. Being “Mr. Nice Guy” and “Miss Nice Gal” will get us nothing.

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