Washington Democrats have a playbook and they are sticking to it.
The playbook: "Rules for Radicals," written by Saul D. Alinsky, is at the cornerstone of the pro-left movement in the U.S.
From Sec. of State Hillary Clinton to President Obama, Alinsky's influence can now be felt across the country. Is it the change we need?
Clinton wrote her thesis on Alinsky and was later offered a job from the man as he was looking for a community organizer to move to Chicago and establish grass-roots organizations to reform the city. Clinton declined and chose to attend law school.
Seventeen years later, another young honor student was offered a job as an organizer in Chicago. Barack Obama, a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate, was hired to organize black residents on the South Side.
Both Obama and Clinton, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, have used the Rules as guidelines to attempt to transform the country from what it is, or was, into what they think it should be.
Alinsky's book begins:
What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.
“The first step in community organization is community disorganization,” Alinsky, who died in 1972, said.
Alinsky writes that through hope and resentment, organizers can create an army which continues to recruit from churches, labor unions, gangs and other community organizations.
Here are Alinsky's rules:
RULE 1: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from 2 main sources - money and people. "Have-Nots" must build power from flesh and blood.
RULE 2: Never go outside the expertise of your people. It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
RULE 3: Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
RULE 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
RULE 5: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
RULE 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
RULE 7: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Don't become old news.
RULE 8: Keep the pressure on. Never let up. Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
RULE 9: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
RULE 10: If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive. Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
RULE 11: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem.
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
The rules are simple and are being followed by some Democratic leaders. Example: Rule 12 in relation to the health care debate.
"Mobs," "Right-wing extremists," "Nazis," "Un-American" - these are what you are called when you question health care reform. This is said by our leaders about hard-working Americans with questions. It was said of our elderly who are worried about Social Security and Medicare.
As Americans, it is incumbent on us to watch our political leaders and demand they hear our voices. It becomes even more important when the mainstream media fails to play watchdog for us.
Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn