January 24, 2008
Hillary and Bill Use Alinsky Tactics To Bring Down ObamaBy Kyle-Anne Shiver
Obama was up; now he's down. Even though Obama seems to be harnessing the South Carolina black vote that will give him that state's delegates, he has been feeling the brunt of the Clintons' mastery of the tactic of polarization, taught decades ago to Hillary by Saul Alinsky.
Obama is being forced into the position of being the black candidate. Successfully polarizing Obama, who has attempted to run as the anti-polarity uniter, a man in the middle, has not been a lazy-day walk in the park for the Clintons, and surely would not have been attempted if Obama hadn't trounced them in Iowa.
Alinsky's 13th rule for radicals
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Saul Alinsky taught his eager disciples that the establishment despised conflict. He blamed this perverse malady upon the dual forces of organized religion ( those turn-the-other-cheek folks) and the Madison Avenue advertising culture, which he said "emphasizes getting along with people and avoiding friction." Alinsky deemed avoidance of conflict as not only disgusting, but contrary to the betterment of a "free and open society."
The polarization of American politics that has occurred since the Clintons first forayed onto the national scene has been notable. Stirring the pot of constant agitation has been the Clintons' signature political accomplishment.
Alinsky knew that in order to force a transfer of power through the use of constantly agitated serial conflicts, there had to be a personal enemy to rally the troops round. Hillary's ill-conceived "vast right wing conspiracy" wasn't nearly personal enough, which is why it significantly failed to keep America on the Clintons' side.
In the broad scope of socialist revolution, identifying one's target for polarization can be a bit tricky, and may involve singling out the CEO of a multi-layered corporation or finding out which person in government holds the seat where the buck truly does stop, or in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, finding out just who was out to get our imperfect but lovable president.
To Alinsky, in the march to nonviolent revolutionary power transfer, identifying one's genuine enemy was entirely secondary to merely pinning the enemy tail on one donkey or another, just as long as it served to rally the Have Nots. Targets needed to be specific, but they didn't need to really be your enemy. A target simply had to be seen as a vile enemy in the minds of one's followers.
Ken Starr understands the Clintons' operational application of this principle, even if he has never read up on Alinksy. In a political campaign, however, less strategic guesswork is required. The enemy is the one running against you, who might actually win, and thereby grab the power prize for himself.
The Clintons employed their now infamous brand of tag-team Alinsky polarization in Bill's 1990 bid for re-election as Arkansas' governor. The race was pivotal to the Clintons' presidential aspirations. Without a sufficient state-government launching pad, his campaign for the 1992 nomination would not succeed.
It's pretty hard to keep a secret in Arkansas and Bill Clinton's opponent was making advertising mincemeat out of the boy governor's planned presidential bid. Many Arkansans wanted a governor; they didn't want to provide office space for a presidential candidate.
When Bill's opponent Tom McRae held a press conference in the state capitol daring Bill to come clean about his presidential designs and agree to an open debate, guess who showed up to crash the conference and attack McRae? Of course, it was Hillary.
And naturally, rather than deny the substance of Bill's presidential aspirations, she instead loudly brought the press' attention to an instance where her husband had been present and accounted for in Arkansas, but McRae had not. "I mean, I think we oughta get the record straight...," Hillary blasted. And McRae stood before her stiff and speechless.
Barbara Olson summarized the tactic:
And again, in 1992, when Bill's campaign seemed in danger of derailment by the accusations of one Gennifer Flowers, it was Hillary who tag-teamed the press into submission, by first acknowledging that her husband had caused pain in the marriage, and then by shaming questioners with female pleas for privacy.
For 2008, the Clintons have simply exchanged positions. They are, however, using the same tactical maneuvers that have kept them out of jail and in public office for 30 years.
Alinsky's 5th rule: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon
Last December, Bill Clinton appeared on the Charlie Rose Show in a long interview that finally got around to the Presidential election. Bill Clinton had very complimentary things to say about all of his wife's opponents, save one.
On Barack Obama, he delivered one ridiculing statement after another, while playing the genteel, elder statesman. Here's a sampling:
"It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule." (Rules for Radicals; p. 128)
While Bill handled the ridicule angle from his lofty position as a former president, Hillary dispatched lesser surrogates to begin thinly veiled personal attacks against her chief rival. The pattern was set in the Muslim accusation and the drug-use reminder gambits.
A campaign professional or volunteer made a charge against Obama, either before cameras or in an email. Then, Hillary made a show of firing the person.
Both of these attacks was personal, aimed not at Obama's stand on any issue, but on his character.
A perfect example of Alinsky personalize-your-target tactics.
End Game: Racial Polarization
It is obvious now that the Clintons have seized upon race as Obama's potentially lethal vulnerability. They had probably hoped they would not have to use Obama's race against him to create a white backlash of electoral victories, but that point is now moot.
By attacking Obama's authenticity as a new icon for African-Americans, the Clintons understand full well, I believe, that the black community will rally to Obama, thereby demonstrating to the broader electorate that it's been about race after all.
The first racial blow, of course, was Hillary's. She failed to adequately acknowledge MLK's stature by stating that it took LBJ to get the Civil Rights Act into law. This was confirmation that they would use any and every means necessary to achieve a second co-presidency. Everyone who knows anything about Democratic Party politics of the last 40 years, knows that any slight whatsoever of MLK is tantamount to blasphemy.
Once Hillary secured her victory in New Hampshire by playing the sympathy card with female Democrat voters, she dispensed tag-team champ, Bill, to Nevada. Behind the scenes, Hillary supporters filed suit to have the special casino caucus sites declared illegal. When a reporter asked Bill Clinton if that might have the effect of disenfranchising culinary workers, the majority of whom are minorities, Bill verbally clobbered the guy, displaying his infamous temper. The reporter backed off.
In Monday's SC debate, Hillary invoked Obama's work for a Chicago slumlord, referring to Anthony Rezko, who will stand trial in February in Chicago on several corruption charges. Rezko is indeed a slumlord, and his is another tawdry tale emitting from that veritable cesspool of political corruption, Chicago. Obama's law firm did represent Rezko, Obama did know him and has received a great deal of campaign finance from him, which he claims to have returned.
Her particular use of the word, "slumlord," was a way of accusing Obama of betraying his own people.
Having instigated this quite uncivil conflict, Hillary has gone on to campaign in states with bigger-bang delegate counts, and left tag-team champ Bill behind in South Carolina to schmooze the black citizens, whom they have both done all they could to alienate.
Party elders seem so concerned over the possible fractures to their special-interest coalitions, that some are begging the Clintons - even in public - to clean up their act and cut it out with the low-body blows against Obama.
Here's my advice to the Democrats:
If one doesn't like the sight of blood, but wants to play politics with the Clintons, it might be best to invest in blindfolds.
Of all the amoral things the Clintons have done over the past 30 years, tag-teaming Obama on his race is the most dastardly, in my opinion.
Not only to Obama, but to America.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.