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Monday, April 13, 2009

Krugman, the Tea Parties, and Alinsky Rule #13

Ever since I have done some investigative reporting on ACORN, I have become much more familiar with Alinsky's Rule #13 for radicals. Here is the rule.

identify, isolate, freeze and escalate.

Variations of this can be found everywhere. For instance, Rush correctly pointed out that the manufactured feud that the president created against him was straight out of this handbook. The goal of the Obama administration was to marginalize Rush, isolate him, and then make him the face of the Republican party and thus do the same to the party at large.

So, now we have this column by Paul Krugman.

But here’s the thing: the G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now. That didn’t stop Republicans from taking control of both Congress and the White House. And they could return to power if the Democrats stumble. So it behooves us to look closely at the state of what is, after all, one of our nation’s two great political parties.

One way to get a good sense of the current state of the G.O.P., and also to see how little has really changed, is to look at the “tea parties” that have been held in a number of places already, and will be held across the country on Wednesday. These parties — antitaxation demonstrations that are supposed to evoke the memory of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution — have been the subject of considerable mockery, and rightly so.

But everything that critics mock about these parties has long been standard practice within the Republican Party.

It's interesting that Krugman takes on the tea parties so directly. That's because the chosen method of his employer has been to ignore them entirely. That's their tactic to take on their opponents. Their chosen method is to merely give the tea parties no coverage in hopes that their message won't get out without the Times moving it.

Krugman gives a standard issue Alinsky Rule #13 in the space of three paragraphs. He has identified his opponent, the tea parties. He mocks them as some fringe element that is doing the bidding of the Republican Party. As such, he has isolated the tea parties. By going after their message, he freezes them because he attempts to use the message of the parties against them. The only thing left is escalation which will no doubt come after the 15th.

Alinsky's rules have variations of success. One thing is certain. If you feel the need to use them, that means that you have identified an opponent that is clearly a threat. The irony is this. As he mocks them as a fringe element with no power or message, he inherently gives it the respect of both by employing Alinsky tactics. After all, if it truly was some sort of fringe movement with nothing of substance, he would ignore them like his employer.

Opponents have of course mislabeled the tea parties as some sort of extension of the Republican Party. In fact, the folks that show up are likely more fed up with Republicans than Democrats. We expect the Democrats to tax and to spend, but expected better of Republicans. The Tea Party movement is entirely grass roots. It's entirely citizens and individuals. It's based on a philosophy not a political party. It remains to be seen if it is identified properly or if the media will try and marginalize them as Republican shills (and thus accomplish the isolate portion of Alinsky's #13).

What is however clear is that Paul Krugman clears sees the Tea Parties as a threat to the agenda he champions and the Alinsky like column is proof of that inherent belief.


Anonymous said...

Well we will see who is right over the coming months/years.

Will it fizzle out or grow in importance and popularity?

Time will tell.

Until you both sound like propagandists for your own agendas.

mike volpe said...

If I am issuing propaganda, then you will have to find specifics. I analyzed Krugman. I didn't propagandize about tea parties.

Anonymous said...

Of course you will deny you are a propagandist for this movement.
Despite your blog being full of posts talking it up. [short memory or something??]

I am sure Krugman will also deny he is a propagandist for the liberal left.

mike volpe said...

I don't know what "full of posts" means, and frankly, the number of posts is not indicative of being a propagandist. I have a lot more posts on mortgages but that doesn't make me a propagandist on mortgages.

I still haven't seen anything from you about a specific piece of propaganda.

ricci moore said...

i love how liberals have "enlightened discourse" with "like-minded individuals" while anything vaugely conservitive is "hate speech" "practicing the politics of division" and "propaganda supporting the failed status quo".

Anonymous said...

One year later and have things changed?