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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

President Obama Vs. the Tea Parties and Fox News?

On tax day, President Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, somewhat famously said that the president was unaware of the mass demonstrations. Today, at a townhall event, President Obama finally did acknowledge the tea parties. (H/T to Hot Air)

Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, “let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”

“But,” Obama continued, “let’s not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act.”

Now, first, let's deal with the substance of his statement. His budget shortfall for the first year is nearly $2 trillion. The stimulus was only $787 billion and so there is another more than one trillion dollars well beyond the stimulus in deficit spending. The president wasn't paying much attention to the tea parties apparently. The stimulus was only one small piece of the protest.

The protest was about out of control government spending. The kind that brings nearly two trillion in deficits in one year. It includes a bloated stimulus, bank bailout, mortgage bailout, an omnibus spending bill with nearly 8000 earmarks, and a budget that is nearly $4 trillion for the year.

President Obama has inherited a bloated budget deficit of about half a trillion and more than tripled that. Who exactly are we supposed to protest for this massive government expansion if not those in charge? As is now a pattern, the president has created a straw man to misdirect from the issue at hand.

More importantly though is the very fact that he acknowledged the tea parties and the Alinsky like manner that he tries to marginalize them. The not so subtle reference to Fox News is very important. This is standard operating procedure of the Alinsky tactic of marginalizing your opponent. The manner he does it in essentially attempts to marginalize both the tea parties and Fox News all at once.

Remember, Alinsky rule 13 is identify, isolate, freeze and escalate. That he acknowledged the tea parties effectively accomplishes the first, identify. By marginalizing both the tea parties and Fox News, he tries to isolate both. (by marginalizing both as fringe elements against his agenda) This is meant to freeze their momentum and the next step is to escalate the attacks.

That both the tea parties and Fox News are getting the Alinsky treatment not only from the MSM but now from the president himself should be a badge of honor and also a sign that they are effective. Alinsky used his tactics on forces more powerful than those he lead. As such, the president is inherently acknowledging that the tea party movement is a formidable force against his agenda.

More than that, the president has now effectively demeaned a grassroot group of voters. Furthermore, he has lowered himself into a verbal battle with citizens whose only sin apparently has been to disagree with his agenda and to speak out against it. This is a situation to be watched. If the president is wise, this will be the last time he speaks ill of the movement. Presidents have little to gain from attacking citizens and voters. The gain even less by lowering themselves into a verbal battle with their critics. Alinsky's tactics worked well for those with little other power. They don't work well for the most powerful person in the world.


Anonymous said...

You are a fringe movement.

He just stating facts.

Alinsky, Alinsky, Alinsky who doesnt jive with your agenda

Haven't you got anything better to say?

mike volpe said...

If "we're" a fringe movement, why even acknowledge us at all. Why is the President even acknowledging a "fringe movement" at all?

How does a "fringe movement" get nearly one million people out to protest all on one day?