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Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Tea Parties II: The Liberals in Full Alinsky Mode

When I wrote about the Krugman column mocking tea parties, I also predicted that starting today opponents of the movement would go into full Alinsky rule #13 mode. That's exactly what is happening. First, here are Alinsky's Rules number 13 for radicals again.

identify, isolate, freeze and escalate.

The most infamous example is this CNN reporter.

You'll notice the reporter quickly cuts off the citizen thus freezing him before he can make a point. At the end of the report, she openly mocks and derides the movement as anti government, anti CNN, and a shill of Fox News. This is of course standard issue isolation tactics. By marginalizing the movement as merely a shill of Fox News, you isolate the movement away from the mainstream.

(H/T to Weekly Standard) Then, there is Nancy Pelosi.

This initiative is funded by the high end; we call it AstroTurf, it's not really a grass-roots movement. It's AstroTurf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class,” Pelosi said.

Other House Democratic leaders took a different tack: One senior aide has been circulating a document to the media that debunks the effort as one driven by corporate lobbyists and attended by neo-Nazis...

In addition, the tea parties are “not really all about average citizens,” the document continues, saying neo-Nazis, militias, secessionists and racists are attending them. The tea parties are also not peaceful, since reporters in Cincinnati had to seek “police protection” during one of the events, it states.

By openly mocking the movement as full of racists, revolutionaries, and secretly funded by professional protestors (the so called astro turf reference) Pelosi, too, seeks to isolate the movement as some sort of fringe element.

As I said, the next step is the race to define the movement, and it's vital for the opposition to marginalize it as some sort of kooky and professional protestor movement.

Robert Reich refers to the movement as Kooks, Demagogues, and Right Wingers, and so he too is attempting to marginalize and thus isolate the movement.

Joe Conason's message is much the same.

If conservative leaders no longer even try to offer serious solutions to national problems, nobody should underestimate their capacity or their will to mobilize angry Americans. Behind the April 15 "tea parties" rallying against President Barack Obama's economic program -- promoted as a new phenomenon by Fox News Channel and right-wing bloggers -- stands a phalanx of Republicans whose ideology is all too familiar.

At the apex of the tea-party movement, aside from such Fox revolutionaries as Rupert Murdoch, there is a well-funded organization known as FreedomWorks, headed by a former politician named Dick Armey. His past career should be instructive to any starry-eyed citizens who believe that they have at last found the true right-wing revolutionary path.

One of the most powerful ways to isolate is to be dismissive and to openly mock. That's what is happening here. Conason paints the movement as bankrupt of any ideas. (I think the folks pushing H.R. 1207 would be the first to disagree) He links it to both the Republicans and Fox News. This is vital. If it is painted as such, then it can be marginalized as nothing more than political opponents masquerading as citizens and grassroots protestors.

David Livingstone amps up the intensity with the same sort of strategy.

It is an idea unworthy of even Ronald Reagan at his most senile: Protest against what you perceive to be an oppressive government by gathering in a public place and waving tea bags.

Evidently down to its last handful of collective brain cells, American conservatives have nonetheless plotted to do precisely this as a means of visibly demonstrating their puerile, incoherent rage against the first successful presidential administration in two generations. At the time of this writing, America is in the throes of Teabag Day – I’ll spare you the gratuitous sexual innuendo typically highlighted at this point – and one can only imagine that at this very moment, Barack Obama is anxiously pacing the halls of the White House, aghast at the prospect of such a potent display of popular rage.


Apart from a possible invasion by a half-dozen lightly armed Pillsbury Doughboys, there would seem to few forces less menacing, or less worthy of being taken seriously, than odd meandering herds of brain-damaged, tub-gutted, SUV-driving suburban garbage flailing tea bags around and ranting about a new American revolution at the behest of their distinctly Doughboyish Fox News Pied Piper Glenn Beck. We’re talking here, after all, about the lowest of the low – people who not only tune in their televisions to watch a whining, weeping, paranoiac globule of jibbering cowardice night after night, but actually swallow his political prognostications to a sufficient degree that they buy boxes of Lipton Flo-Thru tea bags and dart straight on down to city hall.

This sort of mockery and derision is boiler plate Alinsky rule #13. It is dismissive and it attempts to marginalize and thus isolate. The most obscene example of Alinsky is the open references by many commentators to the tea parties as a sexual act.

It can't be stressed enough that the mere use of Alinsky is an inherent recognition that your opponent is dangerous to your cause. The most vicious example of someone receiving the Alinsky treatment was Sarah Palin. We all remember that as soon as she was introduced the media went into a full mode of trying to paint her as a zealot, white trash, stupid, inexperienced, and on and on. This was meant to first stop or freeze her own momentum and then to isolate her. We also remember that the treatment got progressively worse and more intense as the campaign went on. This was the media's use of escalation. Palin's opponents gave Palin the full court Alinsky treatment because she was such a threat. They needed to marginalize her and stop her in her tracks because if they didn' her phenomenon would grow too powerful.

So, what comes next? We will see this get progressively more intense as the media goes into a full court press to mock the movement.


EdSki said...

Excellent post, nailed the left's strategy to a "T."

The main goal is to change the subject to anything other than the substance of the debate. That must be avoided at all costs.

The left can only rally to a purely emotional argument. They must avoid substance at every turn, because they have no substance.

Anonymous said...

Palin was mocked because she was incapable of answering simple interview questions.

Though I agree the media are not been fair on the tea parties.

The problem is Mike that for years Fox news was seen as not sufficiently criticizing Bush. The very mention of them associated with the tea parties puts off independents and moderates. Fox are not trusted.

And the other networks are not trusted. Why do all our networks have to be so partisan?

This is screwing up your movement.

mike volpe said...

That's funny. I remember Palin being mocked before she did one interview. Those weren't simple questions but gotcha questions. It's easy to be President Obama when he didn't get any tough questions.

As for Fox News, who doesn't trust them? Their ratings overwhelm each of their competitors. The rest of the competition ignores them, and mocks them, and then says they are a creation of Fox News. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Yes the "faithful" like Fox because it the only Conservative biased station in America.

Obama was interviewed by O'Reilly on Fox [about as unfriednly as you can get], whereas, after her disastrous interview with Couric where her total lack of knowledge Palin was shielded from the media.

Palin is not in the same intellectual league as Obama. They should not even be compared.

You give me a break.

mike volpe said...

There are only four cable news networks, and Fox gets better ratings than the other ones COMBINED.

O'Reilly didn't try and feed Obama with a bunch of gotcha questions, that's what Couric did with Palin.

Besides, like I said, Palin was demonized and marginalized long before any interview.

Yes, Palin and Obama aren't in the same class. Palin actually has a political resume that includes accomplishments besides winning elections. Obama hasn't accomplished much of anything besides winning elections.

Anonymous said...

O'Reilly tried his best but failed.

Palin hung herslef.

Palin more comepetent than Obama -


mike volpe said...

Yeah, that's it. I guess you didn't watch Obama telling Rick Warren that the issue of when life begins is "abover my pay grade". Obama has looked plenty bad, but folks like you only remember how well he's done.