Constructing the buzzword 'extreme': Alinsky rules 11 & 13
By Frank Salvato web posted October 4, 2010
If you are paying attention to the politics surrounding the midterm elections – and, for the good of the country, you should be – then you have, no doubt, heard almost everyone from the Left side of the aisle using the word "extreme" where the Tea Party is concerned. To a lesser extent they use it to describe the Conservative movement as a whole but without doubt, it is the descriptor of choice when anyone of the Liberal or Progressive persuasion talks about the Tea Party. This tactic comes straight from the Progressive playbook.
I have been saying since before Barack Obama was elected president that if you want to understand the tactics being used by the Progressive Left you have to read two books: Boss by Mike Royko and Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.
The first, Boss, examines the genesis of the Chicago Machine – Mayor Richard J. "The King Maker" Daley's Chicago Democrat Machine – and Chicago style politics. It is important because it not only sheds light on how "The Machine" came to be, but how it operates. Barack Obama, Dick Durbin, Rahm Emanuel, Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky, to name but a few, are all products of "The Machine." "The Machine" has been responsible for the election of every Democrat president since John F. Kennedy.
The latter, Rules for Radicals, outlines the guidelines for growing and advancing the agenda of the Progressive Left. It outlines thirteen specific rules that the Progressives commit themselves to from birth, at least that's the way it seems. They are:
1. Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the expertise of your people.
3. Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.
4. Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
5. Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
6. A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10. Develop operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11. Push the negative...every positive has its negative.
12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.
Combined, these two books not only define the "game plan" used by the Obama campaign team to attain the White House – and the game plan they will no doubt employ during the midterm elections and the 2012 General Election, but provide an ideological window through which we can understand how the Progressives have moved everything from healthcare to the Great Society and before that the New Deal.
Two rules that are coming into play this midterm election cycle are rules eleven and thirteen, what many would consider the most effective of Alinsky's rules:
11. Push the negative...every positive has its negative; and
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.
In pushing the negative and personalizing a target – in this case the Tea Party movement – Progressive and Liberal operatives employ the tools of buzzwords and talking points. To be fair, both sides of the aisle use these tools, but a quick look at "the rules," a book written before Lee Atwater arrived on the scene, provides conclusive evidence – in rules five and eleven – that Progressives not only own their birthright, but refined the tactic of deploying them to a level of potency not seen before in American politics.
The word Progressives and Liberal Democrats are employing in an attempt to not only shock and frighten independent and undecided voters but to misinform and deceive the total of the American electorate, is, "extreme." The Republicans running in the 2010 midterm elections – and especially the Tea Party-backed candidates – are, they say, "extreme." Progressives and Liberals are banking on the probability that many will hear the label enough times that it will be believed without examination. They do so with the added benefit of having a mainstream media that is extremely (no pun intended) reluctant to questioning the claim.
That said, even a cursory comparison of the definition of "extreme" and the tenets of the Tea Party reveals that something isn't quite right where calling the Tea Party "extreme" is concerned.
The question begs to be asked, which is more "extreme," a larger government that employs a greater number of regulations on personal choice and the free market system; which requires an ever increasing amount of taxes for the purpose of administering programs for which they make the rules – rules that can exclude certain demographics based on race, religion or economic status, or a smaller constitutional government that provides limited but potent oversight over the citizenry and the private sector while facilitating a maximum opportunity for each and every citizen?
A larger more intrusive government has the ability to, among a plethora of other things:
▪ Limit what you can do and say
▪ Limit and control what the private sector can produce and sell
▪ Limit what you will receive in return for your taxation, i.e. Medicare, Social Security, national defense and, now, healthcare
▪ Mandate how much you will pay to the government in taxes to support entitlement programs for which you may not even be eligible
▪ Limit your protection under the law based on an ever changing set of criteria, i.e. equal protection under the law in general and equal protection under Civil Rights law to be specific.
Limited government, or government that recognizes the Charters of Freedom – The Declaration of Independence, The US Constitution and The Bill of Rights – as being created to limit the powers of government to those enumerated, avoids the frailty of the human element that allows for the creation of elitist factions, the elevation of despots and the egotism and narcissism of tyrants. It protects the people from government by limiting what government can inflict on the people.
So, which is more "extreme"?
Limited and Equitable Taxation & Fiscal Responsibility
Again, which is more "extreme," a government that can recklessly impose a financial burden on its citizenry (read: taxation) that, in turn, facilitates the bringing about of a societal catastrophe that until now only existed in the fiction of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, or a government that is committed to operating inside a set of boundaries; the boundaries of a balanced budget derived from honest and equitable taxation of the citizenry?
A government allowed to expand beyond the boundaries of a fiscally responsible balanced budget; that can borrow from foreign nations to the point of no return; and which can expand and extend debt beyond the boundaries of future generations, is a government that possess the ability to tax the citizenry into government dependence; that can create an economic catastrophe that could damage the nation beyond recovery.
A limited government, that derives its fiscal mandate from the enumerated powers of the Constitution; that operates within the constraint of a fiscally responsible budgetary process; and that, essentially, "cuts up the credit cards," allows for the citizenry to keep more of what they earn, which, in turn, allows the citizenry to spend, to purchase, to engage the private sector market place, thus creating competition and value in the marketplace, while fulfilling the constitutional obligation to "provide for the common defense" and "promote the general Welfare."
Again, which position is more "extreme"?
The Constitutional Process
My wife Nancy, who literally cherishes the American Constitution and the whole of the Charters of Freedom, has said on any number of occasions that the United States Constitution is the tool, the instrument, by which opportunity for all – every man, woman and child of every race, religion and background – is possible; it is what we all have in common; the noble mechanism that binds us together and at the same time makes us unique, not only as a people, but as a system of government. To that almost perfect statement I add that it is only when we deviate from the Constitution that we affect inequity, favoritism, bias and the dangers of factionalism, corruption and tyranny of the elite.; only when politics usurps constitutional government do we get into trouble.
If we all quest for a maximum amount of freedom, if we all value liberty and the right to remain free in our choices and actions, in our lives, do we not want a government free from inequity, favoritism, bias and the dangers of factionalism, corruption and tyranny of the elite? If we recognize that man is flawed, that human nature does not always find our fellow man and/or our elected officials doing what is right, what is honest, what "promotes the general Welfare," then our government must have boundaries that they cannot usurp. These boundaries are established in the US Constitution.
If we jettison the Constitution and the limitations it mandates for our Republican form of government we literally invite the deterioration of our government by virtue of the frailties of man and human nature. If we allow elected officials to change the rules without the consent of the governed, to abandon good government for self-absorbed political opportunism, to ignore the constitutional process when it benefits their own motives and the motives of special interest factions, then are we not facilitating a catalyst for establishing legislation that promotes inequity, favoritism and bias while courting the dangers of factionalism, corruption and tyranny of the elite?
I ask, yet again, which is more "extreme," adhering to our constitutional process or gambling with our children's future by allowing for even the slightest possibility of tyranny in government?
The Progressives, Liberal Democrats and the operatives that work on their behalf – and even some liberal and establishment Republicans – are doing everything in their power to demonize the Tea Party. They are attempting to smear a group of people who vow to enact limited government, limited and equitable taxation, fiscal responsibility and adherence to the constitutional process, should they be elected to office. And to what end? So that we can experience more of the same tax-and-spend generated debt, more divisive and opportunistic special interest politics and more out-of-control government expansion?
The smearing of the Tea Party as "extreme" isn't a Democrat v. Republican issue. It isn't a Conservative v. Liberal issue. This is an issue that pits forces that would "fundamentally transform the United States of America" into a government based on Democratic Socialism, against those of us who believe that the system of government best suited to preserve individual freedoms; that preserves liberty and justice for all –regardless of race, religion or economic demographic, is found in the limited government that only the United States Constitution and the Charters of Freedom can afford.
My argument made, please, ask yourself, honestly and selflessly, which position is actually more "extreme?"
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting Network and on NetTalkWorld Global Talk Radio catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. Mr. Salvato is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.