One of the hallmarks of the Left, it seems, is the insistence that their theories are correct, that their ideology is right, and just need to keep trying and trying and trying until it finally works. The best example is communism; no matter that attempts to implement it have failed catastrophically every time, and led to the deaths of hundreds of millions, there are still plenty of leftists who insist that it can work; it just hasn’t been done “right” yet.
The current challenge the left is facing is the Tea Party movement. This is proving to be a real threat to their grand plans, and they are doing all they can to discredit and denigrate the movement.
The only problem is, they’re using the same playbook that they have for years. That playbook, of course, is Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals.”
The Rules are a diabolical collection of tactics and schemes that have shown themselves to be remarkably effective. But they have two serious flaws: the first is that they don’t work too well when the opposition knows them too. The second is that while they were couched as a plan for the left, they’re really applicable for the out of power. They’re ideologically independent, so when the Left is the establishment, they can be used quite effectively against them.
But I digress. The Left is obsessed with trying to apply these rules against the Tea Party, and can’t grasp the fundamental truth that they simply don’t work when used by the powerful against the insurgents.
The most recent example is their repeated attempts to apply Alinsky’s final rule in regards to the Tea Party:
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…
“…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’
Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, now John Boehner. They are convinced that if they can find the individual who is the linchpin to the whole Tea Party movement, and attack them, they can make the thing fall apart. That’s why the White House and the New York Times have been coordinating their attacks on Boehner the past few weeks. Boehner is positioned to become Speaker of the House should the Republicans retake it, hence the steady stream of attacks on him.
First up, should they manage to discredit Boehner enough, that won’t keep them in control of the House. Boehner isn’t running for Speaker, he’s running for his House seat. Should the Republicans retake the House while Boehner is taken down, then some other Republican will take the gavel.
Second, the Tea Party simply doesn’t give a rat’s ass about individuals. There simply isn’t a single leader or group of leaders at the top holding the whole thing together, setting the agenda, unifying the members. Yes, there are some people who the movement respects and is willing to throw their weight behind, but all of them are utterly disposable should it become necessary. Even Sarah Palin, if the Left ever succeeds in tearing her down — and I really don’t think they can.
So the Obama administration and the New York Times want to destroy John Boehner? Whatever. My natural inclination is to presume that all members of Congress are guilty until proven innocent, and I had to double-check his first name before I started writing this. Hell, I can’t even tell you what state he’s from without looking it up. (Oh, he’s a Buckeye. Color me impressed.)
One other aspect of the White House/New York Times axis attacking Boehner needs to be brought up. President Obama is incredibly thin-skinned. (Dennis Miller once stated that it isn’t the color of Obama’s skin that troubles him, but its thinness.) He takes opposition personally, and often calls out his opponents by name.
This has an unfortunate effect for him: by personalizing the fight, he portrays his opponents as his equals. He doesn’t seem to grasp that, as president, he has no peers. So when he calls out Boehner or Palin specifically, he’s placing them on the same level as he is. (We also saw this in 2008, when Obama’s supporters — and no small number of his opponents — compared Obama and Palin directly. Very few recognized that they were comparing one side’s presidential nominee with the other side’s vice-presidential nominee.) The prime result thus far of the attacks on Boehner are to raise his profile across the nation, as he’s gone from “who?” status to “the Great Satan.”
One final observation: I don’t recall where I read it, but someone noted that the White House/New York Times hasn’t really thought this whole thing through. Suppose they do manage to discredit Boehner enough to eliminate him as a contender for Speaker. That means that some other Republican representative will take the gavel. Some other House member with the respect and loyalty of enough House members and, possibly, a very high profile and popularity with the Tea Party movement.
I’d dearly love to see Obama’s face the first time he has to utter the words “Speaker Bachmann.”