by John Hawkins | April 13, 2012 9:42 am
Saul Alinsky was a brilliant man. Evil, but brilliant. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, everyone on the Left from the President on down is playing by his rules in the political arena. Not all liberals have read his book or know his name, but his tactics have become universal. Sadly for conservatives, when two evenly matched forces go head-to-head outside of a fairy tale, the side that tries to play nice usually ends up with its head in a box. So, don’t lie or become an evil person like Alinsky, but learn from what he wrote and give the Left a taste of its own medicine.
Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people.
…The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.
…the fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
…the fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
…the sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
…the seventh rule is: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
…the eighth rule: Keep the pressure on.
…the ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
…The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
…The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
…The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. – Rules for Radicals
1) Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. Boycotts have fallen out of favor on the Right because the Left has used that tactic to target conservative radio. This is a mistake. That’s because there are a lot more conservatives than there are liberals and we’re much more capable of using the tactic effectively. There are roughly 120 million people who identify with conservatism in this country and almost twice as many Christians. When there are threats that Christians and conservatives will refuse to go see movies, stop buying products, or cancel subscriptions, it will scare some people straight. That threat should be used and carried out much more often.
2) Never go outside the experience of your people. Want to know why Republicans are so terrible at reaching out to minorities? Because identity politics works really, really well and conservatives tend to oppose it on principle. So, white Republicans are constantly trying to go outside of their experience and reach out to minorities who are generally disinclined to listen to them because they have the wrong skin color. When the GOP accepts reality, adopts the tactics of the Democratic Party, and starts paying off our own Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons to reach out to minority groups and call Democrats racists, we’ll start making inroads with minorities for the first time in decades.
3) Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. The GOP often foolishly retreats from social issues. This is a huge mistake in an era when 76% of the country is Christian and most liberals find sincere Christian beliefs to be repellent. We don’t have to preach at anyone, wag our fingers, or turn into legions of Ned Flanders, but we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about our Christian beliefs, stick up for Christians who are under attack, and hammer the Left for its anti-Christian bigotry. Conservatism is a pro-Christian ideology and liberalism is an anti-Christian ideology. We should never be afraid to drive that point home.
4) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. This is something conservatives have gotten much better at in the last few years, but we seldom take it far enough. If we did, a tax cheat who advocates higher taxes could certainly never be our Treasury Secretary, Barack Obama would be afraid to associate with race hustlers like Al Sharpton or one percenters like Warren Buffet, and Al Gore would have either given up his mansion or his status as the leader of the cult of global warming.
4A) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. Conservatives have a tendency to try to win every debate with logic and recitations of facts which, all too often, fail to get the job done because emotions and mockery are often just as effective as reason. The good news is that liberals almost never have logic on their side; so they’re incapable of rationally making the case for their policies while conservatives can become considerably more effective debaters by simply adding some emotion-based arguments and sheer scorn to their discourse. This has certainly worked on Twitter, where conservatives keep making the Obama campaign look like buffoons by taking over its hashtags.
6) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. Sometimes Republicans get too serious about politics. Why not hold a fund raiser at the gun range? What’s wrong with having Kid Rock or a bunch of popular country musicians play at a massive voter registration drive? How about building some giant puppet heads of our own, featuring Nancy Pelosi injecting botox into her face or Barack Obama punching the Pope in the stomach? A little controversy and a fun draw in the eyeballs and gets people excited.
7) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. This one seems self-explanatory, but in practice, it can be tough to keep things on a timeline. This is what happened to the Occupy Movement, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Republican race for the presidency, too. If it goes on too long, people sour on it whether it’s a war, an election, or a tactic.
8) Keep the pressure on. Conservatives fall down on this one all the time. Just when Obama’s SuperPac was starting to feel real pressure over taking a million dollar donation from Bill Maher, conservatives eased up. This is also why liberal film stars feel so comfortable trashing conservatives, Christians, and Americans — even right before their film comes out. It’s because we get offended, shrug our shoulders, and then almost immediately let it go. Sometimes, an apology doesn’t fix everything. How often do liberals accept an apology at face value and let an issue go?
9) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. How about we treat the Left to some of its own medicine? Libs throw a pie at a conservative author on campus; then we promise to shower every liberal speaker on the same campus with garbage. They post a conservative address online; we post two liberal addresses online. They hold a protest at someone’s house; then we hold a protest at someone’s house. They hit one of our politicians with glitter; we hit one of their politicians with coal dust. Liberals have a mentality that says, “Everything we do is harmless, but everything conservatives do is potentially dangerous.” Yet, we’re usually too well behaved to copy their tactics. Mimic those tactics once or twice and the Libs will freak out so hard that they’ll start declaring it to be off limits for everyone, including their own activists.
10) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. When you launch an attack, tie it in as part of a theme and never stop hammering the theme as long as it’s true and it works. John Kerry is a flip-flopper, Bill Clinton is a liar, Barack Obama is bankrupting the country and wrecking the economy — tie your attacks into themes that can be picked up on social media, talk radio, cable TV, and in the blogosphere over the long haul. Why does McDonald’s keep running ads? Because it may be that 50th ad or 100th ad you see that gets you to go buy a Big Mac, just as it may be the 50th or 100th time someone hears that Obama is bankrupting the country and wrecking the economy before it sticks.
11) If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside. The winner in politics is almost always whoever is on offense. Liberals understand this in an intuitive way that most conservatives don’t. We think because we have this wonderful, honest, logical response to a charge that we’re scoring major points — but, except in rare cases, it’s not true. If you’re spending all of your time refuting the charges that you’re extreme, racist, hate women, and despise the poor — you’re losing. That’s because some people will assume where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and disbelieve you no matter how good your explanation may be. Additionally, if you’re busy defending yourself, you can’t go after the other side. Defend when you absolutely have to, but make sure most of your time is spent attacking relentlessly attacking.
12) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Honestly, this is more of a liberal problem than a conservative one, since liberals always seem to be clamoring to rip out some functional necessity of American society so they can replace it with an ill-defined hodgepodge of ideas that they think will shift power their way or be less “mean.” Our ideas work; so coming up with a constructive alternative is seldom a problem.
13) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Conservatives tend to do well with this one until they get to the last part. Polarization is at the core of the Left’s strategy. According to liberals, if you’re conservative, you hate blacks, Hispanics, gays, Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, the middle class, the environment, and probably a half dozen other groups I’ve forgotten. Even when something is in front of our face, conservatives shy away from polarization. What’s wrong with pointing out how hostile the Democratic Party has become to Christianity? Why not point out the truth: that most white liberals are racists who think black Americas are too stupid and incompetent to compete with white Americans, which is why they push Affirmative Action and racial set asides? Why not note that liberals want poor Americans to stay poor and dependent, because as long as they do, they’ll keep voting for the Democrat Party? There’s a reason Barack Obama bows to foreign leaders, is constantly apologizing for America, attended an anti-white, anti-American church for 20 years, and it’s why his wife was proud of the country for the FIRST TIME because she thought it was going to elect her husband. The sad truth is that these are people who hate and despise this country. What do you think “hope and change” appealed so much to Obama that he made it his theme? When you look at America as an evil, racist, unfair, horrible place to live inhabited by ignorant trash and “bitter clingers,” what else would you do other than hope for change? If you love this country and the values it represents, the people in the White House not only don’t share your values, they hold people like you in utter contempt.
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