John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Calm Down Everyone

Posted on September 18, 2009

Calm Down Everyone


            There is a very interesting story in Politico today about the tactics used by conservative activists to protest President Obama’s policies.  The article, by Andie Collier, “Conservatives Use Liberal Tactics”, (, shows how the right-wing has read Saul Alinsky’s playbook, and is now using it to great effect to disrupt the left.


            It has so confused and scared Democrats, that Speaker Nancy Pelosi teared up just thinking about it yesterday.


            I guess payback is all fair in politics, but to be quite honest with you, I have never like protest politics.  I hated it when the anarchists did their deal with the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle.  I thought it was disrespectful and outrageous when the left called George Bush a fascist, a Hitler, a baby-killer, a murderer, and when they burned him in effigy.  And I don’t like it when conservatives carry signs showing Barack Obama as an African Witch Doctor.


            I think all of these tactics show no class and diminish civility in this country.


            But I can’t help but be amused by the Democrats complaints about these tactics.  After all, they invented them.  Well, actually, Saul Alinsky did.


            And Barack Obama studied under Saul Alinsky.  He loves the guy.  Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals is undoubtedly on the President’s book-shelf somewhere.  So he knows what conservatives are up to.  And if he doesn’t, he can ask his Secretary of State, who wrote her college senior thesis on the book. 


            Here are some of those rules:

4. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."

5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."

6. "A good tactic is one your people enjoy."

7. "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time...."

8. "Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose."

9. "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself."

10. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign."

11. "If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside... 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.  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.'...


            Conservatives, especially those who are organizing the Tea Parties, are adapting these tactics to protest the President’s aggressive efforts to take over the economy.  And guess what?  It has worked.  It has scared the Democrats, it has mobilized the people, and so far, it has carried the day.


            I don’t like Saul Alinsky.  I don’t like radicalism.  I don’t like protest politics.  I would hope that everybody could just calm down. 

But what is good for goose is good for the gander.  And gander's agenda is just about to get cooked.



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