From a memo re. "best practices" for infiltrating and disrupting town hall meetings on health care reform and energy policy:

• Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: "Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington."

• Be Disruptive Early And Often: "You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early."

• Try To "Rattle Him," Not Have An Intelligent Debate: "The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions."

Read more about the origin of these tactics at Think Progress...

Anonymously Nine's picture

Break out the fainting couch

Origin of these tactics? You cannot be serious.

You have to be kidding.

Here is the origin:


Chicago baby. It started in Chicago.

In the 1930s, Alinsky organized the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago (made infamous by Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle for the horrific working conditions in the Union Stock Yards). He went on to found the Industrial Areas Foundation while organizing the Woodlawn neighborhood, which trained organizers and assisted in the founding of community organizations around the country. In Rules for Radicals (his final work, published in 1971 one year before his death), he addressed the 1960s generation of radicals, outlining his views on organizing for mass power. In the first chapter, opening paragraph of the book Alinsky writes, "What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."

Tommy T's picture

Ya'll are SO busted. So much

Ya'll are SO busted.

So much for "grassroots"....

Ward Dorrity's picture

Sauce for the goose...

You rats hate it when you have your own "Rules for Radicals" thrown back in your dirty little collectivist faces, don't you?

We're just getting started.

I have questions - and a video camera.

Tommy T's picture

If you're using Saul

If you're using Saul Alinsky's playbook, does that mean that you're hypocrites as well as thugs?

From Freeperville:

"Dodd came out later. I was furious

Dodd is getting health care now for his cancer that most Americans WONT be able to get under this plan.

He slowed down his car leaving while we chanted CHRIS DODD, SWIM TO CUBA or chanted DUMP CHRIS DODD

He motioned for me to go over, and I did NOT want to exchange greetings with him. I told him HE should get the same health care as the rest of us and how HE would most likely be denied his own surgery.

He tried to be friendly and ask questions and I refused, I told him he was destroying the country and he waved me off, looked disgusted and drove off.

Yeah, I was angry. Wish I wasn't so."

Go ahead - bring on the Sturmabteilung. It'll just make you look in public like the thugs you are in private.


Tommy T's picture

Oh, and by the way, Ward -

Oh, and by the way, Ward - if you're so anxious to "Go Galt", get off the grid, cash in (link...) for the $5,000 it'll net you, and go live in Galt's gulch. Permanently. Quit using our roads, our parks, our police force, and anything else our bad old taxes pay for.

Freaking couch potato commanders from Freeperville give me the pip.

Tommy T's picture

Oh my! Ward's sucking off the Government teat!! priceless is THAT?

From his consultation website - references:

"USGS - Geomagnetism Group, Newport, WA and Denver Colorado"

Did that nasty Federal Tax money burn your fingers when you cashed the check, Ward?

Rachel's picture

I can't support anybody that

I can't support anybody that would rather yell down the opposition than have an "intelligent debate." I don't care what their politics are.

BTW, I am SO bored with the right-wing's "you did it first." That's an agrument for 5 year olds.

gonzone's picture


Why do these wingers hate democracy?

Why do they hate open and honest debate so much they must employ guerilla tactics to disrupt it?

To compare this astroturfing campaign to Alinsky and REAL grass roots COMMUNITY ORGANIZING is sick.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

Anonymously Nine's picture

Oh Really?

To compare this astroturfing campaign to Alinsky and REAL grass roots COMMUNITY ORGANIZING is sick.

Not so fast comrade, let's take a closer look at your hero Alinsky. Oh, and btw, nice avatar comrade.

You decide:

In the Alinsky model, “organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution”—a wholesale revolution whose ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America’s social and economic structure. The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx, Engels, and Lenin predicted—a revolution whose foot soldiers view the status quo as fatally flawed and wholly unworthy of salvation. Thus, the theory goes, the people will settle for nothing less than that status quo’s complete collapse—to be followed by the erection of an entirely new and different system upon its ruins. Toward that end, they will be apt to follow the lead of charismatic radical organizers who project an aura of confidence and vision, and who profess to clearly understand what types of societal “changes” are needed.

As Alinsky put it: “A reformation means that the masses of our people have reached the point of disillusionment with past ways and values. They don’t know what will work but they do know that the prevailing system is self-defeating, frustrating, and hopeless. They won’t act for change but won’t strongly oppose those who do. The time is then ripe for revolution.”[1]

“[W]e are concerned,” Alinsky elaborated, “with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which men have the chance to live by the values that give meaning to life. We are talking about a mass power organization which will change the world…This means revolution.”[2]

But Alinsky’s brand of revolution was not characterized by dramatic, sweeping, overnight transformations of social institutions. As Richard Poe puts it, “Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties.” Alinsky advised organizers and their disciples to quietly, subtly gain influence within the decision-making ranks of these institutions, and to introduce changes from that platform. This was precisely the tactic of “infiltration” advocated by Lenin and Stalin.[3] As Communist International General Secretary Georgi Dimitroff told the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern in 1935:

Comrades, you remember the ancient tale of the capture of Troy. Troy was inaccessible to the armies attacking her, thanks to her impregnable walls. And the attacking army, after suffering many sacrifices, was unable to achieve victory until, with the aid of the famous Trojan horse, it managed to penetrate to the very heart of the enemy’s camp.[4]

Alinsky’s revolution promised that by changing the structure of society’s institutions, it would rid the world of such vices as socio-pathology and criminality. Arguing that these vices were caused not by personal character flaws but rather by external societal influences, Alinsky’s worldview was thoroughly steeped in the socialist left’s collectivist, class-based doctrine of economic determinism. “The radical’s affection for people is not lessened,” said Alinsky, “...when masses of them demonstrate a capacity for brutality, selfishness, hate, greed, avarice, and disloyalty. It is not the people who must be judged but the circumstances that made them that way.”[5] Chief among these circumstances, he said, were “the larcenous pressures of a materialistic society.”[6]

To counter that materialism, Alinsky favored a socialist alternative. He characterized his noble radical (read: “revolutionary”) as a social reformer who “places human rights far above property rights”; who favors “universal, free public education”; who “insists on full employment for economic security” but stipulates also that people’s tasks should “be such as to satisfy the creative desires within all men”; who “will fight conservatives” everywhere; and who “will fight privilege and power, whether it be inherited or acquired,” and “whether it be political or financial or organized creed.”[7] Alinsky maintained that radicals, finding themselves “adrift in the stormy sea of capitalism,”[8] sought “to advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization.”[9] “They hope for a future,” he said, “where the means of production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative handful.”[10] In short, they wanted socialism.

In 1946, Alinsky wrote Reveille for Radicals, his first major book about the principles and tactics of “community organizing,” otherwise known as agitating for revolution. Twenty-five years later he authored Rules for Radicals, which expanded upon his earlier work. His writings, and the tactics outlined therein, have had a profound influence on all “social change” and “social justice” movements of recent decades.

Alinksy’s objective, which he clearly stated in Rules for Radicals, was to “present an arrangement of certain facts and general concepts of change, a step toward a science of revolution.”[11] The Prince, he elaborated, “was written by Macchiavelli for the Haves on how to hold onto power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”[12]

If radicals were to be in the vanguard of the movement to transfer power from the Haves and the Have-Nots, Alinsky’s first order of business was to define precisely what a radical was. He approached this task by first distinguishing between liberals and radicals. Alinsky had no patience for those he called the liberals of his day—people who were content to talk about the changes they wanted, but were unwilling to actively work for those changes. Rather, he favored “radicals” who were prepared to take bold, decisive action designed to transform society, even if that transformation could be achieved only slowly and incrementally. Wrote Alinsky:

Liberals fear power or its application.… They talk glibly of people lifting themselves by their own bootstraps but fail to realize that nothing can be lifted except through power…Radicals precipitate the social crisis by action—by using power…Liberals protest; radicals rebel. Liberals become indignant; radicals become fighting mad and go into action. Liberals do not modify their personal lives[,] and what they give to a cause is a small part of their lives; radicals give themselves to the cause. Liberals give and take oral arguments; radicals give and take the hard, dirty, bitter way of life.[13]

If the purpose of radicalism is to bring about social transmutation, the radical must be prepared to make a persuasive case for why such change is urgently necessary. Alinsky’s conviction that American society needed a dramatic overhaul was founded on his belief that the status quo was intolerably miserable for most people. For one thing, Alinsky saw the United States as a nation rife with economic injustice. “The people of America live as they can,” he wrote. “Many of them are pent up in one-room crumbling shacks and a few live in penthouses...The Haves smell toilet water, the Have-Nots smell just plain toilet.”[14] Lamenting the “wide disparity of wealth, privilege, and opportunity” he saw in America, Alinsky impugned the country’s “materialistic values and standards.”[15] “We know that man must cease worshipping the god of gold and the monster of materialism,” he said.[16]

Profound economic injustice was by no means America’s only shortcoming, as Alinsky saw things. Lamenting the nation’s “rather confused and demoralized ideology,”[17] he further identified “unemployment,” “decay,” “disease,” “crime,” “distrust,” “bigotry,” “disorganization,” and “demoralization” as inevitable by-products of life in capitalist America.[18] Such a state of affairs, he said, made life for a majority of Americans nothing more than an exercise in drudgery. “At the end of the week,” said Alinsky of the average American, “he comes out of the hell of monotony with a paycheck and goes home to a second round of monotony…. Monday morning he is back on the assembly line.… That, on the whole, is his life. A routine in which he rots. The dreariest, drabbest, grayest outlook that one can have. Simply a future of utter despair.”[19] “People hunger for drama and adventure, for a breath of life in a dreary, drab existence,” he expanded.[20]

According to Alinsky, this unhappy existence exerted a profoundly negative influence on the American character. Alinsky perceived most Americans as people who were governed by their prejudices, and who thus felt great antipathy toward a majority of their fellow countrymen -- particularly those of different racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds. “[M]ost people,” he said, “like just a few people, and either do not actively care for or actively dislike most of the ‘other’ people.”[21]

Having painted a verbal portrait of a thoroughly corrupt and melancholy American society, Alinsky was now prepared to argue that wholesale change of great magnitude was in order. What was needed, he said, was a revolution in whose vanguard would be radicals committed to eliminating the “fundamental causes” of the nation’s problems,[22] and not content to merely deal with those problems’ “current manifestations”[23] or “end products.”[24] The goal of the radical, he explained, must be to bring about “the destruction of the roots of all fears, frustrations, and insecurity of man, whether they be material or spiritual”;[25] to purge the land of “the vast destructive forces which pervade the entire social scene”;[26] and to eliminate “those destructive forces from which issue wars,” forces such as “economic injustice, insecurity, unequal opportunities, prejudice, bigotry, imperialism, … and other nationalistic neuroses.”[27]

The objective of ridding the nation of the aforementioned vices dovetailed perfectly with Alinsky’s belief that all societal problems were interrelated. According to Alinsky, if segments of the population were beset by crime, unemployment, inadequate housing, malnourishment, disease, demoralization, racism, discrimination, or religious intolerance, it was impossible address, to any great effect, any particular one of those concerns in isolation. They “are simply parts of the whole picture,” he said. “They are not separate problems.”[28]

“[A]ll problems are related and they are all the progeny of certain fundamental causes,” Alinsky elaborated.[29] “Many apparently local problems are in reality malignant microcosms of vast conflicts, pressures, stresses, and strains of the entire social order.”[30] Thus “ultimate success in conquering these evils can be achieved only by victory over all evils.”[31] In other words, what was needed was a revolution, led by radicals, to literally turn society upside-down and inside-out.

Alinsky then proceeded to lay out the method by which radicals could achieve this goal by forming a host of “People’s Organizations” -- each with its own distinct name and mission, and each of which “thinks and acts in terms of social surgery and not cosmetic cover-ups.”[32]

These People’s Organizations were to be composed largely of discontented individuals who believed that society was replete with injustices that prevented them from being able to live satisfying lives. Such organizations, Alinsky advised, should not be imported from the outside into a community, but rather should be staffed by locals who, with some guidance from trained radical organizers, could set their own agendas.[33]

The installment of local leaders as the top-level officers of People’s Organizations helped give the organizations credibility and authenticity in the eyes of the community. This tactic closely paralleled the longtime Communist Party strategy of creating front organizations that ostensibly were led by non-communist fellow-travelers, but which were in fact controlled by Party members behind the scenes. As J. Edgar Hoover explained in his 1958 book Masters of Deceit: “To make a known Party member president of a front would immediately label it as ‘communist.’ But if a sympathizer can be installed, especially a man of prominence, such as an educator, minister, or scientist, the group can operate as an ‘independent’ organization.”[34]

Alinsky taught that the organizer’s first task was to make people feel that they were wise enough to diagnose their own problems, find their own solutions, and determine their own destinies. The organizer, said Alinsky, must exploit the fact that “[m]illions of people feel deep down in their hearts that there is no place for them, that they do not ‘count.’”[35] To exploit this state of affairs effectively, Alinsky explained, the organizer must employ such techniques as the artful use of “loaded questions designed to elicit particular responses and to steer the organization’s decision-making process in the direction which the organizer prefers.[36]

“Is this manipulation?” asked Alinsky. “Certainly,” he answered instantly.[37] But it was manipulation toward a desirable end: “If the common man had a chance to feel that he could direct his own efforts … that to a certain extent there was a destiny that he could do something about, that there was a dream that he could keep fighting for, then life would be wonderful living.”[38] In Alinsky’s calculus, the common man could achieve this renewed vitality of spirit via his membership and active participation in the People’s Organization.

Alinsky viewed as supremely important the role of the organizer, or master manipulator, whose guidance was responsible for setting the agendas of the People’s Organization. “The organizer,” Alinsky wrote, “is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which man can reach -- to create, to be a ‘great creator,’ to play God.”[39]

Alinsky laid out a set of basic principles to guide the actions and decisions of radical organizers and the People’s Organizations they established. The organizer, he said, “must first rub raw the resentments of the people; fan the latent hostilities to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act.”[40] The organizer’s function, he added, was “to agitate to the point of conflict”[41] and “to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a ‘dangerous enemy.’”[42] “The word ‘enemy,’” said Alinsky, “is sufficient to put the organizer on the side of the people”;[43] i.e., to convince members of the community that he is so eager to advocate on their behalf, that he has willingly opened himself up to condemnation and derision.

But it is not enough for the organizer to be in solidarity with the people. He must also, said Alinsky, cultivate unity against a clearly identifiable enemy; he must specifically name this foe, and “singl[e] out”[44] precisely who is to blame for the “particular evil” that is the source of the people’s angst.[45] In other words, there must be a face associated with the people’s discontent. That face, Alinsky taught, “must be a personification, not something general and abstract like a corporation or City Hall.”[46] Rather, it should be an individual such as a CEO, a mayor, or a president.

Alinsky summarized it this way: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it…. [T]here is no point to tactics unless one has a target upon which to center the attacks.”[47] He held that the organizer’s task was to cultivate in people’s hearts a negative, visceral emotional response to the face of the enemy. “The organizer who forgets the significance of personal identification,” said Alinsky, “will attempt to answer all objections on the basis of logic and merit. With few exceptions this is a futile procedure.”[48]

Alinsky also advised organizers to focus their attention on a small number of selected, strategic targets. Spreading an organization’s passions too thinly was a recipe for certain failure, he warned.[49]

Alinsky advised the radical activist to avoid the temptation to concede that his opponent was not “100 per cent devil,” or that he possessed certain admirable qualities such as being “a good churchgoing man, generous to charity, and a good husband.” Such qualifying remarks, Alinsky said, “dilut[e] the impact of the attack” and amount to sheer “political idiocy.”[50]

Alinsky stressed the need for organizers to convince their followers that the chasm between the enemy and the members of the People’s Organization was vast and unbridgeable. “Before men can act,” he said, “an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels, and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.”[51] Alinsky advised this course of action even though he well understood that the organizer “knows that when the time comes for negotiations it is really only a 10 percent difference.”[52] But in Alinsky’s brand of social warfare, the ends (in this case, the transfer of power) justify virtually whatever means are required (in this case, lying).[53]

Winning was all that mattered in Alinsky’s strategic calculus: “The morality of a means depends on whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.”[54] “The man of action … thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action,” Alinsky added. “He asks only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work.”[55] For Alinsky, all morality was relative: “The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent on the political position of those sitting in judgment.”[56]

Given that the enemy was to be portrayed as the very personification of evil, against whom any and all methods were fair game, Alinsky taught that an effective organizer should never give the appearance of being fully satisfied as a result of having resolved any particular conflict via compromise. Any compromise with the “devil” is, after all, by definition morally tainted and thus inadequate. Consequently, while the organizer may acknowledge that he is pleased by the compromise as a small step in the right direction, he must make it absolutely clear that there is still a long way to go, and that many grievances still remain unaddressed. The ultimate goal, said Alinsky, is not to arrive at compromise or peaceful coexistence, but rather to “crush the opposition,” bit by bit.[57] “A People’s Organization is dedicated to eternal war,” said Alinsky. “… A war is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play.… When you have war, it means that neither side can agree on anything…. In our war against the social menaces of mankind there can be no compromise. It is life or death.”[58]

Alinsky warned the organizer to be ever on guard against the possibility that the enemy might unexpectedly offer him “a constructive alternative” aimed at resolving the conflict. Said Alinsky, “You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying, ‘You’re right -- we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.’”[59] Such capitulation by the enemy would have the effect of diffusing the righteous indignation of the People’s Organization, whose very identity is inextricably woven into the fight for long-denied justice; i.e., whose struggle and identity are synonymous. If the perceived oppressor surrenders or extends a hand of friendship in an effort to end the conflict, the crusade of the People’s Organization is jeopardized. This cannot be permitted. Eternal war, by definition, must never end.

A real-life expression of this mindset was voiced by one Charles Brown, a former member of Voices in the Wilderness, an organization that opposed U.S. sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s regime prior to the 2003 American-led invasion that deposed the Iraqi dictator. “To be perfectly frank,” Brown reflected, “we were less concerned with the suffering of the Iraqi people than we were in maintaining our moral challenge to U.S. foreign policy. We did not agitate for an end to sanctions for purely humanitarian reasons; it was more important to us to maintain our moral challenge to ‘violent’ U.S. foreign policy, regardless of what happened in Iraq. For example, had we been truly interested in alleviating the suffering in Iraq, we might have considered pushing for an expanded Oil-for-Food program. Nothing could have interested us less.”

While Alinsky endorsed ruthlessness in waging war against the enemy, he was nonetheless mindful that certain approaches were more likely to win the hearts and minds of the people whose support would be crucial to the organizers’ ultimate victory. Above all, he taught that in order to succeed, the organizer and his People’s Organization needed to target their message toward the middle class. “Mankind,” said Alinsky, “has been and is divided into three parts: the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a-Little, Want Mores.”[60] He explained that in America, the Have-a-Little, Want-Mores (i.e., members of the middle class) were the most numerous and therefore of the utmost importance.[61] Said Alinsky: “Torn between upholding the status quo to protect the little they have, yet wanting change so they can get more, they [the middle class] become split personalities… Thermopolitically they are tepid and rooted in inertia. Today in Western society and particularly in the United States they comprise the majority of our population.”[62]

Alinsky stressed that organizers and their followers needed to take care, when first unveiling their particular crusade for “change,” not to alienate the middle class with any type of crude language, defiant demeanor, or menacing appearance that suggested radicalism or a disrespect for middle class mores and traditions. For this very reason, he disliked the hippies and counterculture activists of the 1960s. As Richard Poe puts it: “Alinsky scolded the Sixties Left for scaring off potential converts in Middle America. True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.”

While his ultimate goal was nothing less than the “radicalization of the middle class,” Alinsky stressed the importance of “learning to talk the language of those with whom one is trying to converse.”[63] “Tactics must begin with the experience of the middle class,” he said, “accepting their aversion to rudeness, vulgarity, and conflict. Start them easy, don’t scare them off.”[64]

To appeal to the middle class, Alinsky continued, “goals must be phrased in general terms like ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’; ‘Of the Common Welfare’; ‘Pursuit of happiness’; or ‘Bread and Peace.’”[65] He suggested, for instance, that an effective organizer “discovers what their [the middle class’] definition of the police is, and their language -- [and] he discards the rhetoric that always says ‘pig’ [in reference to police]. Instead of hostile rejection he is seeking bridges of communication and unity over the gaps…. He will view with strategic sensitivity the nature of middle-class behavior with its hang-ups over rudeness or aggressive, insulting, profane actions. All this and more must be grasped and used to radicalize parts of the middle class.”[66]

A related principle taught by Alinsky was that radical organizers must not only speak the language of the middle class, but that they also must dress their crusades in the vestments of morality. “Moral rationalization,” he said, “is indispensable to all kinds of action, whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means.”[67] “All great leaders,” he added, “invoked ‘moral principles’ to cover naked self-interest in the clothing of ‘freedom,’ ‘equality of mankind,’ ‘a law higher than man-made law,’ and so on.” In short: “All effective actions require the passport of morality.”[68]

This tactic of framing one’s objectives in the rhetoric of morality precisely paralleled a communist device for deception known as “Aesopian language,” which J. Edgar Hoover described as follows:

“Nearly everyone is familiar with the fables of Aesop…. Often the point of the story is not directly stated but must be inferred by the reader. This is a ‘roundabout’ presentation. Lenin and his associates before 1917, while living in exile, made frequent use of ‘Aesopianism.’ Much of their propaganda was written in a ‘roundabout’ and elusive style to pass severe Czarist censorship. They desired revolution but could not say so. They had to resort to hints, theoretical discussions, even substituting words, which, through fooling the censor, were understood by the ‘initiated,’ that is, individuals trained in [Communist] Party terminology….

“The word ‘democracy’ is one of the communists’ favorite Aesopian terms. They say they favor democracy, that communism will bring the fullest democracy in the history of mankind. But, to the communists, democracy does not mean free speech, free elections, or the right of minorities to exist. Democracy means the domination of the communist state, the complete supremacy of the Party. The greater the communist control, the more ‘democracy.’ ‘Full democracy,’ to the communist, will come only when all noncommunist opposition is liquidated.

“Such expressions as ‘democracy,’ ‘equality,’ ‘freedom,’ and ‘justice’ are merely the Party’s Aesopian devices to impress noncommunists. Communists … clothe themselves with everything good, noble, and inspiring to exploit those ideals to their own advantage.”[69]

But Alinsky understood that there was a flip side to his strategy of speaking the palatable language of the middle class and the reassuring parlance of morality. Specifically, he said that organizers must be entirely unpredictable and unmistakably willing -- for the sake of the moral principles in whose name they claim to act -- to watch society descend into utter chaos and anarchy. He stated that they must be prepared, if necessary, to “go into a state of complete confusion and draw [their] opponent into the vortex of the same confusion.”[70]

One way in which organizers and their disciples can broadcast their preparedness for this possibility is by staging loud, defiant, massive protest rallies expressing deep rage and discontent over one particular injustice or another. Such demonstrations can give onlookers the impression that a mass movement is preparing to shift into high gear, and that its present (already formidable) size is but a fraction of what it eventually will become. “A mass impression,” said Alinsky, “can be lasting and intimidating…. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”[71] “The threat,” he added, “is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”[72] “If your organization is small in numbers,” said Alinsky, “… conceal the members in the dark but raise a din and clamor that will make the listener believe that your organization numbers many more than it does.”[73]

“Wherever possible,” Alinsky counseled, “go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.”[74] Marching mobs of chanting demonstrators accomplishes this objective. The average observer’s reaction to such a display is of a dual nature: First he is afraid. But he also recalls the organizer’s initial articulation of middle-class ideals and morals. Thus he convinces himself that the People’s Organization is surely composed of reasonable people who actually hold values similar to his own, and who seek resolutions that will be beneficial to both sides. This thought process causes him to proffer -- in hopes of appeasing the angry mobs -- concessions and admissions of guilt, which the organizer in turn exploits to gain still greater moral leverage and to extort further concessions.

In Alinsky’s view, action was more often the catalyst for revolutionary fervor than vice versa. He deemed it essential for the organizer to get people to act first (e.g., participate in a demonstration) and rationalize their actions later. “Get them to move in the right direction first,” said Alinsky. “They’ll explain to themselves later why they moved in that direction.”[75]

Among the most vital tenets of Alinsky’s method were the following:

· “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more live up to their own rules than the Christian Church can live up to Christianity.”[76]

· “No organization, including organized religion, can live up to the letter of its own book. You can club them to death with their ‘book’ of rules and regulations.”[77]

· “Practically all people live in a world of contradictions. They espouse a morality which they do not practice.… This dilemma can and should be fully utilized by the organizer in getting individuals and groups involved in a People’s Organization. It is a very definite Achilles’ heel even in the most materialistic person. Caught in the trap of his own contradictions, that person will find it difficult to show satisfactory cause to both the organizer and himself as to why he should not join and participate in the organization. He will be driven either to participation or else to a public and private admission of his own lack of faith in democracy and man.”[78]

We have seen this phenomenon played out many times in recent years. For instance, a case of police brutality against black New Yorker Abner Louima in 1997 was cited repeatedly by critics of the police as emblematic of a widespread pattern of abuse aimed at nonwhite minorities. Similarly, the misconduct of a handful of American soldiers at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 was portrayed as part of a much larger pattern that had been approved by the highest levels of the U.S. government. And on the battlefields of the Middle East, any American military initiative that has inadvertently killed innocent civilians has been cited by opponents of the war as evidence that U.S. troops are maniacal, bloodthirsty killers. In each of the foregoing examples, the allegedly hypocritical American authorities were accused of having violated their own “book of rules” (rules that are supposed to govern the conduct of the police or the military).

Alinsky taught that in order to most effectively cast themselves as defenders of moral principals and human decency, organizers must react with “shock, horror, and moral outrage” whenever their targeted enemy in any way misspeaks or fails to live up to his “book of rules.”[79]

Moreover, said Alinsky, whenever possible the organizer must deride his enemy and dismiss him as someone unworthy of being taken seriously because he is either intellectually deficient or morally bankrupt. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength,” said Alinsky.[80] He advised organizers to “laugh at the enemy” in an effort to provoke “an irrational anger.”[81] “Ridicule,” said Alinsky, “is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”[82]

According to Alinsky, it was vital that organizers focus on multiple crusades and multiple approaches. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag,” he wrote. “Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time … New issues and crises are always developing…”[83] “Keep the pressure on,” he continued, “with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”[84]

Toward this end, Alinksy advised organizers to be sure that they always kept more than one “fight in the bank.” In other words, organizers should keep a stockpile of comparatively small crusades which they are already prepared to conduct, and to which they can instantly turn their attention after having won a major victory of some type. These “fights in the bank” serve the dual purpose of keeping the organization’s momentum going, while not allowing its major crusade to get “stale” from excessive public exposure.[85]

A People’s Organization, said Alinsky, can build a wide-based membership only if it focuses on multiple issues (e.g., civil rights, civil liberties, welfare, rent, urban renewal, the environment, etc.) “Multiple issues mean constant action and life,” Alinsky wrote.[86]

One example of such an organization today is the International Action Center (IAC), founded by Ramsey Clark and staffed by members of the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party. To broadcast the notion of American evil as widely as possible, IAC has created numerous “faces” for itself, each one serving as a unique portal through which the organization can reach a portion of the public. But in the final analysis, there is no difference between any of these nominally distinct groups, among which are International ANSWER, the Korea Truth Commission, No Draft No Way, Troops Out Now, Activist San Diego, the People’s Video Network, the Mumia Mobilization Office, the New York Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the National People’s Campaign, the Association of Mexican American Workers, Leftbooks, the Rosa Parks Day headquarters, and the People’s Rights Fund. These groups are concerned with such varied issues as racism, the Iraq War, American war crimes, the military draft, Cuban spies, the allegedly wrongful incarceration of a convicted cop-killer, the Arab-Israeli conflict, poor working conditions, immigrant rights, “vigilante” hate groups, poverty, civil rights violations, economic inequality, and globalization. And for the most part, all of these groups are composed of the very same people.

Alinsky cautioned organizers to judiciously choose to initiate only those battles which they stood a very good chance of winning. “The organizer’s job,” he said, “is to begin to build confidence and hope in the idea of organization and thus in the people themselves: to win limited victories, each of which will build confidence and the feeling that ‘if we can do so much with what we have now, just think what we will be able to do when we get big and strong.’ It is almost like taking a prize-fighter up the road to the championship -- you have to very carefully and selectively pick his opponents, knowing full well that certain defeats would be demoralizing and end his career.”[87]

Alinsky also taught that in some cases the mission of the People’s Organization could be aided if the organizer was able to get himself arrested and thereafter exploit the publicity he derived from the arrest. “Jailing the revolutionary leaders and their followers,” Alinsky said, “… strengthens immeasurably the position of the leaders with their people by surrounding the jailed leadership with an aura of martyrdom; it deepens the identification of the leadership with their people.” It shows, he said, “that their leadership cares so much for them, and is so sincerely committed to the issue, that it is willing to suffer imprisonment for the cause.”[88] But Alinsky stipulated that organizers should seek to be jailed only for a short duration (from one day to two months); longer terms of incarceration, he said, have a tendency to fall from public consciousness and to be forgotten.[89]

During the 1960s Alinsky was an enormously influential force in American life. As Richard Poe reports: “When President Johnson launched his War on Poverty in 1964, Alinsky allies infiltrated the program, steering federal money into Alinsky projects. In 1966, Senator Robert Kennedy allied himself with union leader Cesar Chavez, an Alinsky disciple. Chavez had worked ten years for Alinsky, beginning in 1952. Kennedy soon drifted into Alinsky's circle. After race riots shook Rochester, New York, Alinsky descended on the city and began pressuring Eastman-Kodak to hire more blacks. Kennedy supported Alinsky's shakedown.”

Though Alinsky died in 1972, his legacy has lived on as a staple of leftist method, a veritable blueprint for revolution -- to which both Democratic presidential candidates, who are his disciples and protégés, refer euphemistically as “change.”

gonzone's picture


Nice copy and paste "comrade".

Ever think for yourself?

After reading that enlightening diatribe (with my Pravda filter on) I am now convinced more than ever that Alinsky and Jesus had a great deal in common when it came to the dispossessed.

And one more thing, YOU HAVE NO CREDIBILITY.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

Tommy T's picture

It's Ward again. He just changed handles

Here's his Free Republic profile:


Just more of the same.
He's pretty cool with living off the Government for a "Go Galt" type.

cooperhawk's picture


Alinsky and Jesus had a great deal in common

Except that Jesus is the truth.
I know, "You have no credibility." Is that #80?

rikki's picture

"You have no credibility."

"You have no credibility." Is that #80?

No, it's #9, and he has shown himself to be a serious scholar of Alinsky.

James Calloway's picture


Knoxviews apparently has the gold standard for credibility determination stored around here somewhere .. there is a lot of talk of it around here and some idget named Metulhead or some such was going on about how I have none. You folks should seriously share this technology..

R. Neal's picture

You folks should seriously

You folks should seriously share this technology..

It's apparently self-replicating.

Rachel's picture

Don't suppose you'd have a

Don't suppose you'd have a source for that cut'n'paste, would ya?

BTW, Nine, are you saying the folks disrupting these town hall meetings are using SOCIALIST tactics? You ok with that? I would have thought that would have gotten your shorts in a knot.

Andy Axel's picture

FrontPage is a puke funnel

FrontPage is a puke funnel for the Maoists!



Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

Tommy T's picture

Twenty-nine paragraphs of cut-and-paste

...that nobody will ever read.
No wonder you guys lost EVERYTHING?

Wingnuts could screw up a two-car funeral.

Tommy T's picture

Here's the Free Republic link to this article :


Expect more flying monkeys.

Anonymously Nine's picture

a little test

I thought I try a little experiment. I knew I could depend on Andy or Metulj.

Alinsky is the template for a lot more than you might know. Many modern PR firms use Delphi method, which is similar to Alinsky. Some even use straight Alinsky.

Did you see how quickly Sock Puppet, aka Andy Axel dug out the Front Page magazine copy?

Alinsky would tell you to attack the presenters credibility.

Look above.

Alinsky would tell you to attack the presenters sources.

Look above.

Alinsky would tell you to minimalize, marginalize, and diminish the opponent to the point they are less than human. Then you can attack them.

Look above.

Andy, only Metulj is more predictable. You do know if you ignored me it would be a superior tactic. Don't you? Just can't restrain yourself can you?

It is child's play to push some people's buttons. Of course most of them are child like.

Point made. You can replace the text with a hyperlink, if it bothers you so much. The words hurt. Make them go away.

Tommy T's picture

You mean "The words bore. To tears"

I swear to God, the only people who *ever* read Alinsky are wingnuts.

Andy Axel's picture

Did you see how quickly Sock

Did you see how quickly Sock Puppet, aka Andy Axel dug out the Front Page magazine copy?

Y'know, Mike Mitchell, aka "Baldy," it takes all of five seconds to highlight a segment of that copy-paste treatise, right click, and select "search in google." I guess that makes me an ALINSKY SCHOLAR!!!1!!


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

 The Lurker's picture

Andy Axel the frightened little sock puppet

Throwing your weight around could be a safety hazzard, porky. These tactics work in both directions. Go play with other peoples computers. Be all you can be.....Join the Army.

Elrod's picture

Alinsky did not start this

I know that Alinsky was quite the self-promoter - Rules for Radicals is really a platform for Alisnky to take credit for things he only marginally did. The whole process of personalizing, demonizing and disrupting the opposition is as old as American democracy. Go look at what happened to President Andrew Johnson when he made his infamous "swing around the circle" in 1866, trying futilely to defend his conservative plan of Reconstruction. He was heckled, egged, mocked and the rest all over the Midwest. What really killed him was his penchant for arguing with the hecklers instead of pretending they weren't there.

I would assume that all Democratic Congressmen are now aware of these tactics and will respond by either ignoring them or telling them that they will be removed if they continue to be disruptive.

Of course, the Democrats can always try the Bush method and forcibly evict and beat up protesters once they are removed.

rikki's picture

Alinsky is the template for

Alinsky is the template for a lot more than you might know. Many modern PR firms use Delphi method, which is similar to Alinsky. Some even use straight Alinsky.

Is this the part where you tell us how much you get paid to work the room?

bill young's picture


Vice President Humphrey was shouted down by the left during his presidential campaign in 1968.

But it didn't work out too well.

The in your face tactics of the left contributed in electing
Dick Nixon.

So go for it!

Because these tactics will backfire on you folks like it did
us & contribute to re electing the President.

Anonymously Nine's picture


This is your team:


That isn't anything close to fair play.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Nice try...

The coercion protocol alone under NIH rules prevents the Alinsky method from being employed and the Delphi method would have to be tightly controlled and probably only used as a part of some test of how coercive methods work, rather than producing results of coercive methodologies. You do understand the distinction?

I understand all too well.

Did you miss out on "Nine Counties One Vision" or the "Knox Charter Petition" meetings? What better local examples of "dialog to consensus" is there? Regular people came to those meetings and when they left they believed they had come up with meaningful ideas. They had ownership of those ideas. What they didn't realize is that they were manipulated. Later a few people figured out what KCP was all about and realized they had been mislead.

Dialog to consensus is Delphi method.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Um, neither methodology was employed at those meetings, so you are full of shit. Consensus building was. That's a different thing. Don't make me take you to school again.

I know you think in your mind you decide what words mean. I understand.

How do you explain those people who defected KCP? Consensus building is not manipulated. Dialog to consensus is. The end result of the KCP meetings is exactly what KCP blueprinted from the beginning. If it were consensus building it would have been done BEFORE the Baker Center Report. The purpose wasn't for consensus, it was for recruiting.

Class dismissed.

Andy Axel's picture

Etymology of a meme

Flogging aces, flopping deuces.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

gonzone's picture


Your Google Fu is mighty sir.

I tip my hat in your general direction.

What do that fancy word etymology mean? And where does it come from?

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

Elrod's picture

Sort of like manufactured consent, right?

This is a common tool used by local governments, regardless of ideology. It's all true of corporations that seek "input" from their employees. And corporate money-backed TV shows do their best to manufacture consent by limiting the bounds of appropriate dispute.

Andy Axel's picture

This is a common tool used

This is a common tool used by local governments, regardless of ideology.



Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

Anonymously Nine's picture


Sort of like manufactured consent, right?

This is a common tool used by local governments, regardless of ideology. It's all true of corporations that seek "input" from their employees. And corporate money-backed TV shows do their best to manufacture consent by limiting the bounds of appropriate dispute.

Nail on the head.

Dialog to census is manufactured consent. Spam in a can. Cooked. Done deal. Delphi method.

The key is to have the recruit believe it was their idea. This gives them ownership and pride. Now you have someone who will knock on doors and do the hard work for no pay. Because it was their idea. It is very simple. So simple it goes undetected. Unless you have had one of these courses. Then you can spot it a mile away.

Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain, they are a little upset there is a discussion on this.

rikki, Metulj, carry on. Tell us what teh trvth is.

rikki's picture

Pay no attention to the

Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain, they are a little upset there is a discussion on this.

Yes, you are.

Trying to paint me, an outspoken critic of KCP and their processes, as a defender of KCP and "dialog to consensus" just underscores your lack of credibility. You know damn well where I stood on KCP and the charter amendments, yet you are willing to insinuate otherwise. Why? Because you are desperate to change the subject.

Disrupting dialog is your mission, and it is what you are trying to do right now in this thread. How much do you get paid to work the room?

Anonymously Nine's picture

calm down

Trying to paint me, an outspoken critic of KCP and their processes, as a defender of KCP and "dialog to consensus" just underscores your lack of credibility. You know damn well where I stood on KCP and the charter amendments, yet you are willing to insinuate otherwise. Why? Because you are desperate to change the subject.

Not sure where you got rikki idea that but it is incorrect. You were a published "outspoken critic of KCP and their processes". No doubt at all. And a good one.

But KCP did "dialog to consensus". And that is germane to the thread. "Dialog to consensus" is political manipulation. The theme of this thread.

You may not agree that happened. That is your perception. But it was as canned as it gets.

It is very simple. Consensus building is not manipulative. "Dialog to consensus" is.

Andy Axel's picture

Per post? Retainer?

Per post? Retainer? Bonuses? Do you get a toaster every time one of your pseuds gets banned from the KNS?


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

Elrod's picture

So why the Alinsky obsession?

Yes, Alinsky applied some of these tactics to community activism of various sorts. But these tactics are MUCH older than Alinsky. Propaganda works various ways. You can send out fear-based messages through the mass media that help marginalize the opposition. You can hire professional agitators - or recruit committed volunteer agitators - to stir up trouble and "tear down the system" (something that both Alinskyites and Nazi brownshirts in the 1920s did to marvelous effect at times).

But how effective is any of this now? Democratic Congressmen surely know who these agitators are and are not now or ever going to be swayed by them. The handful of honest-but-undecided people at these town halls are going to be repulsed by these teabaggers. Is the purpose to create a narrative of opposition for the media to jump on? Possibly, but with alternative media we can quickly out these tactics for what they are.

Lloyd Doggett of Texas seems even more committed to the Democratic health reform initiative after the eruption. He's identified the opponents as the "party of no," and used their own "Just Say No" language against them. I suspect the same will be true of other Democrats.

At some point the radicals have to get the people on their side. When they don't, they become like the hippies - a perfect rallying point for the other side. Will the birthers, teabaggers and other miscreants on the far right serve the same purpose for Obama? They better hope nobody goes violent. Clinton used McVeigh masterfully to discredit the militia movement.

gonzone's picture


But these tactics are MUCH older than Alinsky.

I made allusions to this earlier but maybe a link would explain better.

Highly recommended reading BTW.

Jesus and Alinsky, two of a kind.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

Anonymously Nine's picture

Uh, no

Jesus might have a problem with #5 from old Saul Alinsky:

(5) Ridicule is your most potent weapon.

But a few people here are Alinsky disciples. It must be tough to have only one response. Child like. What do they do when they cannot win? Call people names. Denigrate them. Marginalize them. That is what little children do. Because it makes them feel better.

Andy Axel's picture

I am An O'Donoghue disciple.

I am An O'Donoghue disciple. A Hoffman disciple. A Kaufman disciple. A Vidal disciple. An HST disciple. A Biafra devotee. Listen to Rant in E-Minor (Hicks) if you want to know about my political sensibility. Until you posted that material you lifted from Horowitz's site, I'd never read a word of Alinsky.

So. I ridicule you because, by and large, your positions are ridiculous.

Disingenuous, even.

How much do they pay you to work the room?


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

Anonymously Nine's picture


I am An O'Donoghue disciple. A Hoffman disciple. A Kaufman disciple. A Vidal disciple. An HST disciple. A Biafra devotee. Listen to Rant in E-Minor (Hicks) if you want to know about my political sensibility. Until you posted that material you lifted from Horowitz's site, I'd never read a word of Alinsky.

I am here to learn. Not to teach. Those will be helpful.

If I was paid to work the room, I would have to leave you a tip.

Rachel's picture

What do they do when they

What do they do when they cannot win? Call people names. Denigrate them. Marginalize them. That is what little children do. Because it makes them feel better.

All things you are obviously familiar with.

gonzone's picture

Uh, yes

Try my link above instead of the FrontPage puke funnel crap.

BTW, you have no credibility.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

rikki's picture

This is a thread about

This is a thread about disrupting dialog and avoiding intelligent debate, which has been your mission for as long as you've tormented this forum. It's not a thread about "dialog to consensus." There is no need to talk about Alinsky with you among us. Not only are you an expert at the practice of disrupting dialog, you are also well versed in theory. Who would have guessed you could projectile vomit thousands of words by and about Saul Alinsky?

Brevity is normally one of your redeeming qualities, so your profusive disgorgement reveals a hidden interest. You're not merely a product of right-wing propaganda, you're a propagandist! This is your area of expertise. We knew you must have one.

So how much do you get paid to work the room?

Anonymously Nine's picture

calm down

There is no need to talk about Alinsky with you among us. Not only are you an expert at the practice of disrupting dialog, you are also well versed in theory. Who would have guessed you could projectile vomit thousands of words by and about Saul Alinsky?

Gosh rikki, if the words burn so then place a hyperlink in there. I just wanted to see who would trace it to Front Page mag so it could be discredited. Good old AC/DC didn't disappoint.

Alinsky seems to be a real sore spot. Both Hillary and Barack embraced his teachings. Why all the heartburn?

Those mean Republicans using the same tactics that got Obama elected? Shame on them. But you have to admit, since they have no tactics it was only a matter of time before they copied the tactics that work. I don't recall any heartburn when Obama used shabby tactics against Hillary. But now Alinsky is evil? A little situational ethics there?

rikki's picture

This isn't about Alinsky;

This isn't about Alinsky; it's about you. How much do you get paid to work the room?

Tommy T's picture

Just so.

This is just going to hasten their fell into a rump party.
That, and the birther whackadoodles.

EricLykins's picture

showing momentum and driving the debate

Anonymously Nine's picture

Speaking of old Saul

Rahm Emanuel needs a map. He still thinks he is in Chicago.


Tommy T's picture

Map ?

The GOP doesn't seem capable of finding it with both hands AND a roadmap.

Boehner, Steele, definitely need a map.
They still think they are in the majority.

EricLykins's picture

Rahmbo vs. Chuck Norris

Rahmbo vs. Chuck Norris

R. Neal's picture

I swear I never heard of

I swear I never heard of this Alinsky dude. I guess I need to turn in my hippie credentials along with my old tie-dyed t-shirts.

(I do have a copy of "Steal This Book" around somewhere. Does that count? Can I keep my t-shirts?)

gonzone's picture



Try the link I left to the "Jesus and Alinsky" piece by Walter Wink. I think you'll enjoy it. Saul Alinsky was a great community organizer in the Chicago area who did a great deal to help the stockyard folks and others.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

R. Neal's picture

Dem Rep. assaulted, concerns

Dem Rep. assaulted, concerns about safety, taking things to a "dangerous level."


gonzone's picture


Probably not many people remember the health care fight under President Clinton but the very same tactics were employed then too.
Hired gangs of thugs followed the politicians around the country disrupting and threatening people.
All in order to preserve the profits of health insurance companies.
How sad is that?

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

james calloway's picture

Problems solved

Just point these folk out to the friendly folk at ( (link...)) and someone will be by to .. deal .. with them later.

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

I Could Use a Bottle of Schnapps

I hearken back to 2000 and the putsch that happened in Florida. A bottle of fine schnapps to the linker of that video....

The Brooks Brothers riot squad during the "recount." (Note the appearance of staffers from former Sen. Fred Thompson and former Rep. Van Hilleary in their debut as "agitated Florida voters."

Why limit yourself to a single video link about the faux uprising when there's a whole movie about it?

James Calloway's picture

The wound is too deep, metulj

I've seen enough of your comments on various boards to know that to disagree with you comes pretty close to erasing credibility in your eyes.

Now, granted I was being a bit facetious .. but rather than at least discuss the ridiculous of the Obama snoop site you chose to bring up the 2000 election. Typical. I'm going to be hearing about that stupid election in the old folks home, assuming there are any old folks left if this ridiculous plan goes through. Mercy me.

James Calloway's picture

I forgot I was in the blogosphere

Lots of back-patting and what not, I guess it it pretty easy for you to miss out that this might be annoying some folks.

If W had put a site up like this about the Iraq war there would be no end to the howling. Cue the irritating posts about the Patriot Act ..

2 posts, 2 insults. You are keeping with the usual .. #3 may totally ruin my sense of self-worth so be careful.

rikki's picture

If W had put a site up like

If W had put a site up like this about the Iraq war there would be no end to the howling. Cue the irritating posts about the Patriot Act ..

Cue the baffled silence as folks wonder what the hell you are talking about...

EricLykins's picture

James, ok, if W gave out an

James, ok, if W gave out an email address through which to report anything "fishy," I would imagine a huge network of Homeland Security Administration funding on the other end of that email. This new Information Age we're fumbling with brings people closer together, and sometimes that's just not comfortable. Here I'm going to see it as innovative health care polling and an opportunity for an out of touch Washington to get in touch with some gossip from the streets. They might could use that from time to time. On the other hand just because I'm delusional doesn't mean they're not not out to get me.

I made a blog post about this the other day, but decided to delete it a few minutes later. I called it Operation troll Purge:

James Calloway's picture


There have been some grumblings about the Iraq War .. send me the details.'

Lord, there'd be death cries from the left. Knoxviews might even get some of that traffic back from Facebook then.

KC's picture

This thread seems to have

This thread seems to have gotten away from the original post, but I'll offer my two cents worth anyway.

Right now, the GOP seems to think that everytime it opens its mouth to oppose something President Obama is doing, it's winning. It's not.

Smart people within the GOP know that something has to be done about healthcare. The status quo isn't cutting it (no surgical pun intended).

That said, a big portion of the GOP base has been raised on political theatrics for so long now it's going to be hard for a good many of them to start thinking about real solutions to the real problems this country is facing.

But they better start.

Healthcare is a huge issue. New policies will be fraught with unintended consequences along with spectacular opportunities for the future. And it's going to take a lot of hard work by everyone to figure it out.

In the meantime, the GOP had better show a real effort to understanding the problems and start offering credible alternative solutions.

If it fails to offer anything besides rhetoric about "socialism," it will be highlighted by the Democrats and remembered by the voters election time.

Otherwise, my gut feeling is that President Obama is letting the GOP walk into an elaborate trap that will be sprung on them about election time, when it will be far too late to repair the self-inflicted damage being done now.

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present.
President Abraham Lincoln 1862

Andy Axel's picture

The hope of "The Elaborate

The hope of "The Elaborate Trap" has long been a fable retold by the faithful to justify Democratic inaction.

Unfortunately, there are a number of minions for the healthcare industry who also happen to be elected D's. They're not helping. They're obstructing.

Once we get Jim Cooper and John Tanner and Bart Gordon out of the Party of No's caucus, then we'll be getting somewhere.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

KC's picture

The hope of "The Elaborate

The hope of "The Elaborate Trap" has long been a fable retold by the faithful to justify Democratic inaction.

I didn't know this.

Of course I could be considered a faithful voter, but hardly a faithful member of either, or any, party.

The special interests are indeed circling the wagons, digging the trenches, threatening their dependents, and deciding who and what can be sacrificed, when push comes to shove.

And traps are not for the impatient, but they do work well, because even those who believe they might be walking into one, tend to do so easily when they do.

And when the trap's bait looks better and better, it draws the victim in deeper, and just when it thinks it's reached the pay off...SSPPPRRINGGG, SNAP,SHUT!

A good trap and ambush is far more psychological than tactical.

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present.President Abraham Lincoln 1862

bill young's picture

Where we are

This post by R was about the tactics encourged by the email of a group opposed to the President's & the Democrats attempt @ health care reform.

I also read the link provided by R on his last post.

The idea by those supporting these tactics is to gin up those
that are white hot angry & are willing to get in folks faces.

Then encourage those folks to attend Democratic members of
congress town hall meetings & disrupt the meeting.

The next step is to intimidate Democrats to cease holding
town hall meetings.

I'm not going to be sactimonious & act like the left
has never used these tactics..we have.

But I will tell you this..these tactics are always used
when you dont have the votes to pass legislation.

There is a certain satisisfaction by disrupting the meeting
that one has done something to "show them".

But as R's link points out there is always the danger that
when one encourages these over the top in your face tactics
one will gin up dangerouse elements that will react violently.

I disagree but have no problem with those that oppose the
President's health care reform.

I also have no problem with those that want to attend
& hold their ground in opposition @ a Democratic
member of congress's town hall meeting.

But as one who has been in left wing meetings where
these in your face tactics have been encouraged..I'm against it
because I dont think it works.

It alienate's what Nixon called "the silent majority."

If the opposition continues with the in your face tactics
it will move the "silent majority" in our favor.

The fact is the Democrats hold majorities in the House & Senate.

And IMO this fall we will come together & pass a health care reform
bill & the President will sign it.

gonzone's picture

the old saw applies here

If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts,
if the law is on your side, pound on the law,
if neither are on your side, pound on the table.

We've got wingnuts in a bad place and growing more violent every day.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

bill young's picture


If you're a Democrat & those that r posting get rid of Cooper may not be
..but if u r..why waste time on getting rid of Cooper..& not spend time helping Flowers get elected?

Like it or not Cooper's going to have alot to say about
the health care reform bill that passes.

Plus u aint gonna beat Cooper.
But u could help Flowers win.

Anonymously Nine's picture

love it

I'm not a Democrat and Cooper is worthless.

Of course you're not a Democrat, they are too conservative. Of course you don't like Cooper, he is too conservative.

You could stay in Europe. Where you are happy. Seriously, rather than spend all this time and effort to turn American into Europe, why not just stay?

Anonymously Nine's picture

In Slovenia it is tired o'clock for one little socialist...

How much do you get to work this room?

It is supposed to be, "How much do you get paid to work the room?"

Paid. You left out the word paid. If you are going to copy rikki at least get the words right.

So you stayed up all night to keep the world safe from the dreaded conservatives.

How is that working out?

 The Lumpster's picture

Do Socialists lie about everything?

bill young's picture


only applies if u r a democrat & u r not..i am electing democrats aint
ur thing but is mine

..& i like jim & u dont & thats that
& thats fine

Rachel's picture

The problem with folks like

The problem with folks like Bart Gordon and Jim Cooper is that if they're replaced, it will be with Republicans - which won't exactly be an improvement.

Andy Axel's picture

The problem with folks like

The problem with folks like Bart Gordon and Jim Cooper is that if they're replaced, it will be with Republicans - which won't exactly be an improvement.

(a) Depends on the Republican - Cooper may be OK on social issues but on economic ones he's just as bad as Blackburn; and (b) if we had a functioning Democratic Party in this state, Cooper could be primaried out of office. But with the Kurita experience at hand, no one will dare run afoul of the TNDP's endorsed candidates. "But parties don't take sides in primaries!" Right.

Gordon I can almost understand. Cooper has no fucking excuse. He's running quite a bit further to the right than is warranted by the composition of his district.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

Rachel's picture

Gordon I can almost

Gordon I can almost understand. Cooper has no fucking excuse. He's running quite a bit further to the right than is warranted by the composition of his district.


bill young's picture


I don't understand what Metulj means when he postes Jim
caucuces with the Republicans.

Jim is a member of the Democratic caucus & to my knowledge
in all his years in the House has never caucused with
the Republicans.

With respect to Axel a strong Party would never stand for
opposition to an incumbent.

If one attempted a challenge they would be hanged from the highest

But I knew I would rattle folks cages when I posted I like Jim &
I support him.

As you both well know from earlier postes about Jim I
campaigned with him starting in the fall of '81 when
Jim ran as the 4th congressional district Democratic nominee
in the '82 federal general election.

We beat the best..we beat the Bakers.
We won EVERY county but Hancock.

I don't always agee with my old buddy.
But mostly I do.

And I support Jim for re election.

If you two want to raise money & work against Jim.
I won't hold it against you.

Better get busy 'cause I'll tell ya
Jim Cooper is one tuff sum bitch to
beat in a House race.

If ya don't believe me just ask Howard Baker.

Andy Axel's picture

With respect to Axel a

With respect to Axel a strong Party would never stand for opposition to an incumbent. If one attempted a challenge they would be hanged from the highest tree.

Except if the challenger's name is Tim Barnes. Then the incumbent is hanged from the highest tree, even if she wins the primary outright.

Jim is a member of the Democratic caucus & to my knowledge in all his years in the House has never caucused with the Republicans.

Apparently you're unfamiliar with the mandate of the Blue Dogs, which is to caucus with the GOP on economic policy.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

bill young's picture

Axel,I'm not aware

I understand voting for a Republican bill or supporting a Republican amendment to a bill.

But you are saying Jim caucuces with the the Republicans on economic policy?How does that work? Just asking.

With respect to the Kurita deal you make your point.
With my point.

This is not a strong Party.

IMO a strong Party would not have thrown out a Democratic
incumbent but would have spent their time holding the House

bill young's picture

Still don't understand

From the Blue Dog link provided in the above Metulj post.

"Most would agree,the Blue Dogs have sucessfully injected a moderate
viewpoint into the DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS."

This indicates,at least to me,that the Blue Dogs are
members of the Democratic Caucus & don't caucus with
the Republicans.

That would include Jim.

But I could of missed it or it's somewhere else that Jim
caucuces with the Republicans.

Again I don't doubt that Jim supports Republican
bills & amendments.

But my understanding of the rules..& I could be all wrong,is that participation with Republicans does not mean one is caucusing with the Republicans.

And if I'm not mistaken & I could well be, a member of the
Democratic Caucus can't caucus with the Republican Caucus.

So I still don't understand Axel's comment about the Blue
Dogs which includes Jim caucusing with the Republicans
on economic policy.

As far as Metulj is concerned,what do you
mean by "Cooper participates & therefore caucuses"
with Republicans.

By what I believe to be the rules of the House Party
caucus's point one does not therefore mean point two.

I will say this if Metulj is defining "dirtbags" as the whole
damn bunch in Washington.Both Parties.

Then yes Jim does caucus with those dirtbags.

Rachel's picture

Cooper does not officially

Cooper does not officially caucus with the Republicans. I think Metulj's point is that in economic matters he might just as well.

Andy Axel's picture

"Officially" might be

"Officially" might be closest to the point. I think Metulj and I have a dictionary definition, versus a Beltway definition.

A caucus is "a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause." Blue Dogs caucus with the GOP on economic policy. They're united to promote an agreed-upon cause. Would it help to say that Cooper is part of an ultra-conservative, pro-corporate, anti-populist, non-Democratic faction instead? That he's part of a splinter group of pro-business reactionaries working against the interests of the constituents he supposedly represents? Or is it just as easy to say "Cooper's Blue Dogs caucus with the GOP?"

Poe-tay-toe, poe-tah-toe. My point is that I have not a bit of faith in Cooper's ability to help forge meaningful health reform. Not while Columbia HCA does business in his district.

Fact of business, the Blue Dog Coalition is more likely to vote with the GOP on economic policy and to work against working-class people than they are to cooperate with the Democratic House caucus. But feel free to get hung up on the definition of "is."


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

bill young's picture

I understand now

I said to my knowledge Jim has never caucused with the Republicans.
And that Jim was a member of the Democratic Caucus.

Axel said I apparently didn't know the Blue Dog mandate to caucus
with the Republicans on economic matters.

I said I couldn't find that mandate on the Blue Dog
website & that the website points out that the Blue Dogs
are members of the Democratic caucus.

I also said I could be wrong & put me in the right direction.

Then Rachel chimes in & says that Metujl didn't mean Jim
really caucuces with the Republicans but the point is
he might as well.

Then Axel says something about a "Beltway defination"

So now I understand.I think.

Axel & Rachel are talking about might as well be
caucusing with the Republicans.

Which is not the same as is caucusing with the Republicans.
And a far cry from being mandated.

Don't know what Metulj real meaning is because he hasn't said.

My misunderstanding was Axel & maybe? Metulj were talking about
the US House Party caucucess.

But Axel's cleared that up & Rachel's post is an attempt
to clear up what Metujl posted.

Dont throw out mandated & therefores without being clear.

It would be helpful if Axel would have made the points made
in the last post at the outset.

Because I know you don't like Jim.

And I knew it would rile ya'll up if
I said I liked Jim.

Because I've done it before & got the same reaction.

I thought about not doing it this time.
But I went & done it anyway.

KC's picture

This new strategy seems to

This new strategy seems to be working so well that Sen. Martinez (R-FL) has seen the future and is readying himself for a GOP comeback in 2010.

Or not.

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present.
President Abraham Lincoln 1862

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Search and Archives