From Syria, debt ceiling, farm bill, amnesty for illegals Obama plays America like a pinball game

Follow Alinsky: Call Obama’s bluff

By —— Bio and Archives--September 11, 2013

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In his famous primer, “Rules for Radicals,” Saul Alinsky made two points that help illuminate how President Barack Obama has chosen to lead America.


The first point is that Alinsky instructed his acolytes to manufacture a crisis—any crisis—and to then use that any crisis to polarize the community for and against the community organizer.

For the last five years, this has been how Obama has led the nation, crisis-to-crisis, and always leaving the middle ground for compromise like the no man’s land between the trenches.

Syria is the most recent example, but as the White House has matured in power, it has learned to layer crisis atop scandal atop cliff, creating the chaos and tumult that gives the president leverage as the eye of each storm.

The point of Alinsky’s that applies to the Obama White House is to always call the opponent’s bluff.

By calling the opponent’s bluff, Alinsky said the opponent is more often than not forced to carry out an emotional threat he is not actually set up to execute or that is practical.

Obama betrayed his Alinsky training in the 2011 budget fight, when he blurted out to House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R.-Va.): “Eric, don’t call my bluff.”

This, of course was a bluff, and the subsequent Republican cave in gave us the Budget Control Act, and sequester—a device the president insisted on, apparently so he could blame it on Republicans.

Syria is the crisis and bluff event before us now.

In his Sept. 10 address to the nation, the president made the case for action against Bashar al-Assad, the monster, and son of a monster, his national security team once toasted a force for good in the world.

Assad is a monster that needs to be shot across his bow because the president is pretty sure he used chemical gas against his own people. Obama does not want to kill Assad or replace him—or really punish him.

According to the president’s narrative and calculations, killing tens of thousands of his own citizens in the civil war that has raged for more than two years was not worth lifting a finger.

When this conflict began, Syria’s neighbor due east was the new Iraq, an American ally, whose airspace was owned and operated by the US Air Force and whose land garrisoned 50,000 troops. Then, when the movements, say, of a battalion of the All American troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division would have gotten Assad’s attention, nothing was done. Nor was there an effort to neutralize the Syrian air force that was then brutally strafing its citizens—again, a feat more easily accomplished then, but not now.

Today, Iraq functions as an American ally, rather it is the compliant neighbor of its own due east neighbor: Iran.

As Assad fought to protect his regime, Iran has resupplied him over and through Iraq. OK, fine. Nothing we can do about it now, but it bears mentioning.
Q: What happened to make Syria so very important now? A: The Obama crisis calendar.

September is a tricky month for the president. He has a health care regime he is struggling to prop up, a nasty Benghazi anniversary and the end of the fiscal year.

There is also the unfinished business of providing guaranteed income to farmers, expanding food stamps, granting amnesty to illegal aliens and restricting gun rights.

Oh, and there is also the debt ceiling, which miracle of miracles always seems to max out upon a congressional recess. This time the president has penciled in the Columbus Day recess, which allows for a short-term deal that will set the country up for more debt showdowns for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The key to remember is that Obama does not seek to solve economic or national security problems. He only seeks to solve his own political problems and to foment political problems for his opponents.

Above all, conservatives must learn to beat Alinsky tactics with Alinsky tactics.

Alinsky said any controversy would do for the community organizer to seize the initiative.

Why not pick just one of the president’s bluffs—if only to see what happens?


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Neil W. McCabe -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Neil W. McCabe is the editor of Human Event’s “Guns & Patriots” e-letter and was a senior reporter at the Human Events newspaper. McCabe deployed with the Army Reserve to Iraq for 15 months as a combat historian. For many years, he was a reporter and photographer for “The Pilot,” Boston’s Catholic paper. He was also the editor of two free community papers, “The Somerville (Mass.) News and “The Alewife (North Cambridge, Mass.).”

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