Pick your target: Political gamesmanship

One of Alinksy’s Rules for Power (1p pdf) is to “Pick the target, freeze it,personalize it, and polarize it.” Up until recently, this has been a tactic to gain power. Now it appears to be a tactic to maintain power. It is the ad hominem or straw man argument gone wild. Examples abound.

On the foreign front, Defiant Khamenei warns Iranian protesters and attacks ‘most treacherous’ Britain.

Iran’s Supreme Leader today singled out Britain as the “most treacherous” Western power trying to destabilise the Islamic Republic as he stood firm in the face of this week’s massive street protests, hinting at even tougher repression if the unrest does not stop.

On the domestic front, James Lewis discusses Barack Obama and Alinsky’s Rules for Psychopaths. One of his points is the ‘pick your target’ tactic and its rationale.

Teaching hatred for the normal majority is the key to power for radicals. But Alinsky taught that you can’t easily hate millions of people. To do that effectively you need a one-person scapegoat to focus all your hatred on. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” That is the politics of personal destruction, and it doesn’t matter if the target is black like Clarence Thomas, or a woman like Sarah Palin, or a severely wounded war veteran like John McCain.

Dr. Sanity also gets on the abnormal behavior bandwagon with Obamaworld Apostasy & Malignant Narcissism. Quoting Jim Gehraghty

We haven’t lived in President Obama’s America for long, but already we are witnessing a strange new phenomenon: Previously apolitical figures and organizations find themselves demonized, and then forgotten, with the speed, fury, and transience of a summer thunderstorm.

And then there is Rush Limbaugh, Governor Palin, the AMA, the ‘senile’ IG … It seems there is a rich target field and that may be a problem. Alinsky’s rules have a focus on community organizing where the pool is small. When applied to efforts in the ocean it might be like a small boat in a hurricane – easily swamped. We can hope that the lack of intellectual integrity becomes more visible as well and that it can be seen for what it is.

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