Of Alinsky, Twitter, and Hashtags

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Politics

President Barack Obama’s genius marketing team has come up with no less than three Twitter hashtags over the past week in an attempt to get his message out. Conservatives, and probably many Democrats who are fed up with “hope and change”, took over all three using a tactic that very few of us had ever heard of prior to 2007. We are beating them at their own game. And it drives them nuts. If you don’t think so, try to have a civil discussion with some Leftist on Twitter like I did today. Nothing but name-calling and profanity, and ultimately the race card. Because I’m white. It didn’t end well for the other guy. I didn’t have to lower myself to profanity or name calling. It was clear who was the racist in the conversation, and it wasn’t this southern white woman.

In his book Rules for Radicals (which, by the way, is dedicated to Lucifer), Saul Alinsky taught the political left, the ‘have-nots’, of America how to take away from the ‘haves’. For Alinsky, organizing is the process of highlighting whatever he believed to be wrong and convincing people they can actually do something about it. The two are linked. If people feel they don’t have the power to change a situation, they stop thinking about it.

According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a situation. Alinsky would say, “The first step in community organization is community disorganization.”

Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a “mass army” that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals. This, my fellow Americans, is who was elected President in 2008. Barack Obama promised ‘hope and change’. It was a clever marketing slogan; it was vague, but it was catchy. And it worked. People, especially young people, read into it whatever ‘hope’ and ‘change’ meant to them. Obama was ‘cool’. Obama was ‘hip’. Obama was ‘one of us’. America fell for it hook, line, and sinker. And the plan to ‘fundamentally change’ a once great nation roared into action.

No one listened to those of us who were screaming about his radical past or his equally radical present. He was Obama, the healer of the world. Anyone who dared to question him was just a racist (Alinsky Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it). No one would answer legitimate questions about his true intentions, his worldview (Alinsky Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”).

Obama preys upon the racial wounds that he promised to heal (Alinsky Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat). He purposely does just the opposite to anyone who opposes his policies (Alinsky Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat). As the infamous quote goes ‘never let a crisis go to waste’.

Ah, but Obama didn’t plan on Conservatives using his own playbook against him. I guess he really believed that we were stupid. He didn’t, and doesn’t, know who he is up against. We have learned to play the game, and we have learned well. Just check out the #gen44 hashtag on Twitter (Alinksy Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage). Or you could do a search for the hashtag #ilikeobamacare (Alinsky Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”).

And we can thank Obama’s campaign team, the ones who shined him up and packaged him to the world just four short years ago, for continuing to come up with new hashtags for Conservatives on Twitter to hijack (Alinsky Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues). It seems that maybe they aren’t as smart as they think they are.

Bring it on, OFA. We’re waiting. See you on Twitter.

  1. Awesome summary of the way conservatives are waking up to the political uses of social media. It’s been an entertaining week: Obama’s campaign getting owned on twitter, and his Obamacare attorney being laughed at by the Supreme Court. I’ll be back to read more of your insight!

  2. pat says:

    “Obama preys upon the racial wounds that he promised to heal (Alinsky Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. ”

    He preys upon the racial wounds of his people? LMAO. But you’re not a racist?

    69 million people voted for Obama.

    • The promise “to heal divisions” were his words, not mine. How can you argue that he does not constantly interject class and race into his remarks? 69 million people voted for the vague concept of ‘hope and change’ without having the slightest idea what he meant. That’s why it was so ingenius. He promised to bring this country together, but instead he is tearing it apart along class and racial lines. Facts are facts, and racial tensions are higher now than they have been in many years. He’s the leader. The buck stops with him. He could soothe the tension if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want to because it works in his favor-he gets more votes this way. It’s pathetic. It’s not his color I am against, it’s his policies. He’s just as white as he is black, anyway, although he never mentions that side of his racial heritage. Why is that???

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