American Elephants

Governing: Scaring People to Get Your Way? by The Elephant's Child

I think most people know that Obama was a “community organizer” when he first moved to Chicago. His teachers said he was the best student of Saul Alinsky’s principles they had ever had. I’m not so sure that many have given any thought to what a community organizer is, or what he does. Saul Alinsky’s book is called Rules for Radicals. Obama was an enthusiastic disciple of the old lefty.

Essentially, it’s a course in how to manipulate people and get them to do what you want. Alinsky was dead long before Obama got to Chicago, but Obama took right to the rules. His organizing efforts were devoted to getting home loans for minorities.  Protestors picketed banks and put pressure on bankers, which of course was in line with Democrats’ efforts to build on the Community Reinvestment Act, which ended up in the housing bubble that caused the financial collapse. This is the reason why Obama went to such lengths to blame Bush for the financial crisis. If people discovered that it wasn’t due to Bush’s two wars, they might look for the real reason for the collapse.

See Saul Alinsky’s Rule 3: “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty., or in other words— Spread disabling fear far and wide. Rule 8: “Keep the pressure on, Never let up.” Rule 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Rule 10: The major premise of tactics is the development of operations that will maintain constant pressure on the opposition. Rule 13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.” In other words —personalize the target; pick out hate figures and demonize them.

So Jay Carney demonized the right every day last week for allowing a “tax break” for corporate jets. Peggy Noonan’s column this week was “Government by Freakout.”

It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout.

That’s what’s happening now with the daily sequester warnings. Seven hundred thousand children will be dropped from Head Start. Six hundred thousand women and children will be dropped from aid programs.Meat won’t be inspected. Seven thousand TSA workers will be laid off, customs workers too, and air traffic controllers. Lines at airports will be impossible. The Navy will slow down the building of an aircraft carrier. Troop readiness will be disrupted, weapons programs slowed or stalled, civilian contractors stiffed, uniformed first responders cut back. Our nuclear deterrent will be indefinitely suspended. Ha, made that one up, but give them time.

Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together.

The president has apparently sent out orders to every department and agency and told them to inform the public of the very worst thing that could happen as a result of  slashing 5% from their budget—the particular thing that would inconvenience the public the most—and see that the media expresses the scariest part.  (I wonder what the actual orders were?) And see that it is all blamed on the Republicans in Congress.

Obama tried hard to blame the automatic cuts in the sequester law on Republicans, but it was his idea. That is confirmed by Polifact, the Washington Post, and in particular by Bob Woodward who detailed the account of meetings, interviews with key participants and contemporaneous notes — which make it clear that sequestration was a proposal advanced and promoted by the White House.

The whining and keening by the administration is nearly deafening. Global grind said that  meat processing plants would be crippled as inspectors were furloughed, threatening the food supply, and risking food borne sickness. Thousands of teachers would be laid off (excuse me, teachers are not employees of the federal government) and thousands of parents would struggle to find child care. Six hundred thousand pregnant women and mothers of small children would be cut from WIC. 1,000 federal law enforcement officials, 1,500 corrections officers furloughed and 5,000 border patrol and customs officers at points of entry.

The Christian Science Monitor bemoaned the parks: fewer rangers, locked restrooms and visitor centers, trash cans not emptied — more bears in campgrounds! Cuts would be implemented over 7 months so it would hit families during vacation season. The New Republic, newly hard left, said “cancel the sequestration or Virginia gets it” with 10% of all job losses as a result of sequestration. Virginia state economy ravaged.

At the Huffington Post, Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said there’s a right way and a wrong way and sequestration was the most boneheaded way that could be concocted. (Speak to Mr. Obama).  Public safety, military readiness, FAA operations, food safety, Medicare and Medicaid services, no cancer screenings, and anyway it wouldn’t even reduce the deficit significantly.

Yuval Levin, writing at National Review:

The Congressional Budget Office (on page 11 of its latest budget outlook, published earlier this month) estimates that while FY 2013 spending will ultimately be reduced by $85 billion, “discretionary outlays will drop by $35 billion and mandatory spending will be reduced by $9 billion this year as a direct result of those procedures; additional reductions in outlays attributable to the cuts in 2013 funding will occur in later years.”So in this fiscal year, we would actually be looking at a $44 billion spending cut, or less than a 1.5% reduction from what federal spending otherwise would have been.

President Obama does not want to reduce spending. He refuses to acknowledge that spending is a problem, and apparently cannot conceive of doing government without ever-increasing spending. He is fiercely competitive, and has moved decisively to expand government authority. It is clear that budgetary decisions will dictate the national defense profile. His desire to control the withdrawal of most international commitments will be a response to fiscal needs. Since Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are ‘untouchable’, that makes defense the target for dramatic retrenchment. He implies that the U.S. can no longer meet international commitments and cannot afford to be a superpower.

Herbert London wrote: “To achieve his goals, the president must regain control of the House. All efforts over the next two years will be deride, embarrass, and undermine Republican leadership. Republicans will be the target and divide and conquer will be the strategy with the encouragement of a third party a distinct possibility.”

“In another four years—should Obama be able to carry out his agenda—America will look like a very different country. The government will be the primary source of all economic activity. …And the U.S. bilateral defense agreements will have as much value as the paper they are written on. The U.S. will have been Europeanized just as Europe enters the dustbin of history.”

And you thought “fundamentally transforming America” meant efforts to end dissension between the parties— a better atmosphere in Washington D.C.

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And, of course, the biggest fear of Democrats and the Obama administration is that if the sequestration occurs, people may find out that a lot of these organizations CAN get by with less money; for example, meat packing plants employ their own inspectors and usually work under higher standards than the ones issued by the government. When Virginia had a budget problem a couple years ago (the last year of Democrat Tim Kaine’s governorship, as it happens) they closed several rest areas along I-81 and I-95 to save money. Well, it didn’t really save money, and people who needed to pull off would just go on to the next exit where there was a service station (I know, I drive I-81 from Kingsport, TN to Northern Virginia and DC frequently).

One of the things overlooked by Obama and the other fans of Alinsky and his tactics is that fear has a shelf life. People get tired of being afraid, and will eventually rebell against it. You’re starting to see that now ia lot of people, and outlets that would never have been critical about anything a Democrat ever said or did will start being critical of Obama and his politics of fear and division.


Comment by Lon Mead

Closing rest areas and parks is a favorite trick in this very left coast state when the government is trying to get their way. I think people are beginning to recognize that it IS as trick. I think Obama’s pursuit of gun control is a mistake. He doesn’t appreciate how strongly Americans feel about their constitutional rights and how many people hunt and fish. He’s really quite out of touch with the American people. People who may not understand what sequestration is or surely can recognize some of the outrageous scare tactics. His new assertive, bullying manner is not very attractive.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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