Saul Alinsky Takes the White House
Conservatives may not realize just how difficult it might be to recover from this week's elections.
The day after the big defeat, the conservative chatter everywhere was about how the "movement" and the Republican Party (two different things) could finally unshackle themselves from the bad old habits that brought them down, and about how the ability to draw a sharp contrast with the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate would allow us to focus attention, rally the faithful, and re-storm the castle in 2010 and 2012.
Too many conservatives think we've seen all this before -- in 1964 and 1974 and 1992 -- and that we know how to handle it. Fly, meet ointment: We're not dealing with the same sorts of opponents. These New Alinskyites who are taking over the White House, combined with the most leftist congressional leadership in memory, will not let us play by the same rules under which conservatives recovered from those earlier debacles. They will try to drastically tilt the playing field, seed our side of the field with land mines and, in short, rig the process to make it next to impossible for the political right, or Republicans, to recover. And they are likely to succeed in at least some of these designs.
It will begin with their efforts to secure a filibuster-proof majority of 60 senators (including the two independents). Right now the libs (and yes, all the Democratic senators, with the possible exception of Nebraska's Ben Nelson, are libs) have 56, with three Republican moderates and one conservative leading their races but awaiting recounts or runoffs. Watch for the Alinskyites to try stealing all four, and to succeed in at least two. We've seen this game before. They did it in Indiana's "Bloody Eighth" congressional district in 1984. They almost succeeded in 2000 in Florida. They did succeed, outrageously so, in the Washington State governor's race in 2004. Those are just the most obvious of many similar examples.
And now they are even more ruthless, more lawyered-up, and in a more powerful position to pull it off than they were in any of those instances.
Next, watch what happens if they regularly can't peel off enough Republicans (or hold their own semi-fairminded people like Nelson and Joe Lieberman) to overcome whatever filibuster attempts Republicans do mount. Watch for an assault on the filibuster itself. Watch how they use as precedent the GOP "nuclear/constitutional option" on judges in 2005 -- except instead of just using it for judges, watch them use it against all filibusters. It's easy: Make the ruling from the chair that the filibuster is out of order for some reason. Instruct the parliamentarian to rule in their favor. Win the appeal of the parliamentarian's ruling by simple majority vote. And watch the courts pronounce it an internal matter of the legislative branch and thus outside of courtroom purview.
Watch a cheerleading establishment media -- the Fourth Estate as a veritable Fifth Column -- actually back these lefty maneuvers. It's all in the name of one-man/one-vote democracy, dontcha know? The filibuster once served its purpose, they'll say, but as a vestige of Southern "massive resistance" to integration it is now being used for massive resistance to the first black president, which invalidates it (suddenly) as a legitimate tool.
Watch the left use these tactics and others to pass even more liberalized voting laws -- an open invitation to even more fraud that is more creative, easier to hide, and less challengeable in court.
Watch what Michael Barone called the Obama "thugocracy" use the Justice Department to stifle dissent. Anybody who complains about vote fraud will be charged with "vote suppression." Anybody who complains about DoJ's actions will be charged with interfering with an investigation. Anybody who denies having interfered will be charged with perjury. Likewise, anybody who peacefully protests abortion clinics or the use of state-sponsored racial quotas will be charged with a civil rights violation. And the accused won't be able to look to the Supreme Court for help: Anthony Kennedy's "evolving standards" of justice will evolve to match the new zeitgeist, providing a 5-4 majority for the administration. Meanwhile, of course, Obama's other appointments will be filling up the rest of the judiciary at a rapid clip, with nobody able to stop them.
Other ways the Obama axis will tilt the playing field: "card check" legislation to eliminate secret ballots in unionizing and to force union victories in contract negotiations. Provision after provision giving favors to the trial bar so it can sue enemies into submission. Copious new regulations, especially environmental, to be used selectively to ensnare other conservative malcontents. Invasive IRS audits of conservative think tanks, other conservative 501 organizations, and PACs.
What Ohio officials did in rifling through so many of Joe Wurzelbacher's files will serve as ample precedent. (Just watch, by the way: Nobody ever will be effectively disciplined for the violation of Wurzelbacher's rights.)
And, only when the time is right and the ground (or air) has been well prepared, will come the grand-daddy of all fights, the re-enactment of the misnamed "Fairness Doctrine."
Oh, they'll be clever. They'll pick their spot. They'll wait until Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Mark Levin says something innocent they can twist out of context and call "hate speech" -- and then they'll highlight some schoolyard fight where a member of a "victim group" gets the worst of it as if the "attack" were caused by talk-rad…no, make that "hate radio," which will be the new moniker the Fifth Column/Fourth Estate hangs on the talkmeisters.
(Even before imposing the Fairness Doctrine, they'll use the Federal Communications Commission in other ways to put a muffler on their opponents.)
And, always, a few carefully calibrated street demonstrations, splashed with just the right headlines across the East Coast newspapers and captured by just the right camera angle on CBS News, will be used any time, on any issue, to make the point that civil unrest would be the price of resistance to the benevolent desires of the Obama regime.
The erosions of conservative rights will be incremental. Each one will have its own justification. Each one will be supported by the establishment media. Each one will be timed so as to allow the general public to become accustomed to it, to accept it as unremarkable, or even to come to regard it as a public good for the sake of keeping conservative "troublemakers" from fomenting disorder.
And the Obamessiah, still speaking frequently to stadia full of admirers, will provide a tone of reasoned moderation, combined with further appeals to hope, in order to justify it all.
These are the sorts of things Alinskyites do. These are the sorts of tactics used by ACORN, at whose conferences Obama himself regularly taught seminars on "power." These are the sorts of policies favored by the academic left, Obama's old milieu -- the policies that favor speech codes and stolen campus newspapers and the firing of faculty for "offensive" remarks.
Conservatives have fought things like this for years already, of course. But they've never fought it while the left controlled so many of the levers of power, and certainly not when the left was led by such a charismatic and near cult-inspiring leader who was so smart, so well steeped in these stratagems, and so fully supported by a Fourth Estate up whose legs warm feelings run every time he waxes eloquent.
It will take very focused, very intelligent, very skillful action by conservatives to stop this creeping subversion of a free society. This is a whole different political battlefield than any on which we've fought before. And we haven't yet found our Omar Bradley.
Quin Hillyer is an associate editor at the Washington Examiner and a senior editor of The American Spectator. He can be reached at email@example.com