But Obama has far exceeded dismal expectations. No previous American president employed the systematic distortion of fact and mendacious characterization of opponents that have typified Obama’s presidency. His “so sue me” speech last week is a classic illustration of the community organizer practicing Saul Alinsky’s 13th rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
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Consider this passage from Obama’s remarks: “Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me. As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something. And look, I just want to be clear — Republicans in Congress, they’re patriots, they love their country, they love their families.
“They just have a flawed theory of the economy that they can’t seem to get past. They believe that all we should be doing is giving more tax breaks to those at the top, eliminating regulations that stop big banks or polluters from doing what they want, cut the safety net for people trying to work their way into the middle class, and then somehow the economy is going to get stronger and jobs and prosperity trickle down to everybody.”
Demagogues always pick a target on which to project a society’s ills. Obama and his policies have been in place for six years, yet the economy is contracting, millions of Americans are unemployed, the border is in chaos and terrorists are stronger than they’ve been in decades.
But that’s all the fault of “Republicans” because, according to Obama, “they’re doing nothing” but obstructing. He thus freezes them as evil people who just want to give more tax breaks to their rich friends, let bankers gouge consumers and polluters trash the environment. When they’re finished with that, in Obama’s warped telling, they will throw poor, starving women and children into the streets.
As for personalizing them, any House Republican will do at any given moment, but now that John Boehner is talking about asking the federal courts to stop Obama’s blatant disregard for the Constitution, the House Speaker can expect a torrent of character assassination unlike anything he’s ever experienced. That’s how community organizers from Chicago do it.
The polarization in this passage is the same one Obama has been pushing throughout his presidency. He’s defending “middle-class families” — and an ever-lengthening list of other “victims” like women, immigrant children, students and on and on — against those rich Republicans, with their “flawed theory of the economy they can’t get past.”
With 33 percent of Americans surveyed by the Quinnipiac University Poll saying he is the worst president since WWII, one might think Obama would try a new approach. He won’t because Alinsky’s eighth rule says “keep the pressure on. Never let up.”