Paging Saul Alinsky. Saul Alinsky, please call your office

A couple of weeks ago during an appearance in Michigan, Mitt Romney was talking at length about how Michigan was the place he and his wife, Ann, had been born and raised. In the midst of it he added a comment about no one needing to ask to see his birth certificate.

I thought at the time, and I still do, that the only reason he threw that in was to needle his opponent. I doubt it altered anyone’s thinking at the time, and I doubt the statement itself will matter in the election. It could matter as a sign of a tactic.

Saul Alinsky’s fifth rule concerned the use of ridicule. People in power tend to consider themselves important, and significant, and deserving respect. Ridicule undermines all those ascribed characteristics. It takes a lot for anyone to handle ridicule with aplomb. It’s harder for those who aren’t used to it and who consider it wrong. They’re likely to make mistakes in their efforts to make it stop.

Clint Eastwood’s unusual performance at the GOP convention indicates to me that the campaign is likely to continue to look for ways to use Alinsky’s rule. The President responded by tweeting a picture of him in his chair, and that picture is now being used against him, with Alfred E. Neuman, Valerie Jarrett, and a teleprompter screen (among others) appearing to occupy the chair.

Which is another of Alinsky’s rules: your people need to have fun while organizing themselves to take power away from the establishment. Let’s keep it fun, people.

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4 Responses to Paging Saul Alinsky. Saul Alinsky, please call your office

  1. From what I can glean over here in UK Romney and his friends have taken it way beyond fun, so I guess it’s up to you, great post 😉

  2. hoboduke says:

    Romney with deadpan delivery reminded everyone of Obama’s assertion of his goal to keep the oceans from rising and killing millions. We don’t know if Obama has set a timetable on solving this crisis he proclaimed, but everyone in the audience laughed in acknowledging the absurdity of the Obama pompous elevation by himself to Mount Olympus. His simple direct rejoinder to the audience that Romney plan is to; “Help you. And help your family.” All cheered. Not for a promise of free stuff from the government, but for someone who actually thinks we should help our citizens instead of claiming god like powers of Neptune to control the ocean.

    • Wordsson says:

      That contrast, with its highlight of the absurdity of Obama’s self-regard in 2008, was well done by Romney. I wonder if he had in mind forcing people to think about what Obama actually says instead of merely feeling good about how he says it.

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