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.