1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. This was very effective in the beginning of Obama’s campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2008. She held all the cards, but Obama’s team used smoke and mirrors to make it look like he was her equal.There you go. If any of these rules seem familiar, it’s because you’re watching them in action. The reason people have cited Alinsky so often when speaking of Obama is that he has lived by this rule book from day one of his political career. Obama and his allies made sure that he was unopposed in his primary for the state senate in 1996 by challenging the signatures of every candidate, including the incumbent. This being Chicago, he had no Republican challenger in the general election.
3. Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. In his words, you want to create confusion, fear, and retreat. This means that you want your opponent to have to deal with something outside his normal frame of reference. This is the tactic Obama is using to attack Romney’s private sector experience – a history that has been universally applauded, but that he now has to defend from scurrilous charges as those made by Joe Soptic about the death of his wife somehow being the responsibility of Romney.
4. Make the enemy live up to their own rules. This is a common leftist tactic. Republicans cannot have a sexual affair because they are proponents of family values, but Democrats can because they are not. If you have no ethical standards, you can’t be challenged on them.
8. Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purposes. If you think that what Obama has tried so far in this Presidential election has been nasty – you ain’t seen nothing yet.
11. If you push a negative hard, it will break through into its counterside. This certainly is what the Obama team is trying to do. Axelrod and his henchmen repeatedly create scenarios about Romney; and, whether true or not, push them through their media allies, and then keep pushing until the voters believe it and accept it. An example is the coining of the term Romneyhood accusing Romney of wanting to raise taxes on the middle class and lower them for the more successful earners when Romney has asked for a 20% rate cut across the board.
12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. This means that if you don’t want the opposition to turn the tables on you, concede that you are correct about a problem, and then demand your solution. Thus, Obama will offer no solutions to any problems facing America. He has not and will not. But he will turn this tactic on Romney every chance he gets, and he will hammer any solution that Romney offers. Therefore, if you were wondering why Romney has stayed away from specifics, now you know why. Because of the nature of the opposition, Romney is almost forced into criticizing Obama only on his (manifest) lack of performance.
13. Pick the target it, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. If you’ve been following this election at all, this is really self-evident. Chicago-style politics were used on Romney even before he became the nominee, and the Chicago gang reached a new low by accusing Romney of committing a felony. Then they went lower by tying him to the death of a woman.
Despite being unopposed, President Obama now includes anecdotes in his stump speech about how tough that initial election was for him. He states that when he and Mrs. Obama walked precincts, people said “Nobody can pronounce your name. How are you going to win?” If you ever doubted that Obama will say and do virtually anything, you should disabuse yourself of that idea immediately.
Saul Alinsky would be proud.