Jim Geraghty: Why it’s So Hard to Make Progressives Live Up to Their Own Rules

Reid-Obama

Unruly Progressives 

Rules for Radicals are Different than Rules for You and Me

Jim Geraghty writes: Shortly after Barack Obama rose to the presidency, the Right became fascinated by Saul Alinsky, and in particular by the philosopher and community organizer’s “Rules for Radicals.” Many on the right focused their attention on Alinsky’s Fourth Rule: “Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

ruleforradicalsRules for Radicals, Amazon has it. 

The strategy of “making them live up to their own book of rules” is frequently mentioned and discussed these days at Breitbart.comInstapunditAce of Spades, and just about every other conservative website and blog.

James O’Keefe, the activist and journalist behind the famous ACORN videos, articulated the approach directly: “The Left doesn’t care about the laws or the rules. They are hypocrites, and the only way to win is to make them live up to their book of rules. I have found that the only thing they care about is racism, sexism and exploitation.”

“…not that many liberals care whether their brethren are following their own book of rules. They’ve demonstrated a remarkable acceptance for one another’s hypocrisy.”

Not to take away from O’Keefe’s work, which generates must-watch videos and scandal-inspired resignations with metronomic regularity, but there may be a flaw in this strategy. Ultimately, not that many liberals care whether their brethren are following their own book of rules. They’ve demonstrated a remarkable acceptance for one another’s hypocrisy.

Sure, once in a while, a prominent liberal will run afoul of his brethren. MSNBC dropped its relationship with Alec Baldwin shortly after suspending him in the wake of video footage of the actor allegedly shouting homophobic slurs to a paparazzo. Around the same time, Martin Bashir resigned after he declared, on air, that someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth.

But Democrats are given a wide, wide berth for comments they themselves would be quick to label racist. South Carolina Democratic chairman Dick Harpootlian, for example, urged his party to “send Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from.” (That would be Bamberg, S.C., but her parents were Sikh immigrants from India.) Last year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked an Indian man at a university Q&A if he was a member of the Taliban.

Senator Harry Reid got just a slap on the wrist for his declaration that Barack Obama was a “light-skinned” African American with “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia earned a pass for being an Exalted Cyclops in the KKK and filibustering the Civil Rights Act by voting the right way as his Senate career progressed. Left-of-center magazines with nearly entirely white editorial staffs tear into the Republican party for insufficient diversity in its ranks….Read more….

National Review Online


4 Comments on “Jim Geraghty: Why it’s So Hard to Make Progressives Live Up to Their Own Rules”

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  3. […] Pundit from another Planet Unruly Progressives Rules for Radicals are Different than Rules for You and Me Jim Geraghty writes: […]


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