Why it’s so hard to make progressives live up to their own rules.
By Jim Geraghty
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.”
The strategy of “making them live up to their own book of rules” is frequently mentioned and discussed these days at Breitbart.com, Instapundit, Ace 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 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.
Sexism? Come on. The presidency of Bill Clinton proved that a powerful man womanizing with young staffers was no big deal to most liberals. Bill Maher can call Sarah Palin a “cu*t” and “tw*t” without losing any Democratic members of Congress as guests, and the Iowa Democratic party happily builds fundraisers around his performances.
In New Hampshire, Democratic state representative Peter Sullivan called Republican state representative and congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia “Kim Kardashian” and went on to refer to her as “Al Baldasarro [sic] in stiletto heels” and “a lightweight.” (Al Baldasaro is another Republican state representative.)
Exploitation? Michael Moore didn’t use union workers on his film claiming that greedy corporations exploit workers. The Nation, which pays its interns the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, wrote an open letter to Walmart demanding that it pay its workers at least $12 per hour. The American Prospect, which frequently demands a hike in the minimum wage, offers a $100 weekly stipend for a full-time internship.
Some unions may pay you a bit more than that, namely $8.50 per hour, to protest and chant outside worksites where contractors are not using union labor. Don’t give the unions too much grief about hiring non-union labor, though; Hillary Clinton served on the board of directors of Walmart from 1986 to 1992.
Gun-control advocates Moore and Rosie O’Donnell travel with armed security guards, claiming for themselves a right of armed defense that they wish to deny others. Sarah Brady purchased a rifle after years of activism in support of stricter gun-control laws.
Many opponents of voucher programs send their kids to private schools. John Edwards called for steep tax hikes, after years of using a legal loophole to save $600,000 in Medicare taxes. If you have the right party affiliation, you can do anything. You can even run up a giant carbon footprint traveling around the world urging other people to reduce their carbon footprint.
More article at link: http://m.nationalreview.com/article/374207/unruly-progressives-jim-geraghty