Conservatives Are Falling Into Obama’s Trap

by Sal on March 9, 2009

in Politics

What is it with Conservatives and Republicans that we are so ready to throw our own overboard at the first sign of a misstep, mistake, controversial statement, or slightest deviation from Conservative Orthodoxy?  I’m not talking here about our reasonable disgust with the Lincoln Chafees and Arlen Specters of the world, or even our disdain for the David Brooks, Peggy Noonans, and David Frums of the world.  Yet it seems to me that Conservatives are very quick to attack their own, as in the recent cases of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele, and Bobby Jindal.  By focusing so much time and attention attacking our own, we are falling into the Obama trap that is one of the hallmarks of Saul Alinski’s Rules for Radicals:

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”

By setting in motion the coordinated attacks of Rush Limbaugh, Obama’s team has introduced infighting within the Conservative Movement that is doing far more damage to our cause than anything the Obama administration could have done externally.

Rush’s assertion that “I want Obama to fail” has been explained on his show, yet many prominent conservative bloggers still do not get it.  Rush wasn’t saying that he wants Obama’s policies to actually fail, or that he wants the country to fail, but rather that he wants Obama to fail at implementing his policies at all.  Despite what some on the right are saying, Rush has repeatedly explained this on his show from the beginning, and as recently as last week.  Rush is not the leader of the GOP, and he says as much.  But to discount Rush’s importance and to try to marginalize him risks doing irreprerable damage to the Conservative movement.  Obama and his team know this, and are probably celebrating at this infighting as we speak.

Many on the right are also now attacking GOP Chair Michael Steele, with some even calling for his resignation as head of the GOP.  They are pointing to his disasterous performance on CNN where he made disparaging comments about Rush and failed to defend conservative principles.  While I agree that Steele messed that one up, one bad interview should not be an excuse to tar and feather him.  For better or worse, Steele is the Chair of the RNC, and has been so for just little over a month.  Despite what many are saying, it appears that Steele does indeed have things under control, and more time should be given before we throw him under the bus.

Bobby Jindal is another case of the wholesale problem Conservatives have with tossing their own overboard.  He gave an admittedly mediocre perforamnce in response to Obama’s quasi-State of the Union address, and suddenly a group of conservatives were ready to discount any chances he had for higher office, including most prominently, Laura Ingraham.  While I agree that style does matter, Jindal has been one of the most effective governors in the last few years, and to discount him because of one mediocre speech is ridiculous.

If we tossed aside every Conservative or Republican because of a misstep, we would have no party left.  Yet it seems since the election, Obama has us running so scared that we are doing exactly that.  No one person is the party or the movement, yet each have their own role to play.  Whether a talk show host, party chair, blogger, pundit, or grassroots conservative, the real enemy is not among us.  The real enemy is the current occupant of the White House who is in the process of implementing the most radical liberal agenda in the history of our nation, one that could fundamentally transform this nation until it is unrecognizable from its great past.  Attacking Rush, Steele, Jindal, and others, we are not doing anything to advance the eventual victory of Conservatism, but are doing more to harm those prospects.  By attacking each other, we are falling right into Obama’s hands and distracting ourselves from the ultimate goal.  We need to show a unity of purpose and stop the finger pointing within the movement, and redirect our efforts to stopping our real opponents, the Democrats.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike March 9, 2009 at 11:06 am

Excellent post. I think the problem with some conservatives is that they are afraid of Obama in the same way that some conservatives were afraid of Clinton. Back then, the GOP was united and on message and wiped the floor with the Dems in 1994. After the government shutdown, the GOP was spooked, the infighting began, and Clinton was re-elected.

In that case, we at least got Clinton to swallow a good part of our agenda (no pun intended). I’m not sure we’re going to be as lucky this time.


Noel March 10, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Professional pundits do not seem to be banding together to save conservatism. Is there more money to be made being part of the problem?


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