The President’s Comment About “Punishing Their Enemies”


SK: This was all the strategy of a fellow named Greg Galluzzo, who was very much following Alinsky’s theory of community organizing. He was a mentor to Obama. He was the founder of this radical group, UNO of Chicago. Obama’s own community organization, the Developing Communities Project, was an offshoot of UNO of Chicago. Galluzzo’s idea was: If you could trap a public official into an immediate yes or no answer, you would win either way. If you’re asking this person for money, which is what they usually were doing, if he says “yes,” you get the money. But if he says “no” – a distinct “no” instead of “maybe,” or “let’s look into this” – then you can infuriate the organization.

GB: They become, in their words, “an enemy.” It’s much easier to say, “This is an enemy of the community.” Any opportunity for subtlety or a nuanced answer that went beyond one word, they would do everything that they could to avoid that…because that sort of answer makes it more difficult to agitate over.

SK: That’s right. These tactics were intentionally polarizing. Think about that word, enemy, and what Barack Obama just recently said so controversially to a mostly Hispanic audience about “punishing their enemies.” That was a slip, revealing what Obama had been taught for years. That was not some one-off coincidental word that he happened to be using. Galluzzo’s and Alinsky’s whole idea was that you identify targets or enemies…And what Galluzzo also said was, “Present yourself as a pragmatist. Present yourself as someone who is beyond ideology, but then use polarizing tactics”…When you really know what Galluzzo is all about, you can get the real story on what Obama did back then.

That Was Then

this is now. And what a difference a year…or…something…makes. A compare and contrast of the New York Times’ ever-flexible standards of what we need to know:

“The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.”–New York Times, on the Climategate emails, Nov. 20, 2009

“The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. . . . The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match.”–New York Times, on the WikiLeaks documents

These are our principles, and if you don’t like them, we have others.

Quote Du Jour

From Wretchard:

Now the Republic’s enemies must be asking themselves: where is the bottom to these people’s incompetence? Can they do anything at all? How safe is it to rush ahead? Why don’t we try?

And if they do, what tools will President Obama have left? Diplomacy? Economic incentives or sanctions? Moral authority? Maybe the military. Yes that’s it. But his competence at war is predicted by his incompetence in peace. One would hope he’d have the sense to stay away from truly dangerous tools and that probably means he doesn’t know better.

What were they thinking, two years ago?

[Update late morning]

Gee, I’m pretty sure that some people pointed this out to Mark Kleiman at the time. Another quote du jour (this one for today):

What’s terrifying is the possibility that he hasn’t thought seriously about the problem: that’s the downside of electing a President without long experience in Washington, or any experience as a manager.

You mean there was a downside to that? But what about the hope? And the change?

Pork In The Beehive

My thoughts on the Utah delegation’s selective fiscal conservatism, when it comes to NASA, over at PJM.

[Update a few minutes later]

Bobby Block and Mark Matthews have a story on the latest twist in space policy, about Lockmart’s proposal to test fly Orion on a Delta IV. The Utah porkers are still at it:

“I hate to see different entities try to cannibalize the process,” said U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R- Utah, a staunch supporter of his state’s solid-rocket industry. “There is money to move forward on [a heavy-lift rocket using solid-rocket motors], as well as the capsule, as long as NASA budgets its money wisely and doesn’t waste it on wild goose chases.”

…In meetings last week, Bishop told NASA chief Charlie Bolden he was concerned that NASA was dragging its feet transitioning from Constellation to the new heavy-lift program that ensured a role for Utah’s solid-rocket motor industry. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said he called the meeting “to explain in no uncertain terms the Utah congressional delegation’s interest in ensuring that Utah’s solid-rocket motor industry is protected.”

You know what’s a “wild goose chase”? Expecting to get an affordable or sustainable program with an expensive, monopolistic NASA-developed vehicle from legacy hardware. You have to give Orrin Hatch points for honesty, though.

On The Mindless Tribalism

…of The Nation:

It’s possible that not all of the magazine’s archives are online, or that the search engine didn’t pick up every example. But hey, I at least made the effort, which is more than we can say for vanden Heuvel. Even if I missed a few, I think my point is made: Libertarians have been out in front on this issue from the start. And contra vanden Heuvel and Ames/Levine, not only was libertarian criticism not muted when a Republican occupied the White House, during that time libertarian journalists, wonks, and pundits did a damned sight better job covering TSA abuses, inefficacy, and theatrics than the The Nation.

The mindless criticism of the Koch brothers by those funded by George Soros is also simultaneously amusing and infuriating.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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