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When Newt Gingrich scolded CNN’s John King at the South Carolina debate, he didn’t just stand up to the media; he smacked down the Saul Alinsky method. When a candidate does that, he can deliver a knockout blow to Barack Obama, Alinsky’s prized ideological protege.

Take a look at Rule number five of the Alinsky method in Rules for Radicals, which states:


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Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

This is exactly what King attempted to do by bringing up the charges made by Newt’s ex-wife in an interview with ABC’s Brian Ross. Did King infuriate Gingrich by asking the question right out of the gate? Yes. Did Gingrich react to King’s advantage? Absolutely not. He channeled the fury of conservatives and delivered a counterattack squarely on the jaw of a liberal media bully; King had been stunned in epic fashion.

Conservatives know that the mainstream media is running interference for Barack Obama while attempting to portray objectivity. Gingrich exposed this dynamic thoroughly and with perfect timing, by making the charge as that reality was on full display for all to see. He connected the dots as the offense was being committed. The more King attempted to hit Gingrich, the more forcefully the former was beaten back by the latter.

One day after the debate, another CNN reporter – Erin Burnett – attempted to wound Gingrich with Rule number five of the Alinsky method. She asked him to respond to charges that he was hypocritical by going after president Bill Clinton in the 1990’s during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while he was committing similar indescretions. The question was intended to trap Gingrich but it did the opposite; his response made Burnett look foolish for not seeing the clear line of distinction. Clinton committed a felony by perjuring himself; Gingrich did no such thing. Burnett wilted and reacted to Gingrich’s advantage.


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Rule number five of the Alinsky Method includes a premise that says the target will be placed on defense whenever it’s used. When that happens, the rule works. However, when the target effectively goes on offense, the rule backfires. No other candidate has demonstrated this ability. Sarah Palin seemed to have some of it in 2008 but she was muzzled by her running mate, who was clueless and instructed his campaign not to go after Obama over Jeremiah Wright, which was exactly the wrong thing to do.

There is a narrative afoot that says Mitt Romney is the only candidate who can beat Obama. The media seems to be perfectly willing to echo it. Why would it do so if it is interested in getting Obama reelected? The answer is simple; the Obama camp wants to face Romney. Once Romney gets the nomination, he will be the target of Alinsky’s method rule number five and he has shown no indication that he is capable of overcoming its intended effect. He’s already said he won’t call Obama a socialist. By not telling the truth about Obama, Romney will be an ideal target for ridicule; he will succumb to rule number five and he will react to Obama’s advantage.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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