Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 8/22/14
Not long before his death in 1971, Saul Alinsky wrote a book called Rules for Radicals. Alinsky called himself a “community organizer,” the same title once claimed by Barack Obama.
Like Obama, Alinsky hailed from Chicago. Rules for Radicals was intended as a primer for counterculture-era organizers. The book springs from the premise that established institutions and cultural norms stand in opposition to racial, political and social justice. Thus such institutions and cultural norms are fair game.
Rules for Radicals comes to mind as we contemplate the malicious prosecution of Governor Rick Perry.
If you somehow missed it, Gov. Perry has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury for abusing the power of his office. The indictment comes as a result of a case filed by a special prosecutor. That special prosecutor was appointed as a result of a complaint filed by the liberal group Texans for Public Justice. TPJ has a history of targeting Republicans for prosecution.
The facts of this case, including the DWI conviction of Travus County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, are well-known. We laid out those facts earlier this week here.
For the sake of space, let’s let it suffice that the case against Rick Perry is a crock.
In the case of Gov. Perry, rule no. 12 from Rules for Radicals can be seen in full operation. The rule states:
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. Go after people and not institutions. People hurt faster than institutions.”
Politics has always been a blood sport but with the introduction of previously counterculture tactics to mainstream politics, one can’t help feeling that a line has been crossed from which there may be no possible return.
The indictment of Rick Perry is disturbing not because of the impact it will have on Rick Perry. (The argument can actually be made that the Democrats have overplayed their hand and that Perry will emerge even stronger.)
The indictment is disturbing because of the realization that the left – emboldened by the success of the Alinsky-style Chicago politics practiced by Barack Obama – no longer feels the need to even make a pretense of legal or moral propriety.
This speaks to a troubling devolution in the American political process. Not long ago, propriety dictated that you couldn’t accuse a political opponent of a crime without some bits and pieces that could at least momentarily pass as evidence of an actual crime.
But now, as the Perry prosecution clearly reveals, a criminal case against a political opponent need not have any more substance to it than that of a TV attack ad. In the hands of a prosecutor so inclined, criminal prosecution is just another political weapon.
Rick Perry is a successful, popular conservative governor of a deeply red state. He has possible presidential aspirations. This is simply intolerable to the current generation of Texas Democrats. Thus, under Alinksy rules, anything goes. Nothing is out of bounds.
Such would have been intolerable to Texas Democrats like Lloyd Bentsen, William Hobby and Bob Bullock. But those gentlemen are long gone along with the personal and political ethics they embraced.
It’s Saul Alinsky-style ethics that now guide Texas Democrats.