Excellent, excellent, excellent article by Jim Geraghty entitled “Unruly Progressives: why it’s so hard to make progressives live up to their own rules.”
First, a little review of Alinsky’s Rule #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Note first the word “enemy” rather than “opponent” or “adversary.” Alinsky knew what he was doing when he used language: the opposition is the enemy, according to the left. No beating around the bush; this is war.
Now note the idea that the enemy has rules it aspires to live up to. But really ruthless enemies in real wars are the ones who don’t mind bending or even breaking their own rules, if they have any at all in the first place. With the left, it’s hard to discern what their rules are except that the goal is to win at all costs. For the right, it doesn’t seem quite that way. It’s hard to make an enemy play by its own rules if abiding by the rules is not very important to them, and the left is that kind of enemy.
That’s why Geraghty writes:
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.
That is their secret weapon, one that fewer on the right have mastered.
Which is why Richard Nixon resigned and Bill Clinton held fast, even through an impeachment trial. The first was abandoned by his own party because he had violated their principles, and the second was supported by his own party even though he had violated theirs (the ones they professed to have, that is).
[NOTE: On reflection, I think this has something to do with my change experience. Even when I was a liberal, I applied the same rules to both sides. I didn't like hypocrisy and I didn't like lies, no matter who was guilty of them. Once I got enough information to decide that liberals were more often guilty of them than conservatives were (not that either side is immune), it helped tip the balance for me.]