The Fighter Pilot and the Organizer

For those interested in campaign tactical theory (I assume there is such a thing), the blogs Classical Values and Belmont Club both critique the “community organizer” Barack Obama for not doing a good job of adhering to Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” And Simon at CV offers a helpful analogy apt for this contest between a fighter-pilot and an organizer” McCain has gotten inside of Obama’s OODA Loop.

The OODA Loop, often called Boyd’s Cycle, is a creation of Col. John Boyd, USAF (Ret.). Col. Boyd was a student of tactical operations and observed a similarity in many battles and campaigns. He noted that in many of the engagements, one side presented the other with a series of unexpected and threatening situations with which they had not been able to keep pace. The slower side was eventually defeated. What Col. Boyd observed was the fact that conflicts are time competitive.

Simon elaborates:

Elections are nothing if they are not time competitive. Evidently the “freezing of the opponent” that Alinsky recommends has not worked on McCain. He was not frozen. Once that happened McCain was operating inside Obama’s decision loop.

Wretchard at BC also explains why Obama hasn’t been a very good Alinsky acolyte:

Alinsky’s Community Organizing model was above all a response within the Left to the Cult of Personality. Rules for Radicals is founded on the principle of “letting the people decide”, and while it does not dogmatically discount the influence of leadership it fundamentally rejects the idea that a “vanguard” intellectual elite can lead the “masses”….
The ideal organizer never takes personal credit for success. He finds existing currents and empowers people to free themselves from oppressors in culturally familiar ways. Organizers may provide background support for the popular activity — often doing the hard, dangerous stuff behind the scenes — but the people must always see achievements as being due to their own effort. Finally an organizer fades away. The ambition of a great organizer is to ride into the sunset like Shane, leaving a people’s organization that will persist after he is gone….
A real organizer works in small settings, amplifying, exhorting, putting others on the stage. He doesn’t work in front of large crowds and from the front pages of newspapers. And if it is objected that nobody can become President of the United States that way, the answer is that community organizers don’t want to become Presidents. They want to be organizers.

Gee, that sounds just like the organizers I know (quack quack).

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

There are no egos at RIF you can be sure-all just working together as a copacetic community to make a better world-I am amzed at how so many “organizers”can’t organize their lives and often have cars and houses that are overly cluttered

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