When the axis tilts

The Martha’s Vineyard’s meltdown illustrates the efficacy of a few of Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals. Governors Abbott and DeSantis have put several of Alinsky’s rules in play Among them:

• Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.

• Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

• A good tactic is one your people enjoy.

• Keep the pressure on.

• The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

• Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

These rules were formulated for the use of the left. When employed to mount opposition to the left, the axis of American life and politics tilts. The end of the world is nigh.

Politico’s West Wing Playbook gives us the White House reading of “the DeSantis stunt.” A “stunt” = the application of an Alinskyite tactic on the right. It must be time to call in the enforcers at the Department of Justice: “During an immigration meeting on Friday, White House and administration officials discussed potential responses, including ‘litigation options.'”

You can feel the axis tilting:

Privately, White House officials have been annoyed by the story line, viewing it as a manufactured political wedge issue designed to try and elevate the Republicans governors pushing it. They are reluctant to do anything that might look like they are feeding the theatrics — disinterested, one official said, in further making the migrants look like political pawns — even as they take steps to help alleviate the needs of those who have been relocated.

* * * * *

Former White House Deputy Cabinet Secretary CRISTÓBAL ALEX, whose portfolio included immigration issues, said he was outraged by the incident. And, he added, he suspected that it would rebound politically on the governors.

“I think DeSantis and Abbott are overplaying their hands. They are using families, children as political pawns. It’s shameful – and will backfire on them. They want a political fight on the border, and they are creating images that remind us of the disastrous anti-American immigration policies of the last administration,” he said. “DeSantis in particular is pissing off Venezuelans – an important Florida constituency. He’s taking people fleeing communism and a brutal dictatorship and putting them on planes and sending them to a random destination for photo ops. It’s outrageous.”

But behind the White House’s outrage, there is an implicit recognition that the issue does have the potential to cause political headaches. DeSantis showed no signs of reconsidering the move. In fact, there are signals that he is set to keep going with the migrant transportation.

On Friday, White House aides largely deflected questions about whether the administration should have, or could have, done more to accommodate those migrants, specifically the ones who were dropped in front of the vice president’s residence.

“There’s no time for angling,” said the person familiar. “And it would be inappropriate. No time to make small talk and give more footage of migrants chatting with the vice president as political pawns.”

Alex has a more direct take when asked how he thought the White House should respond politically to DeSantis and Abbott.

“They should call it out for what it is,” he said, “political bullshit.”

Opening the borders = authentic political integrity. Call it out, baby!

The Alinsky effect was on public display at the White House briefing by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre yesterday. The White House has posted the transcript here. KJP directed Fox News Channel’s Jacqui Heinrich to consult it (see below).

Curtis Houck captures the questions and answers on the Martha’s Vineyard action: “[KJP] struggled with questions from both her allies in the press corps and actual reporters about the move, including a Kamala Harris-like answer and a general attitude painting Martha’s Vineyard as some sort of Third World outpost.”

Here is Jacqui Heinrich homing in on the contradictions:

Q Karine, yesterday, you repeatedly blamed the Trump administration for what we’re seeing at the southern border, but the record crossings have been happening under President Biden. One migrant we interviewed yesterday thanks the President for keeping the border open.

So I just want to confirm: The way that this administration sees it, ending Remain in Mexico or Title 42 had nothing to do with the surge that we’re seeing?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So let me just step back for a second and lay out what we have done. under this administration: Twenty-three thousand agents and officers, more than 1,200 additional support personnel working to secure our nation’s borders. That’s more than what was happening in the last administration.

Every individual that is encountered at the border is taken to CBP custody and processed and vetted by Border Patrol agents. Individuals taken into CBP custody are either expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 authority, as required by court order, or placed in a removal procedures. In fact, more individuals encountered at the border will be removed or expelled this year than any previous year. That is just a fact.

Q But what about the record crossing number. I mean, you’re reading off, you know, expulsions and things like that, because all these people are coming over.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. And they’re also being encountered. Individuals encountered are also being removed or expelled in this year more than — removed more in this year than any previous year.

Q Why would the President turn down a DHS plan then to move migrants to the northern border to relieve some of the crowding at the southern border?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just — I was just asked about this question — that’s been already asked and answered.

Q So hasn’t — he hasn’t turned it down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just — I literally just answered that question.

Q I didn’t understand what your answer was. Did he turn down the plan? Or —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: When this is over, you can look at the transcript and take a look.

Q So you won’t clarify whether the President —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I literally — Jacqui, I just answered that question.

Q Okay. So do you think then that the system that you have in place is working?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What we are asking for — we are asking for Congress to act. Again, on the President’s first day in this administration, he put forth a comprehensive immigration reform. And instead of Republicans playing political games, using people’s lives — humans, individuals, children, families — as political pawns, they should help us and work with us in finding solutions, and they are not.

Q So it’s not —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And, again, there is an immigration legislation — a comprehensive immigration legislation that we put forth on day one. And again, Republicans have voted — many of them have voted against the funding — record funding — for DHS.

So we’re willing to figure out how to fix this problem. We are. We put forth ways to do this. We put forth policies to do this. And we put forth ways to make sure that we’re dealing with a broken system.

Q Is that an acknowledgement that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just answered your question. We’re moving on.


Embedded in Mark Krikorian’s New York Post column on the cost of open borders is a listing of stories (with links) on “what’s happening around the country as border states bus migrants around the US.”

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