Thursday, April 5, 2012

James Rosen’s Strange Exoneration of Saul Alinsky

In a refreshing change of pace from Republican candidates taking potshots at each other on the campaign trail, Newt Gingrich put some perspective on the presidential race when he clarified the challenge for the eventual party nominee, and what is at stake. He told a large crowd in Coral Springs, Florida Wednesday that

We need somebody who is a conservative and who can stand up to [President Obama] and debate and who can clearly draw the contrast between the Declaration of Independence and the writings of Saul Alinsky… The centerpiece of this campaign, I believe, is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.
Gingrich’s attempts to tie Alinsky, the Chicago community organizer and author of the revolutionary handbook Rules for Radicals, to the Chicago community organizer in the White House prompted James Rosen to question this unusual strategy for Fox News online:

Why does Gingrich think it effective messaging for him to conjure a man who’s been dead forty years, and whose name is recognized, in all probability, by one in every 100,000 registered voters?

Rosen’s piece “Gingrich attacks on Obama resurrect Saul Alinsky” suggests that Alinsky is nothing more than an obscure, forgotten civil rights leader whose model for organizing the “Have Nots” against the entrenched “Haves” aims to empower the powerless and mainstream the marginalized. Rosen notes that Alinsky helped tutor, among others, a young Cesar Chavez, who “became one of the most celebrated activists of the twentieth century,” and that Alinsky’s intent was to teach people how “to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace.” The closest Rosen comes to painting a negative about Alinsky is by noting his “in-your-face” style. He even closes the article by claiming that “numerous Tea Party figures have expressed admiration for Rules for Radicals, as a primer on grassroots activism.”

It’s hard to imagine there could be a single Tea Partier who “admires” Alinsky and his strategy of deception to effect radical social transformation. It would be more accurate to say that anyone truly familiar with Alinsky’s methodology of infiltration mixed with confrontation simply acknowledges its impact on the left and its effectiveness in getting disciple Obama into the Presidency.
To get the complete picture of Saul Alinsky and his influence over protégés like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, click here to download the Freedom Center’s essential, 50-page booklet from 2009, Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model, by David Horowitz. The most prominent apostate of the radical left, Horowitz understands them and exposes their cynical, power-grabbing strategies like no one else. “Alinsky is the Sun-Tzu for today’s radicals,” he writes, “his book a manual for their political war.” Here Horowitz identifies Alinsky’s and the progressive left’s political nihilism:

An SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] radical once wrote, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” In other words the cause – whether inner-city blacks or women – is never the real cause, but only an occasion to advance the real cause which is the accumulation of power to make the revolution. That was the all-consuming focus of Alinsky and his radicals.
Hillary Rodham interviewed Alinsky himself for her college senior thesis, in which she compared him to Martin Luther King, Jr. After college she was offered a position in Alinsky’s new training institute in Chicago, but she went to Yale Law School instead and met future husband Bill – although she maintained her connections to and support of Alinsky’s army.

Young Barack Obama worked in Chicago for Alinsky-modeled organizations, was mentored by Alinskyites, and even taught workshops on the Alinsky method. Until he became a full-time legislator, Obama’s political activities were focused on the now infamously corrupt, radical activist ACORN organization, built on the Alinsky model.
Then he went on to run for President, of course; here Horowitz dissects a passage from Rules for Radicals and makes the direct connection to Obama’s successful campaign strategy:

“Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.” In other words, it is first necessary to sell the people on change itself, the “audacity of hope,” and “yes we can.” You do this by proposing moderate changes which open the door to your radical agendas.
How has Obama responded to Gingrich raising the specter of Alinsky in this campaign? White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a press conference question about it with a laughably oblique non-denial:

[t]he president's background as a community organizer is well documented in the president's own books, so his experience in that field obviously contributed to who he is today. But his experience is a broad-based one that includes a lot of other areas in his life.
“What radicals like Alinsky create is not salvation but chaos,” Horowitz writes in Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model. “And presidential disciples of Alinsky? What will they create?” By insisting on invoking Saul Alinsky’s name in this campaign, Newt Gingrich is hoping to expose the radical roots of Obama’s political nihilism.

(This article first appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 1/27/12)