Ally Ally Alinsky! Rightbloggers See Saul Alinsky Everywhere -- Even Among Themselves

tomt200.jpgNow that Newt Gingrich, newly amplified as a Presidential candidate, is regularly using Saul Alinsky as a club to beat Obama, the conservative obsession with the long-dead community organizer has gone bigtime.

Perhaps overexcited by this new opportunity to lecture America about one more thing that they hate, rightbloggers have begun to accuse not only Obama, but also each other of Alinskyism.

You can Wiki up on Alinsky here, and get more background from such diverse sources as Nicholas von Hoffman and Ronald Radosh. Alinsky is best known for civil rights and labor organizing, and for Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, two handbooks on getting people to get things done.

Obama picked up some Alinsky while doing his own community organizing back in the day, and conservatives of an intellectual bent have been tying him to the President in a decidedly negative way for years -- e.g. Peter Ferrara at The American Spectator: "Obama is a very sophisticated Marxist philosopher," he explained, "combining the highly advanced social manipulation tactics of Alinsky with careful, long developed insights in how to craft a modern, neo-Marxist message to sell to a majority of modern America." And you thought he was just a successful politician! Psych!

As they're convinced that Alinksy's methods are how the left snuck Obama into office, some of the brethren have become convinced that they should fight fire with fire; and so, as a 2010 Politico story outlined, talk about using Alinsky tactics to try and get their own message across.

Michael Leahy, for example, put out in 2009 Rules for Conservative Radicals, described by its publisher as "sixteen rules for conservative radicals based on lessons from Saul Alinsky, the Tea Party Movement, and the Apostle Paul..."

Rightwing agitator Andrew Breitbart talked almost lovingly about Alinsky in his book Righteous Indignation: "He mixed a dash of religious fervor, a sprinkle of American founding talk, and a heavy dose of 'kiss my ass' into a concoction that was relatively easy and fun to swallow," rhapsodized Breitbart. "...He is hilarious, and that hilarity breeds the sort of social change only a Jon Stewart or a Stephen Colbert could bring about rather than a Noam Chomsky."

(This is why, whenever liberals make fun of conservatives, savvy conservatives get Alinsky rather than the joke, e.g. "Alinsky also observed, 'Ridicule is man's most potent weapon' -- a philosophy which the mainstream media has used incessantly in its various portrayals of those who stand up for liberty." And by repeating that ridiculous statement and exposing it to your lulz, we're Alinsky too. See how it works?)

They're still at it, too. "On my first day in my first job as a conservative activist, I was handed a copy of Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals,'" said Yates Walker at the Daily Caller last week. "It was given in part as a how-to manual for organizing political operations and galvanizing public support, but it was also given to show us what we were up against."

In fact, at this point it could be argued that conservatives know and respect Alinsky more than liberals. Which just shows his evil genius!

alinskypic.jpg
How can we defeat this evil man or, alternatively, follow his example?
Still, to rightbloggers Obama is always the Head Alinsky in Charge. Even when he does something decidedly non-Radical -- like keeping the Bush tax cuts -- guys like National Review's Stanley Kurtz see the Alinsky: "He moves incrementally toward radical left goals," Kurtz explained. "but never owns up to his ideology. Instead, he tries to work indirectly, by way of the constituencies he seeks to manipulate." It's Invisibalinsky!

It recently came to this: A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if there were "some sort of portrait of [Alinsky] hanging in the White House." Carney patiently answered that "the Predident's background as a community organizer is well-documented in the President's own book... but his experience is a broad-based one that includes a lot of other areas in his life." "This response is CERTAINLY NOT A DENIAL !!!!!" hollered Conservative Clippings. Expect one of these cowboys to break free of a White House tour soon, in search of The Truth.

So when Gingrich started dishing on Obama's "Saul Alinsky radicalism" in the hot limelight of a Presidential race, the brethren got excited ("Alinsky/Obama vs. Gingrich: what this campaign is really about" -- Let Freedom Ring).

But some of them couldn't stop there, and started suggesting that Gingrich's nomination rival, Mitt Romney, had a touch of the Alinsky brush in him, too.

Buzzfeed showed pictures of of Romney's dad, Michigan Governor George Romney, meeting Alinsky in 1967, and revealed that he had praised the organizer's work. "Mitt Romney's Dad Was an Alinsky Follower," announced the Wall Street Journal.

You might think any politician would be pleased to get tips from a known organizing exert, but Dan Riehl peeled back the layers of deception: George Romney was a "liberal Republican," he explained, which is pretty close in Riehl's world to being a Marxist. Also, Riehl had more damning evidence: "In a defense of Mitt Romney against charges of racism," he reported, "the National Black Chamber of Commerce points out the significant influence the elder Romney had on son Mitt and credits the Romneys for a long history of progressive activism."

Black Chamber of Commerce! Do we have to spell it out for you? In the bit to which Riehl links, the NBCC says, "The Romney Family has a legacy of pro-civil rights, progressive activism and an understanding of how poverty and inequality can hurt people." Condemned out of their own mouths!

The story spread far and wide. "The Romney-Alinsky Alliance," headlined Left Coast Rebel ("Romney will pay a price for his failure to reject his father's outdated liberalism"). "Mitt, His Father and Their "Family Ties" to Saul Alinsky," cried Barracuda Brigade. "Mitt Romney's Mentor, his Father, a Fan of Saul Alinsky," said Gulag Bound. Etc.

But it all got worse when Sarah Palin -- remember her? -- stepped in and accused Republicans who'd been attacking Newt Gingrich as an unsuitable candidate of "Alinsky tactics at their worst... we need a fair primary that is not prematurely cut short by the GOP establishment using Alinsky tactics to kneecap Governor Romney's chief rival."

Susan Duclos of Wake Up America agreed: "The Republican establishment is doing everything in their power to force their choice of Mitt Romney down our, the voters, throats," she said, thereby combining Alinsky with "down our throats" and achieving a Wingnut Double Meme Score.

Some rightbloggers, like Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary, thought this went too far. "[Palin] understands little about either Saul Alinsky's writings or history," he safely assumed, and then turned the whole thing around on her and Gingrich: "Palin complains that Romney supporters have attacked Gingrich from the left," said Tobin. "But that is actually the tactic Gingrich has used."

You can guess what's coming next, can't you?

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45 comments
Bruce Miller
Bruce Miller

First, I'll confess up from that I was trained on honest-to-Saul "Alinksy tactics" when I worked with the United Farm Workers Union back in the day. Fred Ross was the chief organizer for the UFW and Cesar Chavez' mentor in community organizing.

The real Saul Alinsky of history doesn't have much of anything to do with the rightwing bogeyman they call "Saul Alinsky". It works well for the Republican base. He's a relatively obscure figure with a name that probably "sounds Jewish" to them, like the last commenter said. Hey, if he were a Christian he would have called himself "Paul", right?

Ironically, the *real* influence that Alinsky thinking may have had on Obama is very different that what the righties say. (Duh!) The big criticism of Alinsky from those who actually knew what he was doing was that his approach tended too much toward tactical wins that were *not* linked to an overarching strategic goal. And not strategic as in creating the Big Rock Candy Mountain. But un-strategic in that he focused on organizing around various individual issues without building any kind of guiding goals or program that provided a larger consistency. "Alinsky tactics" would be ideal for organizing a neighborhood organization to demand more stop signs and more frequent garbage pick-ups. Not so much for a larger goal like stopping a war, rolling back the military budget, or building a long-term drive for green energy. The UAW was probably the most successful real-world application of Alinksy tactics to a larger enterprise.

The Republicans aren't entirely wrong about being able to use "Alinksy tactics" for something like getting old white people to come to a Congressional Representative's town hall meeting and try to shout him or her down. Because he focused on tactical organizing, not on the kind of overarching ideological vision that Republicans project onto him.

jimdav2002
jimdav2002

"Invisibalinsky" = EPIC WIN.

Anyone else see the irony of a writer in the Village Voice having to put up links in order to explain to everyone just who the hell Saul Alinsky was? No? Just me? Ooooooookay then.

Yeah, pretty much all the hardcore fanboyism I've seen in the last few years for ol' Saul has been from wingnuts. Looked pretty spiffy for one-handed typing, too. Didn't realize that he was actually secretly the main mover-&-shaker in the GOP, though. If there's an afterlife, that man is now one seriously ROFLMAOing blob of ectoplasm.

"Look under your chairs, comrades. You get an Alinsky ... & you get an Alinsky ... & YOU get an Alinsky! EVERYONE GETS AN ALINSKY!!!"

* sings most of the first verse of 'The Internationale' & then forgets the rest*

Tedpuryear
Tedpuryear

Oh Man are you guys funny. So much wit. Not so much on the righty blogs to this story.Just angry commie hyperbole. Are they really that ignorant

Glenn
Glenn

A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if there were "some sort of portrait of [Alinsky] hanging in the White House." 

Why, yes, we've replaced the portrait of George Washington with it. Why do you ask?

Sophist
Sophist

It's written as "Saul Alinsky", but it's pronounced as "Emmanuel Goldstein".

Guest
Guest

If this article is any indication the Republican party will soon implode. 

Giant Rat of Sumatra
Giant Rat of Sumatra

Holy Toledo... I gotta read me some Saul Alinsky.  This guy must be the greatest political genius ever.  How come his corpse isn't on display in Red Square?

Mark1161
Mark1161

Does the right have any valid points that are framed in reality?  Or has it become a movement firmly rooted in nut job conspiracy theory?  Do they expect mainstream America to go off the cliff with them? 

Davis
Davis

I first became interested in supporting Obama after I read an article about his community organizing days.  At the time, I naively believed that Alinsky was an admirable figure.  

Arpad Golgoth
Arpad Golgoth

You don't ned to bring alinsky back from the dead.  There are plenty of living commie bloodsuckers to kick around.  Pivan, Samuelson, Trumka, Mulgrew.  There are all around you.

RICK SHAW
RICK SHAW

Thank god, sun, devil whoever for Saul fucking Alinksy.

Damon Poeter
Damon Poeter

Shorter Republicans: Did you know that the despicable Saul Alinksy had the audacity to recommend various indirect tactics for winning political arguments? Sigh. Unfortunately, for the greater good, we'll just have to grit our teeth and start fighting fire with fire in the face of this radical threat to our values (retroactively for the past 40 years).

Thomas
Thomas

On the new Saul Alinsky Day holiday (Obama will Ram It Down Our Throats in the coming year), will we get to read several posts about how Alinsky was actually a conservative?  If so, then we'll know the wingnut rehabilitation of Alinsky is continuing apace.

Otisah
Otisah

Kurtz's analysis is also useful when predicting Obama's impending Federal round up of gun owners and their weapons. The story goes, yes, he has made no moves whatsoever in addressing gun ownership, but that's because he is lulling us into a false sense of security. Once re-elected, THAT'S when we'll see the real action.

Prediction: if Obama is re-elected and he continues his second amendment assault by not making any noise or actions in favor of gun control, look for those who will say that it's all a trick designed to get Obama a third term.

Isaac Zalman
Isaac Zalman

Isn't Newt like the pot calling the kettle black! Can we say "Belligerent Corprate Fascism"! Substance McGravitas why not make it a clean sweep? Let's go after Elmer Fudd, Mr. Magoo, and while we are at it let us mount a furious attack on my dear Aunt Ida Goldwockenfuss for breaking wind last Wednesday night?

Consumer Unit 5012
Consumer Unit 5012

How many genocides did this "Alinsky" guy set off? 

None?  Okay.  Unjustifed wars?  Killing sprees?  Did he start each day by strangling a basket of kittens?

...Why are all Good Republicans(tm) supposed to regard him as Double Hitler, again?  Because they're acting like he's some kind of supernatural entity who can taint someone (Romney) even at a generational remove.  Weird.

Substance McGravitas
Substance McGravitas

Though Gingrich has spent several decades profiting from being part of the Washington establishment, the fact that he's been attacked by so-called 'elites' has become self-validating.

I say we begin a furious attack on Bozo the Clown.

Isaac Zalman
Isaac Zalman

Saul Alinsky helped the poor. Not like Gingrich helping himself. Newt is a true "NARCISS"! When will the selfserving right come to the truth of this realism? Or mybe it fits thier own selfserving reality!

Guest
Guest

Saul Alinsky has a nice, "cosmopolitan intellectual" sounding name.  Saul.. AlllinnSKY.  Russian (Commie) AND Jewish at once!  No wonder they like it. Sounds villainous!  Alinsky tactics!  The hook nose, the glasses!  Alinsky.  SAUL Alinksy.  If his name was "Matthew Johnson" nobody on the right would ever mention his name.

SFAW
SFAW

Well, that's certainly easier than "Throat-Warbler Mangrove", I dare say.

Torgo
Torgo

Only a hardcore Alinskyite would ever admit to believing Alinsky was ever admirable. NICE TRY COMMIE!

laym
laym

Chapter Two: What the Liberals Said to Me at the Cocktail Party

jimdav2002
jimdav2002

You're right, of course - we don't need to bring him back from the dead ... because we ALREADY DID.

Zombie Alinsky ISREAL!

surreal_american
surreal_american

However you can't lay the responsibility for Kate Mulgrew at Alinsky's doorstep.  I mean, sure Voyager was the weakest of the Star Trek franchises, but still....

surreal_american
surreal_american

Samuelson?  Not Washington Post hack columnist Robert Samuelson!  Good grief, Alinskyites ARE everywhere!

Roy T.
Roy T.

ThIs is the second use in this post and/or its comments of "Ram It Down Our Throats." Please be advised that this expression is copyrighted by The Homosexual Agenda for exclusive use by us and our wholly-owned subsidiary The Gay Lifestyle. Use by others is prohibited without express written permission.

Glenn
Glenn

He's got us right where he wants us.

plccbly
plccbly

Obama has more important issues than gun control. Besides criminals will always have access to weapons. Perhaps if we legalize drugs and tax it, provide affordable health care(which we certainly don't have at this point even for middle class working stiffs like me) stop the right wing push to destroy our education system and reign in exorbitant defense spending we can make this land a better place to live. Stop the hatred.

Andrew
Andrew

OMG, your aunt is responsible for global waming!  You know who ELSE like to destroy our climate...?

Synykyl
Synykyl

See Issac Zalman's post above. Alinsky helped the poor. What could be more villainous than that?

merl1
merl1

At least they're giving poor George Soros a break now that they've found another Jew to hate on.

Sophist
Sophist

You are a very silly man, and I'm not going to interview you.

laym
laym

Clearly, this is a false flag Alinsky operation.  Through the looking glass here ...

Davis
Davis

Sorry, my sarcasm was not plain enough.

ds
ds

BUT- Voyager gave us sexy borg 7of9, played by Jeri Ryan, ex-Wife of GOP Senate candidate Jack Ryan who was defeated by <gasp!> BARACK OBAMA!  Alinsky is everywhere!</gasp!>

-dg
-dg

Surely you mean oral permission.

newyorkjew
newyorkjew

Alinsky=jewFood stamp President=african american

Republicans hear the dog whistles if we don't

debating the issues is pointless with these people- it's just about who they hate

SFAW
SFAW

Actually, I think it was Alan (the original "Mr. 27 Percent") Keyes that the Kenyan Mooslim commie fascist defeated as a stepping stone on his way to overthrowing Preznit John McCain.

I think Ryan resigned in disgrace. Or maybe in Chicago.

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