January 17, 2008
Obama, Hillary and Alinsky's TacticsBy Kyle-Anne Shiver
The emergence of a racial tinge to the Democratic Party nomination fight was all but inevitable, given both Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's training as disciples of Saul Alinsky. Hardball tactics right out of Rules for Radicals provide perspective for understanding the unfolding battle.
Saul Alinsky, the hero of bloodless socialist revolution in America, was a master at explaining how to patiently use whatever weapons one has to bring about the transfer of power from the Haves to the Have Nots. Alinsky's definition of the Haves was broad and rather ill-defined; he simply called the Haves the "establishment." He included all those whom he believed stood in the way of his re-ordered vision. People with money. People with status. People in government. People in the corporate board rooms. Unsympathetic people in the media. The lawyers. The doctors. The merchants. Non-unionized workers. And on and on.
In other words, you didn't have to have a lot to be a Have. All you really needed to have was a political view other than socialism.
Obama's four-year stint as a political organizer and agitator in Chicago's South Side neighborhoods gave him a hands-on education in Alinsky revolutionary tactics, which he seems adept at using now. His problem, however, may be that he is in direct competition for the ultimate power prize, the Presidency, against another Alinskyite, Hillary Clinton, who studied Alinksy and his rule book and turned down an offer to work for him.
Now we have a real fight between two Alinsky-ites -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- each of whom has positioned himself/herself as a champion of the Have-Nots, a fighter for socialist remedies to every human problem. And the verbal stabs each is aiming at the other have become more of the focus of the contest than has any substantive issue.
At the moment, I would have to say that Obama is more vulnerable, for he has built a campaign whose themes are at variance with his longstanding affiliations. He is in danger of choking on his own petard, explained thusly by Alinsky in Rules for Radicals:
Alinsky defines "political jujitsu" as constantly pushing an adversary to live up to his own rule book, thereby using the weight of the enemy's inevitable inability to perfectly adhere to his rules to "choke him on his own petard."
Over the last week, Hillary has baited Obama on the race issue, but so far he hasn't let go of the high ground and provided her with the heated reaction she is seeking. Hillary is well aware of Alinsky wisdom on successful tactics:
However, when a great many media outlets pounced on Obama's church connection to Louis Farrakhan, Hillary aptly concluded, perhaps, that she needed to do nothing more than wait for Obama's rule book to come into play against him.
Obama still has an awfully strict rule book up to which he must demonstrably live 24/7.
Obama's Inclusiveness Rule Book
Racial inclusiveness was a major chord in Obama's speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and on that note, he proclaimed:
This was met with thunderous applause from Democrats searching the political landscape for a new messiah.
And Barack Obama is campaigning for President of these United States on the unspoken rule book of absolute racial equality and inclusiveness. He is also using his Christian Church membership to call voters to a socialist government response to all injustice, whether it be discrimination, poverty, or disparity in medical treatment access.
Yet, the Farrakhan flap, and Obama's forced denunciation via spokesman, made rather reluctantly under immense media pressure, would seem to contradict his inclusive racial and religious message.
Obama's Own Statements Regarding Race
Obama writes in his book, The Audacity of Hope:
In his entire chapter on race lurks the unquestioned proposition that racial prejudice occurs only one way: white against black. Always. Every single time.
Obama recounts having to prove himself beyond the white racism of voters in Illinois, to Democrat Party insiders, whose support he needed. He got their support, he says, only after seven years of demonstrating his vast intra-racial appeal:
The question now, however, might seem to be whether Obama can measure up to the same standard he sets for white people.
His own rule book of inclusion.
Obama's Afro-Centric Church
In Obama's opinion that racism is a character defect inherent in whites only, he appears to have swallowed whole-hog the proclamations of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
I visited Trinity United Church of Christ last weekend, and witnessed for myself the ubiquitous Afro-Centric message of Pastor Wright. It's everywhere.
The Church's book store has a wide range of spiritual books, not necessarily all Christian, but seemingly all written by African-Americans, including Malcolm X and Nation of Islam luminaries. In fact, the only standard seemingly applied to the array of books for sale in Obama's church is that they be written from an African perspective.
Now, I have worshipped hand-in-hand with my black brothers and sisters in my own Catholic Church, as well as in predominantly black congregations of protestant denominations. It is our one faith in our one Lord that holds sway in our hearts and minds.
But in Obama's church, even the Bible studies are formulated around black liberation theology, which presupposes that the entire world history of oppression has occurred within the framework of Whites oppressing Blacks.
But surely an Ivy League-educated man like Barack Obama knows this is a blatant falsehood.
As Thomas Sowell elucidates in his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals:
Yet in Barack Obama's church, the message doled out to young African-American children in book after book is that they continue to be victims of white oppression that has always been the rule, without exception.
Is this a message of inclusion?
A message of hope?
The thing that I most admired about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was that he preached from his pulpit the same message he delivered in public. His message was a brilliant, but simple message: remove the board of Jim-Crow sin from your eyes, white America, so we can all pursue the American dream together on the content of our characters, not the color of our skins.
Truly inspired wisdom from God.
If Mr. Obama is the new face of American politics, a uniter, a change agent for good, a new standard bearer of hope, then one must wonder why he is so intimately connected to a pastor, who honors an outspoken anti-Semite, anti-white racist -- Louis Farrakhan, and who preaches a historically inaccurate and racially divisive message.
This contradiction may indeed become Hillary's most potent weapon, choking Obama on his own petard in perfect Alinsky fashion.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at email@example.com.