March 7, 2008
Hillary Hardball vs. Barack Softball: Is there a Genuine Difference?By Kyle-Anne Shiver
Call it a hunch or woman's intuition, but I have a strong sense that in the weeks ahead, the American electorate is going to be bombarded with Hillary bashing from the liberal pundit class.
Bashing that is designed to appear non-partisan and unbiased.
Bashing that is calculated to paint Hillary as the egregious, hardball hag, who is playing dirty politics with the too-innocent-for-words, softball little-leaguer, Barack.
Late Tuesday night, I heard one commentator say quite gloomily: "Fear has triumphed over hope today."
Anyone remember Eddie Haskell of Leave-it-to-Beaver fame?
Simply because a person uses highfalutin words, has a flair for oratory, is practiced at fluidly changing the subject and playing the perennially aggrieved-status guy doesn't mean he's an innocent little-leaguer. As nearly anyone over the age of 12 should know, these outward appearances of Obama's could just as easily mean that he is a master manipulator.
After all, he learned his political tactics from the Alinsky school of bloodless, socialist revolution. Obama has been open and clear about one thing, at least. He has both written and proclaimed that he got his best education in the wards of Chicago, doing Alinsky-style people's organizing.
"Innocent" would be the last word in the dictionary used to describe Saul Alinsky.
Alinsky transformed human manipulation into hard political science.
Power was the name of Alinsky's game.
Saul Alinsky defines "tactics" as those "consciously deliberate acts" human beings use to cope with life and function with other people in the give and take process, and minces no words in his books over which half of that equation he is teaching.
There is no mantle of goodness in Alinsky's works. He actually shunned the kind of bromidic phraseology employed by Barack Obama, because he felt substituting nice-sounding words for the organizer's real intentions watered down the impact and negated the power to inflame human anger towards societal injustice.
Even though Alinsky himself shunned what he considered bourgeois societal conventions and language in the politics of revolution, he was agitating several decades ago in an altogether different political climate. Before the triumph of the civil rights movement. Before affirmative action. Before racial and gender cards had even a smidgen of power in the Democratic Party.
Underlying his entire rule book for radicals, was the assertion that his principles were universal because they struck at the very heart of the human condition. Alinsky contended that his understanding of human nature was quite impervious to changing times or shifting morality.
Above all, he cautioned his disciples:
Times changed; Obama moved with the action.
When Barack Obama made his rather audacious decision to run for the Presidency, it seemed to nearly everyone that he would fall flat on his face in short order.
Obama was a Have Not; Hillary was a Have.
Obama was facing a woman running a campaign of inevitability. Hillary was determined to run an incumbent campaign, though she was not herself an incumbent, and had made the determination early on that the best thing she had in her power arsenal was Bill Clinton. This was, from all appearances, a serious strategic miscalculation.
Hillary Clinton refused to move with the action. She clung too long to the belief that Bill Clinton's former-president status would be her most potent weapon in her run for the Presidency.
Obama, on the other hand, seemingly had nothing.
But that was the old way of looking at political power struggles in America.
Obama had none of the traditional-power or political-machine weapons with which to fight Hillary for the Democratic nomination.
But Obama had the smarts to know that things had indeed changed. Especially within the Democrat Party.
Following Alinsky tactics then, Obama's first, and perhaps most important, decision was to determine what powers he possessed that Hillary did not. It would necessarily be upon these weapons that he would run his campaign, making do with what he had and shrewdly using his weapons in his pursuit of the nomination.
Perfect Alinsky strategy.
I wasn't in on Obama's strategy sessions. Nor was I privy to insider access from any informer. So, I'll use what I do have and speculate a bit as to what Obama decided would be his best weapons against Hillary's Have status.
I've learned just a few things about human nature from my own life experiences, especially doing day-to-day, eyeball-to-eyeball battle with my own teenagers.
Obama's Haves Vs. Hillary's Have-Nots
Obama is bi-racial; Hillary is not.
Obama was raised by a single mom; Hillary was not.
Obama is a male; Hillary is not.
Obama is a gifted orator; Hillary is not.
Obama is an experienced Alinsky organizer; Hillary is not.
Obama looks younger than his years; Hillary does not.
Obama possesses sexual appeal to the opposite sex; Hillary does not.
Obama has underdog status; Hillary does not.
Obama's political record appears clean; Hillary's does not.
Obama could play the role of Eddie Haskell; Hillary could not.
Now I would be quick to admit that on their face, these Obama Haves don't seem all that powerful when aimed at someone as shrewd and as calculating as Hillary Clinton.
But they do give Obama a few things that Alinsky believed were powerful enough to dominate: shared experience, youthful demeanor, sex appeal, underdog status and the appearance of a clean political slate. These non-traditional weapons have enabled Barack Obama to seduce an electorate with nothing more than ethereal hope and non-specific change, and do it with more flare than could be imagined by the likes of the amateur teen character, Eddie Haskell, or even perhaps, by ole Alinsky himself.
Pretty powerful stuff, if you ask me.
We have seen Obama nearly flawlessly harnessing those seemingly impotent weapons and transforming them, almost overnight, into a powerful movement that seems to confound even the most wizened observers.
From wherever Alinsky is sitting now, from below or above, he surely must be smiling.
And why not?
Alinsky's truer, in-the-trenches disciple, Obama, has used utter Have-Not status to turn the tables on Hillary, the girl who rebuffed Alinsky's job offer to work on the front lines of organizing the revolution. Instead she went to Yale Law and hitched her wagon to a star, who seemed to offer an easier path.
Obama opted to do the trenches work first, then used the new rules of victimology for those power creds, and ended up taking a much shorter, and apparently easier, path to ultimate political power.
Too much success, too fast, however, is often the breeder of fatal over-confidence.
When Obama ran an ad in Texas, just before the primary there, he may have exhibited the first signs of the age-old pride that goeth before a fall.
Pride isn't one of the deadly sins for no reason.
Huge crowds chant to background rock music, interspersed with an emotionally charged slideshow and the viewer sees these statements:
"We can end this war."
"We can save this planet."
"We can change the world."
"The world as it is, is not as it has to be."
Something tells my older, and hopefully wiser, self that the upstart, not-even-through-his-first-term Senator just might be gettin' a bit too big for his breeches.
Ohioans and Texans seemed to think so too.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org