If I were the least bit prone to gratuitous sympathy, I would be tempted now to feel quite sorry for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Poor, poor woman. She was quite nearly brought to all-out tears yesterday in New Hampshire, as she soliloquized over the sad state of her drooping campaign and how completely personal this is for her.
Barack Obama seems to have effortlessly achieved voter adoration, fresher, younger, more at ease within his own skin than she will ever be. He would appear to be as much a natural as her own Bill. It may appear to a great many observers that Barrack Obama is just one incredibly audacious, even lucky, albeit frighteningly charismatic dude.
These personal qualities are not the sole reason he is where he is, and I suspect the wily Mrs. Clinton knows this full well. I suspect it must bother her that Obama also appears to have mastered the playbook used by her own political teacher, the legendary amoral guru of left wing activism, Saul Alinksy.
Hillary has met not only her match in Alinsky tactics, she has met the master of bloodless socialist revolution, in my opinion.
Obama's Alinsky Lessons
Barack Obama had just graduated from Columbia and was looking for a job. Some white leftists were looking for someone who could recruit in a black neighborhood in the south side of Chicago.
Obama answered a help-wanted ad for a position as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) in Chicago. Obama was 24 years old, unmarried, very accustomed to a vagabond existence, and according to his memoir, searching for a genuine African-American community.
Both the CCRC and the DCP were built on the Alinsky model of community agitation, wherein paid organizers learned how to "rub raw the sores of discontent," in Alinsky's words.
One of Obama's early mentors in the Alinsky method was Mike Kruglik, who had this to say to an Ryan Lizza of The New Republic, about Obama:
"He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better."
The agitator's job, according to Alinsky, is first to bring folks to the "realization" that they are indeed miserable, that their misery is the fault of unresponsive governments or greedy corporations, then help them to bond together to demand what they deserve, and to make such an almighty stink that the dastardly governments and corporations will see imminent "self-interest" in granting whatever it is that will cause the harassment to cease.
In these methods, euphemistically labeled "community organizing," Obama had a four-year education, which he often says was the best education he ever got anywhere.
Is it any wonder, then, that Obama's Alinsky Jujitsu is making mincemeat of the woman who merely interviewed Alinsky, wrote about him, and spent the next 30 years in corporate law and in the lap of taxpayer-funded luxury in government mansions?
Obama Not Starry-Eyed Like His Followers
Alinsky considered himself a realist above all, the ultimate pragmatist. As a confirmed atheist, Alinsky believed that the here and now is all there is, and therefore had no qualms about assorted versions of morality in the pursuit of worldly power. He didn't coddle his radical acolytes or encourage their bourgeois distinctions between good and evil when it came to transferring power from the Haves to the Have Nots. Alinsky saw the already formed church communities as being the perfect springboards for agitation and creating bonds for demanding goods and services.
When Obama first undertook his agitating work in Chicago's South Side poor neighborhoods, he was un-churched. Yet his office was in a Church and most of the folks he needed to agitate and organize were Church people -- pastors and congregants -- who took their churches and their church-going very seriously. So, this became a problem for the young agnostic, who had been exposed to very little religion in his life. Again and again, he was asked by pastors and church ladies, "Where do you go to Church, young man?" It was a question he dodged for a while, but finally he relented and joined a church.
Not just any church, but a huge black nationalist church with a pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who unabashedly preaches a "black" gospel. Rolling Stone Magazine ran with a story on Obama and his church, entitled, "Destiny's Child," which included this excerpt from one of Rev. Wright's sermons:
"Fact number one: We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he intones.
"Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!"
"We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!"
The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: "And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS S**T!"
This doesn't sound like any church in which I've ever worshipped, but perhaps I have led a sheltered life. Reverend Wright, whom Obama called his spiritual mentor and still claims is his sounding board, has taken trips abroad with none other than Louis Farrakhan. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan received the "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright,Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer" Award at the 2007 Trumpet Gala at the the United Church of Christ. Wright was even reported to be a former Muslim. One might be led to wonder if this "church" isn't all it makes itself out to be.
Among some of the black nationalist signs hanging in this church are a list of admonishments to black solidarity, called the "Black Value System," and a sort of moral code calling for the "Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness." I don't recall the Ten Commandments or anything at all in the Gospel about race, so this seems a bit strange.
But Obama isn't starry-eyed when it comes to protecting himself from the possibility of bad press regarding his church affiliation. When he was preparing to announce his campaign for the Presidency in February, he called his minister, Reverend Wright, the night before and disinvited him to stand on the podium in front of all the cameras. Rather than face questions, he simply eliminated the target, a perfect Alinsky action meant to forestall an enemy reaction.
Hillary should have known what she was up against when she read up on how Obama won his state senate seat in Illinois.
Obama had returned to Chicago and practiced civil rights law for 3 years, when he spied an opportunity to run for the state senate. A longtime, widely-revered matron of the civil rights movement named Alice Palmer had held the seat for a number of years, but she announced that she wanted to run for Congress. So, Obama seized the opportunity and proclaimed his intention to run for Alice's open seat.
Well, Alice lost the congressional race and decided that she wanted to hang onto that hard-won state senate seat. Most of the community leaders tried to persuade Obama to withdraw and wait his turn; he was a newcomer after all.
Instead Obama performed his first real act of political jujitsu. He sent his aides to the courthouse to carefully examine all of Alice Palmer's signatures to see if enough could be disallowed to knock her off the ballot altogether. And indeed, some of Alice's signatures were fake. The aides also found enough other fake signatures on opponents' ballot initiatives to knock them off the ballot as well.
By the time Barack Obama walked handily into his state senate seat, everyone there knew him as "the man who knocked off Alice Palmer." Quite a feat indeed for the newcomer, the young whippersnapper with the odd name.
Perhaps Hillary will win some states and stay in the game a while longer, but I fear this knight with his adoring, fawning followers is just too slick for her and ole Bill, and he seems to know how to play Alinsky ends-and-means hardball without actually breaking the law.