Alinsky and McCarthy: Brothers under the Skin

Leftists' hypocrisy has no limits. To take just one example, consider leftists' hostility toward the late Wisconsin senator, Joseph McCarthy, often uttered at the same time the left employs the late Saul Alinsky's tactics. Read Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, and watch how "community organizers" and their Chicago-based tong employ Alinsky-style tactics, and you find their enmity to McCarthy breathtaking.

Leftist charges that someone is aping the late Wisconsin senator, who died in 1957, is a recurring accusation in American politics. The charge of "McCarthyism!" is the left-wingers' favorite tactic for silencing anyone with the temerity to express views they consider anathema. Leftists, however, often practice what they pretend to oppose: reckless, unsubstantiated charges against those they fear, including ad hominem attacks, character assassination, and guilt-by-association.

The tactic appears to work. Usually, almost all those alleged to be McCarthyites immediately head for the tall clover.

Charges of "McCarthyism!" seem to be directed mostly at conservatives. If Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) correctly points out that Chuck Hagel's candidacy for defense secretary had been publicly approved by Iran, that's what left-wing pundit, Chris Matthews, among others, considers "McCarthyism." I did not hear the "McCarthyism!" charge when leftists claimed George W. Bush was "Hitler" or "a Nazi" or that Dick Cheney was "a fascist."

Last year's presidential election provided multiple examples of how leftists employed Alinsky's tactic: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Even before the GOP nominated him to be its 2012 presidential candidate, Barack Obama's goons promised to "kill Romney." Early in the campaign, we learned that Romney was "a felon," a claim made after lying about the date Romney ended his association with Bain Capital. In addition, Romney was a "vulture capitalist." Even worse, he killed a former employee's wife. Romney and his party were waging a "war on women," and so on and so on. Romney was said to be too rich to understand how "the middle class" lives.

The last charge reminds us that leftists use class warfare as a political tactic, which is laced throughout Rules for Radicals and was embodied in the "Occupy Whatever" movement.

It wasn't enough to assault the GOP's presidential nominee. No, we learned that Romney's wife, Ann, had no credibility when speaking about women's issues, because she had "never worked a day in her life." Mrs. Romney's use of dressage as a way to cope with her multiple sclerosis was derided. Her bout with breast cancer was mostly ignored.

Democrats' tactics in 2012 were not the local Tea and Crumpet Society's approved standard. No, it was -- dare I use the phrase? -- "hardball" politics.

Nor was Obama Organization's style of campaigning in 2012 new. Since Obama and his minions entered politics, opponents have been subjected to Alinsky-style tactics. Dr. Ben Carson is the latest to get the Alinsky-style "treatment." People need to realize that Alinsky's tactics are the left's version of McCarthyism.

This is where the left's hypocrisy becomes especially galling. For over sixty years, McCarthy and McCarthyism have been a bête noire for the left (and for many others as well). The following is a brief catalogue of the left's charges against McCarthy the man, and McCarthyism the movement.

Leftists charge that McCarthy was a bully who engaged in demagogic tactics and made reckless, unsubstantiated charges that amounted to character assassination and guilt-by-association. He made unfair allegations that "domestic Communists" and disloyal "fellow travelers" had infiltrated key government posts to subvert America's national security and engage in treason. McCarthy was one of the most vocal "red-baiters" in the U.S. between 1946 -- when he ran for the Senate -- and 1954 -- when he was finally brought to heel.

Let us take up each facet of this catalogue, and see whether the same could be said of those who practice Alinsky-style tactics.

1. McCarthy was a bully. Ben Shapiro's new book, Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans demonstrates how today's left are America's true bullies. Read Shapiro's book and you repeatedly encounter tactics straight out of Rules for Radicals.

2. McCarthy was a demagogue. A demagogue is someone who appeals to the emotions, prejudices, and ignorance of the populace to gain power. Review Obama's campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and see how well his style of campaigning fits the definition. (We've already seen how the Obamians' assaults on Romney and his wife belong to that genré.)

3. McCarthy made reckless and unsubstantiated charges. No one smiles on someone who slanders or libels another person or group. But, as Finley Peter Dunne observed, "politics ain't bean-bag." In addition, years after McCarthy died, information released from official Soviet Union archives revealed that Communists had infiltrated FDR's regime, and many American leftists were "useful idiots" working with Moscow. Finally, what is calling Romney "a felon," or alleging that Ann Romney should not comment on women's issues because of her work history?

4. McCarthy charged that his targets were un-American. In 2008, which presidential candidate claimed that deficits incurred during George W. Bush's presidency were "unpatriotic"? Hint: It wasn't John McCain. Second hint: he was the candidate who, after winning the presidency, ran up trillion dollar deficits in every year of his first term.

5. McCarthy was a "red-baiter" who made accusations that people were either left-wingers or sympathetic to leftist organizations. In addition to McCarthy, other "red-baiters" in the late 1940s and early 1950s were Harry Truman, who signed "Executive Order #9835" in March, 1947, which sought to extirpate Communist influence in the U.S. government, or Senator Pat McCarran (D, NV), who sponsored the 1950 Internal Security Act which required the U.S. Communist Party to register with the attorney general and created the Subversive Activities Control Board to investigate people suspected of being subversive.

"Red-baiting" appears to be passé. In 2008, for example, reports of Obama's connections with unrepentant SDS Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers or extremist preacher Jeremiah Wright fell flat.

At the same time, however, we hear and read about unsubstantiated charges of "racism," "sexism," "homophobia," "dog-whistles," whatever, anything to besmirch someone who does not toe the leftists' line. Also add charges that this one or that one is "Hitler," "a Nazi," or "a fascist." Alinsky's acolytes routinely charge their targets are "dumb," "stupid," or "ignorant," regardless of facts.

McCarthy's charges, even when partly or mostly substantiated, continue to be dismissed. Leftist devotees of Alinsky, on the other hand, can utter the most outrageous charges, which the media repeat and amplify, and we're not supposed to notice the disparity.

One does not have to approve of McCarthy's tactics to realize how closely his style is to that advocated by Saul Alinsky and his true believers. McCarthy remains persona non grata. Why should Alinsky and those who advocate his tactics, escape the same animadversion?