Forty years after the death of the father of the community-organizing model, Saul Alinsky, leading conservatives have attempted to tie the Obama administration to Alinsky’s radicalism. Most notable of these critics is Newt Gingrich who seems to have spearheaded the attack on President Obama using Saul Alinsky:
The centerpiece of this campaign, I believe, is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.
I could debate Obama head-to-head, that I could convey conservative values, and that I could in an articulate way explain what American exceptionalism was all about, and why the values that he believes in, the Saul Alinsky radicalism that is at the heart of Obama.
I am going to represent the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the great heroes of American history. He will represent Saul Alinsky, European socialism, secular radicalism, and all the ideas he got at Harvard and Columbia.
And yes, Democrats have long aligned themselves with Alinsky in name and methodology and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even wrote her undergraduate thesis on Alinsky. And while Obama was only 10 years old when Alinsky died in 1972 and has never publicly stated he was influenced by him, he did work as a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s at a time when Alinsky’s colleagues were still active.
But what about Republicans? Back in 2009 the Financial Times reported that one-time Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Dick Armey, and the Tea Party were employing Saul Alinsky’s tactics in the war on the Obama administration and Obamacare in particular:
Opponents of Barack Obama’s healthcare proposals are using the tactics of Saul Alinksy, the legendary leftwing activist who helped inspire the US president when he was a young community organiser, says Dick Armey, head of Freedom Works, a group fighting against universal healthcare.
Mr Armey, who was the Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives for most of the 1990s, said his group, which is behind many of the “tea party” protests that have disrupted town-hall meetings in the past two weeks, draws consciously on the forms of agitation pioneered by Mr Alinsky.
source: Financial Times
Additionally, FreedomWorks, an organization that helps bankroll the Tea Party, gives copies of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to Tea Party leaders and Dick Armey consider it to be mandatory reading.
Below is an interesting video on the subject by Bill Moyers: