Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

On Obama, Clinton and Saul Alinsky, the legendary Chicago organizer McCain campaign is demonizing.


WASHINGTON--Most of you, I bet, may be curious about the increased number of references lately from McCain campaign and surrogates about one Saul Alinsky as they try to make Barack Obama a risky presidential pick because of his associations.

I just heard Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) tell Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC show that "Obama started out with Saul Alinsky." Not true, if Bond was being literal. Alinsky, born in Chicago on Jan. 30, 1909 died on June 12, 1972 in Carmel, Calif. Obama was born in 1961.

Obama followed in the footsteps of Alinsky, the legendary Chicago community organizer whose techniques and teachings influenced generations of community and labor organizers, including the group hiring a young Obama to work on Chicago's South Side.

Alinsky's techniques were more tactical than radical. Alinsky--whose "Reville for Radicals" was the training manual for generations of organizers, also influenced a young Hillary Rodham Clinton who was growing up in Park Ridge at the time Alinsky was the director of the Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago. While at Wellesley, Clinton wrote her senior thesis on the "Alinsky Model" of organizing.


I hear tell Obama also ran with Eugene Debs and Fighting Bob La Follette. Where's Angela Davis when the GOP needs her?

Lynn, My father's life isn't much of a mystery so it constantly surprises me when the Republicans consistantly get it wrong. But then, they have a hard time getting anything right...
I don't know if you saw this but the day after the Democratic Convention closed, I wrote a letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe which was printed a day or two later. I've included the text of that letter below.
Best regards,
Dave Alinsky

All the elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situations and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the repetition-chanting by the crowd of key phrases and names, the immediate action-taking on the spot by texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting the agenda by the power persons. The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style. Barak Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the Alinsky method always works to get the message out and get the supporters onboard. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.

I am pleased to see that my father’s model for organizing is now being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to impact the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.


L. David Alinsky

I don't know why anyone would demonize Saul Alinsky. All he wanted to do was overthrow the US government and create a communist state. I'm behind Comrade Obama 100%!

I figure if I get a head start, I can be first on the toilet paper line.

Barack Obama taught Alinsky tactics, which were very very confrontational, and designed to push for achieving Marxist goals. The Alinsky tactics are those used to intimidate banks into offering sub-prime loans and "donating" to extreme-left wing organizations like ACORN. (ACORN is trying to steal the election in a manner similar to how ACORN helped steal the Governor's election in Washington State in 2004)

The fact that Obama supports Alinsky methodology, supports ACORN, helped the Democrats prevent fixes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be automatically disqualifying to be President. Anyone who votes for Obama is supporting someone who has helped hurt this country's financial condition!

Alinsky is a marxist lynne. Either you are one as well or just another useful idiot/partisan hack in the press defending a candidate who follows your leftist views.

Alinksy wrote several books- I believe "Rules for Radicals" is the one Obama used. The reason I believe this is; there is a phrase quite similar to his "bittergate speech" -- "small town, religion clinging, gun toting" etc.

Pelosi is salivating over a Democrat majority and a Democrat in the White House.

Of course we all know that Alinsky's "social justice" is a euphemism for socialism.

Check our Obamas ties to Gamaliel org. It's small wonder that he (Woods Fund) gave grants to Khalidi's group who want driver licenses for illegal immigrants.

If that's what you want Sweet - I guess that's what you'll get. Keep sugarcoating Obama and his ACORN group and you'll be walking in lockstep with your party.

The Obamas are great disciples of Alinksy. In fact I think Michelle is the more devout of the two of them. It was Michelle's pecular speeches last winter that raised by suspicions that Obama might actually be Marxist. I didn't spend much time on a University.. the only place this nonsense is able to survive.. so I was not well read on this, but what she was saying really made a mark in my mind. It had a potent yet sinister power to it.

Later on I discovered the source of her words.

Michelle Obama 26 Aug 08

"Barack stood up that day," talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, "and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be..."

And, "All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be."

Chapter 2 of Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals:

"The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves…The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means... The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be."

Obama must be defeated in November. If we are going to change this nation into a failed socialist collectivism then we need to get a Constitutional amendment approved.

Why is the mainstream media not picking up on this? All Americans should be educated about this quickly before it is too late!

Mike V you are mistaken. The Alinsky model is about LISTENING to people.

Why the obfuscation? It's a matter of historical record that Alinksi was a Marxist. As was Frank Marshall Davis.

Why are you denying what can clearly be proven? Now if you wish to show some areas where Obama has had public disagreements with these people, I'd like to hear them.

Hell, I'd settle for a single positive statement from Obama about capitalism that wasn't followed by the word "but."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 17, 2008 11:48 AM.

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