I was astonished to read an article suggesting that Saul Alinsky, darling of the far-left progressive movement and mentor to the young Barack Obama, might have more in common with the Tea Party than most people suspect. However, the author, Doug French of Casey Research, makes some interesting points. Here's an excerpt.
While Alinsky hailed from Chicago, and was, like the president, a community organizer, he died when Obama was 11 years old. The president did not learn at Alinsky's knee. Alinsky wrote a book, Rules for Radicals, that did inspire some on the left. However, the book has motivated plenty on the right.
William F. Buckley called Alinsky "very close to being an organizational genius." FreedomWorks, a DC-based conservative/libertarian political action organization presently in the business of supporting Tea Party initiatives and candidates, uses Alinsky's book as a training manual for its top leadership members. Conservative firebrand, former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, is said to give out copies of Rules for Radicals to Tea Party leaders.
As much as the right wants to make Obama out as a raving socialist, he no more embraces socialism than George W. Bush or the last few presidents. His going-on-five years in office have been essentially a continuation of the Bush-Cheney administration. Wall Street bailouts continued. The multiple wars continued. Post 9/11 NSA surveillance continued and ramped up. Drone strikes continued and increased.
Alinsky, on the other hand, worked to improve living conditions for the poor and minorities. He would have been all for Wall Street failing, and it's doubtful he would carry on the current crop of foreign skirmishes. The 1972 Playboy interview with Alinsky entitled, "Empowering People, Not Elites," compares him to Thomas Paine, Henry George, and Dorothy Day. Meanwhile, the current commander-in-chief has reportedly played at least 146 rounds of golf while on the job. Alinsky was much too busy agitating for change to get in any golf.
There's more at the link.
I think the author makes a strong case. As always, what "everybody knows" about Alinsky may be far from the "whole truth". Go read the whole article for yourself, as well as Alinsky's 1972 interview with Playboy magazine, and see what you think.