Saul Alinsky

Newt Gingrich is, in all likelihood, heading towards a loss tonight in Florida. It wasn’t so long ago that the Speaker was riding high off a double-digit victory in South Carolina, where he declared that “the centerpiece” of the campaign was “American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.” Since Gingrich has promised to take his campaign all the way to the convention regardless of tonight’s results, we can expect to hear a lot more about Saul Alinsky. What was Alinsky’s legacy? A 1998 paper in Theological Studies argues that Alinsky played a central role in the history of U.S.

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On the night of his triumph in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich boldly announced: “The centerpiece of this campaign, I believe, is American exceptionalism versus the radicalism of Saul Alinsky.” Barack Obama did once work in a Chicago project inspired by Alinsky, the legendary community organizer who died in 1972.

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The New York Times ran with two demographic surveys one day after the other. The first, which it headlined “Snapshot shows U.S. public more disillusioned than ever,” demonstrated that the American people are fundamentally miserable with their condition. They expressed egalitarian instincts at least to the extent that they want the distribution of wealth to be more even.

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The spittle-flacked National Review contributor claims to have a list of all the times President Obama has used the word terror. Conor Friedersdorf, beginning the dark and lonely work of fact-checking McCarthy's crackpot claims, shows that the number is wholly false: Excerpt number one is titled, “Obama Afraid to Call It a War on Terror.” It begins as follows: President Obama’s administration has been roundly ridiculed, and deservedly so, for its aversion to the language of war — indeed, for the word war itself.

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I still find it strange how little understood President Obama's political method is. The first person I know who identified it is Mark Schmitt, over two years ago. At the time, many liberals viewed Obama's inclusive rhetoric as a sign that he intended to capitulate the liberal agenda for the sake of winning Republican agreement. Schmitt disagreed.

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The Tea Party Glossary

Here's one thing about the Tea Party movement everyone can agree on: It's confusing. With decentralization as a core value, the Tea Party phenomenon can seem like a baffling collection of individuals and organizations, often divided against each other. But with its first national convention now underway in Nashville, and as Tea Party groups gear up for campaigns around the country, it's time we met the movement's main players.

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Today's Contest

When I clicked on Amazon this morning to find out about a book, I was informed that a book was about to appear that was tailor-made for my tastes: Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin. When I clicked on the button to “fix this recommendation,” I was informed that Amazon had recommended Palin’s book because I had once purchased Sanford Horwitt’s excellent biography of Saul Alinsky. OK, here is today’s contest: Sarah Palin is to Saul Alinsky as what or who is to what or who. You fill in the blanks. I spent ten minutes trying to do so, and gave up.  

Creation Myth

In late October 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.

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Creation Myth

IN LATE OCTOBER 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.

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The Agitator

In 1985, Barack Obama traveled halfway across the country to take a job that he didn't fully understand. But, while he knew little about this new vocation--community organizer--it still had a romantic ring, at least to his 24- year-old ears. With his old classmates from Columbia, he had talked frequently about political change.Now, he was moving to Chicago to put that talk into action. His1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, recounts his idealistic effusions: "Change won't come from the top, I would say. Change will come from a mobilized grass roots. That's what I'll do.

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