'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.'
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals.
Barack's love song to Alinsky
In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama claims that he worried after 9/11 that his name, so similar to that of Osama bin Laden, might harm his political career.
But Obama was not always so worried about misspellings and radical resemblances. He may even have cultivated them as he cast himself as Chicago’s radical champion.
In 1998, a small Chicago theater company staged a play titled The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, dedicated to the life and politics of the radical community organizer whose methods Obama had practiced and taught on Chicago’s South Side.
Obama was not only in the audience, but also took the stage after one performance, participating in a panel discussion that was advertised in the poster for the play.
Recently, veteran Chicago journalist Michael Miner mocked emerging conservative curiosity about the play, along with enduring suspicions about the links between Alinsky and Obama. Writing in the Chicago Reader, Miner described the poster:
Let's take a look at this poster. It's red—and that right there, like the darkening water that swirls down Janet Leigh's drain [in Psycho’s famous shower scene], is plenty suggestive. It touts a play called The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, Alinsky being the notorious community organizer from Chicago who wrote books with titles like Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals. On it, fists are raised—meaning insurrection is in the air.
And down at the very bottom, crawling across the poster in small print, it mentions the panel discussions that will follow the Sunday performances. The panelists are that era's usual "progressive" suspects: Leon Despres, Monsignor Jack Egan, Studs Terkel . . .
And state senator Barack Obama.
So, what’s in the play? It truly is a love song to Alinsky. In the first few minutes of the play, Alinsky plays Moses – yes, the Biblical Moses – talking to God. The play glorifies Alinsky stealing food from restaurants and organizing others to do the same, explaining, “I saw it as a practical use of social ecology: you had members of the intellectual community, the hope of the future, eating regularly for six months, staying alive till they could make their contributions to society.”
In an introspective moment, Alinsky rips America: “My country … ‘tis of whatthehell / And justice up a tree … How much can you sell / What’s in it for me.” He grins about manipulating the Christian community to back his programs. He talks in glowing terms about engaging in Chicago politics with former Mayor Kelly. He rips the McCarthy committee, mocking, “Everyone was there, when you think back – Cotton Mather, Hester Prynn, Anne Hutchinson, Tom Paine, Tom Jefferson … Brandeis, Holmes … Gene Debs and the socialists … Huey Long … Imperial Wizards of all stripes … Father Coughlin and his money machine … Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd … and a kicking chorus of sterilized reactionaries singing O Come, All Ye Faithful …”
And Alinsky talks about being the first occupier – shutting down the O’Hare Airport by occupying all the toilet stalls, using chewing gum to “tie up the city, stop all traffic, and the shopping, in the Loop, and let everyone at City Hall know attention must be paid, and maybe we should talk about it.” As Alinsky says, “Students of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your juicy fruit.”
The play finishes with Alinsky announcing he’d rather go to Hell than Heaven. Why? “More comfortable there. You see, all my life I’ve been with the Have-Nots: here you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of money, there you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of virtue. I’d be asking more questions, organizing them. They’re my kind of people – Hell would be Heaven for me.”
That’s The Love Song of Saul Alinsky. It’s radical leftist stuff, and it revels in its radical leftism.
And that’s Barack Obama, our president, on the poster...
(h/t: Patum Peperium)