Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Left And Right And Wrong

Saul Alinsky, guru for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, is familiar to me. I worked with his followers thirty-five years ago.

People who haven’t known me long are surprised that my politics were pretty far left when I was a young man working on a radical newspaper called “The Communicator” in Lowell, Massachusetts with some “Red Diaper Babies.” The term refers to children raised by parents who were members of CPUSA (Communist Party - United States of America). The ones I worked with were Jewish and devout followers of Saul Alinsky - hero to the two top Democrat candidates for president in 2008. His book: “Rules for Radicals,” was put in my hands by my Lowell friends who, just like Obama, called themselves “Community Organizers.” I skimmed through it, but it didn’t grab me. Alinsky and my friends wanted to kindle a revolution, but I just wanted to change a few things. One of the group was Alan Solomont, who later went on to become Treasurer of the Democrat National Committee during the Clinton Administration and slept in the Lincoln Bedroom. Alinsky followers like Solomont, Obama and Hillary Clinton took over the Democrat Party and pushed it far to the left.

Though I’ve always been conservative on social issues like abortion, I didn’t become fully conservative until the ’90s. Having worked both sides of the political spectrum gives me a broader view than most.
Regarding this election year, neither presidential candidate excites me and I expected to be bored by the record-long presidential campaign at this point, but I’m not - anything but. American voters have a clear choice between left and right and the debates will be fascinating from that perspective. Alinsky disciple Barack Obama has the most left-wing voting record in the US Senate. Joe Biden ranks third behind Ted Kennedy. Those three are more liberal than even Bernie Sanders - the Socialist Senator from Vermont. While John McCain’s right-wing credentials are somewhat lacking, it looks like he’s chosen a bedrock conservative in vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin. The little bit I’ve learned about her so far tells me she is the genuine article. She’s pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, wants to secure our borders, cut government, lower taxes, drill for oil, and - she’s articulate. Like most of Middle America, she and her husband have worked with their hands and still do. They didn’t go to Ivy League universities and are unimpressed by those who did. Americans who know how to shingle a roof, shoot a gun, dress out an animal, and change the oil identify with Sarah Palin. They’re the people who really make America work and this scares hell out of liberal elitists who run the Democrat Party and purport to represent average Americans. I can’t wait to watch her debate Joe Biden.

If I could be so bold as to sum up the political dichotomy of left and right, I would say right-wing conservatives believe what Thomas Paine said: “Government, in its best state, is but a necessary evil” - necessary only to maintain order while individual citizens live out their lives privately - with the liberty to make their own decisions and take responsibility for them. Whatever happiness they achieve is up to them alone. As Jefferson put it: “That government is best that governs least.”

Left-wing liberals believe the opposite: “That government is best that governs most.” Government is the source of happiness by being arbiter of who gets what and does what. Individual citizens depend on government for their welfare, cradle to grave. Unhappy citizens are victims. Their unhappiness is someone else’s fault. They blame “the rich,” for hoarding things so there’s not enough to go around. The size of the economic pie is static, they believe, and doesn’t expand. Rather than produce their own wealth, they use government to redistribute it.

Such victimhood dogma drove Alinsky strategy. His advice for “Community Organizers” like Barack Obama was: "Rub raw the sores of discontent.” No wonder Obama befriended race-baiting Jeremiah Wright. Rubbing raw the sores of discontent is Reverend Wright’s stock in trade, just as it is with those other two black “leaders,” the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton.

Alinsky was an atheist, but he understood the power of religion and used it perversely. Though he dropped it in subsequent editions to avoid alienating liberal church leaders, he dedicated his first edition of “Rules For Radicals” thusly:

"Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer."

Hillary didn’t mention this in her senior thesis on Alinsky at Wellesley College either, but it’s worth pondering.


Anonymous said...

Another GREAT article Tom. I always look forward to reading them.

Anonymous said...

O'Bama's background is stated as as community organizer. Was he not in fact the founder of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, his wife later becoming executive director? It is also my understanding that he did a good deal with ACORN. Why does he not name and become specific as to his work?

Tom McLaughlin said...

Well, his campaign is very tightly scripted by David Axelrod, that's why. Those associations wouldn't help him get elected. The question is, will John McCain name them? I hope so.

Two great books I'd recommend are "The Case Against Barack Obama" by Fredosso (which I'm reading now) and "Obamanation" by Jerome Corsi. Lots of references to that stuff in both. Another great one is "A Bound Man" by Shelby Steele.

Ricky Martin said...

Wow. That last quote is all I need to know about Saul Alinsky and his book. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

When I read your story about your old "leftie days" as a "community organizer" I was a little puzzled. Where did this come from? Then the next day on a cable news network, I heard some negative comments about "community organizing".Then it poured out at the Rep convention. Then it hit me. Yours was an advanced story for the RNC. I almost believed you. You are just towing the line. I would love to talk to some of your old "leftie buddies" about your time in the hood. Yup, I can just see it. I'm sure you were out there ripping it up. Come on Tom, stick to the issue's. We don't need make believe.
Scot Montgomery

Tom McLaughlin said...

The "Red Diaper Babies" I worked with were Ira Rubinzahl and his wife Debbie. Alan Solomont (linked above) was a member of their cell. So was Stuart Mandel. Ira got a PhD at MIT and came under the influence of Noam Chomsky there.

I still have back issues of "The Communicator" if you'd like to see them sometime.

Last I heard, Ira was teaching physics at North Adams State College in Massachusetts and Debbie died of a brain tumor. Don't know what happened to Stu. Last I heard, he was peddling a bicycle across Canada. Solomont is in the Democrat big leagues now and served as DNC Treasurer in the '90s. If you were to contact him, I'm sure he'd remember me. It was interesting to read the Harper's piece on him (linked) because he questioned me back then about my working in John Kerry's 1972 (unsuccessful) congressional campaign in Lowell. He didn't think Kerry was leftist enough to suit him and I should re-think my involvement. He's obviously changed his mind in the ensuing decades because he raised millions for Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. Solomont may have become somewhat less of a leftie, but I think it was more that the Democrats moved leftward enough for him to jump aboard and help it steer further to port. I went quite a bit further to the starboard as you know.

I understand that you'd find it difficult to believe I was that far left once upon a time, but I assure you that it's all true.

And I certainly don't take direction from the RNC. I'm quite disappointed in the Republican Party actually, for many reasons too numerous to mention here. To sum up though, it's because they've abandoned conservative principles.

Unknown said... your labelling it as a 'cell'.

Sounds so much like a cult, which it is.