Andrew McCarthy argues that Barack Obama has done a much better job of applying Alinskyite methods and achieving radical ends than is generally recognized.
Alinsky looked down on [Bill Ayers] and the other Weathermen, just as much as he looked down on progressive â€œmoderates.â€ On goals, Alinsky and Ayers, were on the same page, but Alinsky dismissed him as a clown because Ayersâ€™s methods were counterproductive.
In Alinskyâ€™s view, the only radicalism that had a chance to succeed was the one that could bore inside bourgeois institutions, co-opt the language, and move the mainstream in the radical direction â€” but only as fast as political conditions would allow. Remaining radical but being coldly pragmatic kept the Alinskyite both effective and viable, allowing him to keep coming back for more. Ayers eventually learned this lesson â€” the lesson that you can do more for the cause by running the classroom than by blowing up the classroom or occupying the campus. As Ayers himself says, heâ€™s just as radical today as he ever was â€” he is no moderate progressive. But now heâ€™s actually accomplishing things, affecting thousands of minds. To borrow the words of Van Jones, another radical Leftist turned Alinskyite, he decided â€œto forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.â€
Obama has never shifted. Heâ€™s always been the same guy. But he adjusts to the conditions of his environment. Heâ€™s not mainstream; heâ€™s about moving the mainstream.
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