Magazine March 19, 2012, Issue

Still the Alinsky Playbook

Saul Alinsky in Chicago in 1966 (AP)
President Obama continues to dance with the one who brung him

Forty years after his death, Saul Alinsky — the father of the community-organizing model that inspired both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — is more politically relevant than ever.

Leading conservatives attempt to tie the Obama administration to Alinsky’s radicalism, with Newt Gingrich declaring that Obama draws his “understanding of America” from “Saul Alinsky, radical left-wingers, and people who don’t like the classical America.” For their part, liberals have scrambled to minimize Obama’s affinity for Alinsky and to sand over Alinsky’s sharp edges. A blogger at Britain’s Guardian newspaper claims that Alinsky was merely “what passes for a left-wing radical in

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