The Campaign Spot

Applying Alinsky’s Rules to Obama and John Edwards

Mickey Kaus asks, “Will Obama rescue John Edwards by replacing the U.S. Attorney who is investigating him?”

We will see how this shakes out, but from reading Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, I would not count on it. Right now, what can John Edwards — or Elizabeth Edwards — do for Obama? Nothing; they’re damaged goods. He doesn’t need their endorsement, he doesn’t need their money, he doesn’t need their praise or support. The value of their gratitude would not outweigh the cost of the controversy of firing that U.S. Attorney.

Rescuing Edwards would not enhance or expand Obama’s power, and could in fact impede or limit his power, if the public began to conclude that Obama was helping cover up criminal behavior on the part of Edwards. Thus, there’s no real incentive.

The calculus of the decision becomes different the moment that the U.S. Attorney becomes a threat to any direct interest of Obama, of course.


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