April 3, 2012

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John Fund profiles Saul Alinsky and shows Obama’s ties to him.

… What exactly are the connections between Obama and Saul Alinsky’s thought? In 1985, the 24-year-old Obama answered a want ad from the Calumet Community Religious Conference, run by Alinsky’s Chicago disciples. Obama was profoundly influenced by his years as a community organizer in Chicago, even if he ultimately rejected Alinsky’s disdain for electoral politics and, like Hillary Clinton, chose to work within the system. “Obama embraced many of Alinsky’s tactics and recently said his years as an organizer gave him the best education of his life,” wrote Peter Slevin of the Washington Post in 2007. That same year, The New Republic’s Ryan Lizza found Obama still “at home talking Alinskian jargon about ‘agitation’” and fondly recalling organizing workshops where he had learned Alinsky concepts such as “being predisposed to other people’s power.” …

… Obama’s 2008 campaign showcased many Alinsky methods. “Obama learned his lesson well,” David Alinsky, the son of Saul Alinsky, wrote in the Boston Globe in 2008. “The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style. Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board.” 

In her new book on Obama, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor lifted a bit of the curtain on his past. She told the Texas Book Festival: “The Obamas often don’t mingle freely — they often just stand behind the rope and reach out to shake hands — but he sees Jerry Kellman, his old community-organizing boss, and he is so happy to see him he reaches across and pulls him in. And Obama says, ‘I’m still organizing.’ It was a stunning moment and when [Kellman] told me the story, it had echoes of what Valerie Jarrett had told me once: ‘The senator still thinks of himself as a community organizer.’ . . . I think that plays into what will happen in the 2012 race.”

You can expect that the Obama 2012 campaign and allied groups will be filled with people deeply steeped in Rules for Radicals. That is good reason for conservatives to spend time studying Saul Alinsky. It also explains why liberals are so anxious to sugarcoat Alinsky and soft-pedal his influence on Team Obama.


NY Sun editors answer the president’s attack on the Court.

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard a presidential demarche as outrageous as President Obama’s warning to the Supreme Court not to overturn Obamacare. The president made the remarks at a press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. It was an attack on the court’s standing and even its integrity in a backhanded way that is typically Obamanian. For starters the president expressed confidence that the Court would “not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Reuters’ account noted that conservative leaders say the law was an overreach by Obama and the Congress. It characterized the president as having “sought to turn that argument around, calling a potential rejection by the court an overreach of its own.” Quoth the president: “And I’d just remind conservative commentators that, for years, what we have heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism, or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

It is outrageous enough that the president’s protest was inaccurate. What in the world is he talking about when he asserts the law was passed by “a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”? The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act barely squeaked through the Congress. In the Senate it escaped a filibuster by but a hair. The vote was so tight in the house — 219 to 212 — that the leadership went through byzantine maneuvers to get the measure to the president’s desk. No Republicans voted for it when it came up in the House, and the drive to repeal the measure began the day after Mr. Obama signed the measure.

It is the aspersions the President cast on the Supreme Court, though, that take the cake. We speak of the libel about the court being an “unelected group of people” who might “somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” This libel was dealt with more than two centuries ago in the newspaper column known as 78 Federalist and written by Alexander Hamilton. …


In American.com, Edward Pinto performs admirable detective work in showing how the sub-prime crisis was a federal government enterprise. He quotes Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee who had this to say in a 2007 NY Times OpEd.  

… [t]he three decades from 1970 to 2000 witnessed an incredible flowering of new types of home loans. These innovations mainly served to give people power to make their own decisions about housing, and they ended up being quite sensible with their newfound access to capital.

Also, the historical evidence suggests that cracking down on new mortgages may hit exactly the wrong people. As Professor Rosen explains, “The main thing that innovations in the mortgage market have done over the past 30 years is to let in the excluded: the young, the discriminated against, the people without a lot of money in the bank to use for a down payment.” It has allowed them access to mortgages whereas lenders would have once just turned them away.

The Center for Responsible Lending estimated that in 2005, a majority of home loans to African-Americans and 40 percent of home loans to Hispanics were subprime loans. The existence and spread of subprime lending helps explain the drastic growth of homeownership for these same groups. Since 1995, for example, the number of African-American households has risen by about 20 percent, but the number of African-American homeowners has risen almost twice that rate, by about 35 percent. For Hispanics, the number of households is up about 45 percent and the number of homeowning households is up by almost 70 percent.

And do not forget that the vast majority of even subprime borrowers have been making their payments. Indeed, fewer than 15 percent of borrowers in this most risky group have even been delinquent on a payment, much less defaulted. …


Matthew Continetti’s post at the Free Beacon allows us to relive our wonderful time last week.

… As it happened, the hot microphone mess was the least of the president’s troubles. The gaffe was still in the news when oral arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act began at the Supreme Court. The first day of proceedings concerned whether the Court could rule on the law at all since the individual mandate will not be enforced until 2014. But even those arguments went poorly for the administration and its hapless solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., who was unable to explain how the mandate could be a “penalty” one day and a “tax” the next day.

Yet the liberal panic did not truly begin until Mar. 27, when the Court heard arguments over the mandate’s constitutionality and even the president’s most hardened supporters had to acknowledge his signature policy was in trouble. No sooner had the proceedings concluded than a hysterical Jeffrey Toobin fled the courtroom, screaming that Obamacare was in “grave, grave” condition. The flimsiness of the administration’s arguments had transformed Toobin into a Henny Penny in drag, running around Capitol Hill and warning his fellow liberals that the Court could overrule Obamacare in “one big package” and that at the very least the mandate is “doomed.”

The administration and its friends in the media found themselves in a truly helpless position. If Toobin is proven right and the Court overrules Obamacare in part or in whole, Republicans will pounce, the president will look like a loser, and Democrats will be both demoralized and radicalized (not a winning combination). If Toobin is proven wrong, however, he will look like an idiot, Republicans and Tea Party activists will mobilize for the fall, and Democrats still will have to defend an unpopular law whose consequences grow worse with each passing minute.

The liberal reaction to this dilemma has been a predictable combination of spin and scapegoating. The noted legal mind Chuck Todd, who seems to have missed the class on Marbury v. Madison, asked guests on his show whether a Court decision against the health care overhaul might not be an unprecedented intrusion of one branch of government over the elected branches. Meanwhile, James Carville and Harry Reid lamely suggested an anti-Obamacare ruling would be good for the president and his party. The White House was reduced to using Newspeak, referring to the mandate as the “personal responsibility clause.” …


Andrew Malcolm with late night humor.

Conan: Charlie Sheen says he cringes watching his crazy rants from last year. Sheen says he’s moved on and is now focused on his new career as a JetBlue pilot.

Conan: Rumors of a secret meeting between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Apparently, Romney asked if Gingrich would consider being his running mate and Gingrich asked Romney, “Are you going to finish those fries?”

Leno: After this week’s arguments it looks like Obama now expects the Supreme Court to throw out his healthcare plan. Today he started calling it Bidencare.

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