With all the justifiable carry-on about Chuck Hagel’s appointment as U. S. Defense Secretary — and John Brennan’s nomination for CIA chief — one key question remains. This is not whether the pair is or would be bad for America and Israel; nor whether either or both will be confirmed by Congress.
No, the only real puzzle is why anyone should be the slightest bit surprised by President Barack Obama’s picks for positions on which America’s national security depends. Many U.S. Jews who voted for Obama both times around are experiencing a touch of buyer’s remorse, due to Hagel’s openly anti-Israel stance, anti-Semitic comments, and dovish attitude toward Iran. They feel as though they’ve been slapped in the face by the administration they have been backing.
Others have been saying that Obama’s choices — among them economic progressive Jack Lew for secretary of the treasury — indicate that the president is now “showing his true colors.” Those of us whose tendency is to guffaw right now are too busy tearing our hair out. After all, Obama has been a staunch radical throughout his life.
Two of his mentors, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the late Saul Alinsky, are worth mentioning here. That he was drawn to them in the first place was no more of an accident than was their grooming of him. Though neither could have guessed that he would become president one day, each saw his potential as a representative of “The Cause”: undermining the United States of America.
During Obama’s 20 years of attending the Rev. Wright’s church, he was treated to endless venom about the “White Man” and the Jews. But that was on Sundays.
The person who shaped the rest of Obama’s proverbial week well before that was actually both a white man and a Jew. Alinsky, who died in 1972, was the quintessential “community organizer” — the father of the particular form of radicalism that was Obama’s lifeblood.
In the last of his books, “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals,” Alinsky spelled out his methodology for “those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be.”
“The Prince,” he said, “was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. 'Rules for Radicals' is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."
The way to do this, he explained, was for the “organizer” to establish credibility. Since his purpose is to undo the existing order, Alinsky asserted, this organizer has to work within the system that he is trying to destroy. Through a combination of seduction and resentment-fanning, he can create a “mass army” to carry out the task.
Much suspicion has been raised about Obama’s past, and not only about whether he was actually born in the United States — a claim, by the way, that was originally laid by Hillary Clinton’s people during the 2008 Democratic primary. Another aspersion has to do with Obama’s alleged less-than-stellar academic history.
There is no doubt, however, that the president was a straight-A student of Alinsky’s tenets and tactics — which he has been carrying out to the letter since he was a community organizer in Chicago, through his sting in the Senate, and now into his second term as the leader-from-behind of the Free World for which he has disdain.
Indeed, Obama has elevated Alinsky-ism to new heights, by taking it beyond America’s borders. The “have-nots” on behalf of whom he has been working to grab power now include radical Islamists the world over.
During his first term, Obama was still learning the ropes and worrying about holding on to his seat in the Oval Office. As he indicated to the Russian leadership a few months ago, once re-elected, he would no longer be hindered by such constraints. Well, now he is being true to his word.
It is Alinsky’s legacy that is behind the appointments of Hagel, Brennan, and Lew. And it is Obama who will continue to undermine the United States from within and without, even if they are not confirmed. No wonder the regime in Tehran is pleased.
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”