Real Time host [Bill Maher] requested that Republicans answer two questions when lumping civil rights advocate Saul Alinsky to the current executive chief. “Why would you invite my outrage by suggesting such a specious link between our president and Saul Alinsky?” he asked. “And two, who the fuck is Saul Alinsky?”
That was my exact reaction when I was accused of using "Alinsky tactics" several years ago by a rather vociferous conservative here on Livejournal. And at the time, I confess being rather intellectually lazy in not caring enough to look up the reference, because I figured the person who was pointing the finger at me was talking out of his ass. But as time went on, I started to notice Glenn Beck was using the same reference in his rants about President Obama, and Democrats, and moderates, and even the media. Eventually I had to look it up, and I had discovered what Bill Maher did: “I wikipedia’ed the guy. Instantly, I discovered the problem: he liked black people. Way back in the 30s, he started organizing the civil rights movement. And as a historian like Newt Gingrich would tell you, the civil rights movement turned out to be a huge burden on white people.” 1
And of course, that led to a rather interesting discussion on the fantasy-land Republican vision of who President Obama is (who apparently gets his marching orders from Saul Alinsky long dead by the way). This is where I admire Bill Maher's dismissal of the false equivalency that "both sides do it, so what?" Or that "both sides have compelling cases." And Mr. Maher makes his case by comparing recent Republican accusations of their fantasy President Barack X to the left's intense hatred of President Bush.
And this is how politics has changed. You used to have to run against an actual candidate. But now, you just recreate him inside the bubble, and run against your new fictional candidate. That's how Bush won in 2004: by running against John Kerry, a French war criminal. And speaking of Bush, I know conservatives are saying "Oh Bill, come on. Democrats did the same thing to him!" No.
Say what you will about the left's hatred of Bush, at least we were hating on the real guy. We didn't have to invent a bogey-man who tanked the economy, took us to war on false pretenses and tortured prisoners. That was the actual guy. But run down the complaints about "Fantasy Obama:" he wants to raise your taxes, even though he's lowered them; confiscate your guns, even though he's never mentioned it; he reads terrorists their rights, yeah like he did Tuesday night in Somalia." And Obama is anti-work. (video of Newt Gingrich statement from a Republican debate claiming Obama is anti-work). You see the difference is the Republicans hatred of Obama is based on a paranoid feeling about what he *might do*, what he's thinking, or what he secretly wants to change. Anger with bush was based on what he actually did. What Bush was thinking didn't matter, because he wasn't [thinking]."
I know personally, I've been left scratching my head when Mitt Romney takes a break from singing "America, the Beautiful" from his campaign stops, and goes down this litany of things President Obama has done wrong. I'm just glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this GOP fantasy Obama. And it's interesting to see how the Republican candidates squirm when an unemployed person steps up to the microphone and tells the all too typical story: they've had no insurance due to being unemployed, and what would the GOP candidates do to help them now [nothing.] Several questions have been asked by people in their 20s who now have coverage on their parent's policies (thanks to "Obama care), and what would the instant repeal offered by all the candidates would mean on a practical level. The interesting thing is most of the answers are always nebulous policies (no one is more true of this than Ron Paul who can only resort to "When back when I was kid, no one was thrown out on the street for lack of insurance!" And in a real sense, whoever President Obama ends up debating this Autumn, he's going to have a least one advantage with these type of questions: he will be able to point out to the specifics of Obama care that have directly helped those as the implementation continues.
Here is the entire clip:
[1.] "Bill Maher: 'Who the F*** Is Saul Alinsky?'" written by Mark Russell.