For those who have paid attention, President Obama has a knack for saying one thing and doing another altogether: a knack for claiming one position while actually occupying another. We first saw this when this when he was campaigning for president in 2008 and the Supreme Court struck down DC’s gun ban via the Heller decision. At the time, he claimed to mutually support the gun ban and the 2nd Amendment. (Proving this wasn’t a fluke, when Chicago’s gun ban was struck down 2 years later via the McDonald decision, he again claimed he supported both the gun ban and the 2nd Amendment.)
Perhaps his position on a mandate by which government forces citizens to buy healthcare is an even clearer example. When campaigning for the Democrat nomination for president in 2008, he differentiated between himself and fellow candidate Hillary Clinton by criticizing her plan to use a mandate as an “enforcement mechanism” to “charge people who…don’t have healthcare.” He claimed the use of a mandate for those purposes was something he couldn’t go along with, something that demonstrated a “genuine difference” between himself and Clinton.
However, on April 4, 2012, Obama urged the Supreme Court not to rule against the mandate in ObamaCare because his healthcare reforms cannot survive “in the absence of an individual mandate.”
It’s arguable that there isn’t anything that demonstrates Saul Alinsky’s impact on Obama better than these flip flops and duplicitous positions. For it was Alinsky who spent his life teaching would-be radicals (like Obama) that you can say what you have to say to get over the hump, but once you’re over the hump, you do whatever you want to do. In other words, it’s okay to present yourself as something moderate, even centrist, for the purposes of securing power, and once you’ve secured that power it is perfectly acceptable to revert to who (and what) you really are.
In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky demonstrates this with a look at how Vladimir Lenin was able to overthrow the government in pre-communist Russia:
[Lenin said, “The government has] the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns it will be through the bullet.” And so it was.
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