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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Obama: Still the Alinskyite

(By Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online) - Here’s my take on the puzzle of Obama’s leadership style. Obama is still every inch the Alinskyite organizer. He talks about uniting, even as he deliberately polarizes. He moves incrementally toward radical left goals, but never owns up to his ideology. Instead, he tries to work indirectly, by way of the constituencies he seeks to manipulate.

“Leading from behind” is classic Alinskyite strategy. The idea is for the organizer to find out what the people he’s organizing want, give them enough of that to gain authority and control, then slowly and quietly push the group in his ideological direction, all the while making it seem as though the plan is what the people themselves have asked for. Obama used to literally lead from behind, by stage-managing his group’s protests from the back of the room, while the ostensible leaders took charge on stage. That is what Alinskyite organizers do.

Alinskyite organizers are tough when facing down the “enemy” (their word), but subtle, stealthy, and incremental when dealing with the members of their own group. Above all, they are never openly ideological. Everything is portrayed as pragmatism.


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