The trouble with Saul Alinsky and his Rules for Radicals is that its a manual of tactics. OK. tactics are important. But without strategy you are wasting your time.
The whole community-organizing thing seems, to me, to be a foolish emphasis on tactics. But for what? You rile up the poor folks in South Chicago into a fine froth, and then what? OK, we know. Then you implement The Plan, to fold everything into the State.
But what happens if, after you've riled up the People, and you start confidently leading them into a Glorious Future of Health Care and Green Jobs, the People suddenly discover that that's not what they had in mind at all.
What happens if the People are not desperate proletarians scrabbling a living out in the inner city? What happens if they are small "c" conservative middle-class folks that want a sensible and steady economic environment without all the excitement. They would be people that want to get jobs, get married, start a family, and squeeze enough cash to buy a starter house? Or if they are a bit older, and are thinking about paying for college or even retirement?
Well, if you are the community-organizing President of the United States, you've got a problem. All of a sudden your vision of change, complete with transparency and tax cuts, comes crashing down. All of a sudden you look like the usual politician that's talking about fighting for the people while he's doing deals with the powerful.
The feeling that I'm getting is that the president and his crew came all kitted up to play the wrong game.
They say that the president and his top campaign advisers all have a background in big-city politics. That explains a lot, doesn't it. These folks are good at playing the Democratic faithful, but don't really know much about politics in the heartland.
But the game you need to play in the United States of America is center-right politics. That's what Bill Clinton was so good at. He knew how to push through center-left stuff and make it look center-right. He learned his game as a liberal in a conservative southern state.
But President Obama has spent most of his adult life in Liberal Land, the liberal enclave of Hyde Park created by the University of Chicago.
Well, eventually, the Obama people will figure out how to get their presidency to limp along. Maybe they'll even limp to a reelection in 2012.
The problem is that from now on out, liberals are going to be facing hard decisions. The bills are coming due on the welfare state and there isn't enough money to pay for it. They'll do what politicians always do. They'll cheat.
Guess what. It is going to make the American people as mad as hell.
Like they say: you ain't seen nothing yet.