The Alinsky Way of Governing

My School of Public Policy colleague (and top statewide GOP vote-getter in California last November) Pete Peterson has a nice piece in today’s Wall Street Journal on “The Alinsky Way of Governing” that details the degrading effect Alinskyist politics is having on today’s generation of liberals.  (Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley on the greatness of Alinsky.)

Since the article is behind the Journal‘s paywall, a couple of excerpts:

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, recently caused a stir by sending letters to seven university presidents seeking background information on scientists and professors who had given congressional testimony that failed to endorse what is the conventional wisdom in some quarters regarding climate change. One of the targets was Steven Hayward, a colleague of mine at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy. . .

How did it come to this? The inability of politicians to confront another’s argument, much less to attempt to persuade the other side, has become standard operating procedure. Now this toxic approach is extending to the broader world of policy—including scientific research. Instead of evaluating the quality of the research, opponents make heavy-handed insinuations about who funds it—as though that matters if the science is sound. And now just about every climate scientist employed by an American university knows that Washington is watching.

More broadly, what has happened is that a generation of American politicians who came of age during Saul Alinsky’s lifetime has moved into positions of institutional power that he so often derided as “the enemy.” They are showing an inability to leave behind Alinsky’s tactics that were intended for the weak against the strong. Civil discourse and academic freedom suffer while the “Prince” becomes more powerful.

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