Skip to comments.Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (Obama's winning playbook)
Posted on 11/04/2008 8:55:27 PM PST by ETL
From Rules for Radicals, Alinsky outlines his strategy in organizing, writing:
"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution."
 Saul Alinsky, The Latter Rain
(Excerpt) Read more at latter-rain.com ...
Rules for Radicals:
A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals
The Revolutionary force today has two targets, moral as well as material. Its young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, "Burn the system down!" They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. It is to this point that I have written this book. These words are written in desperation, partly because it is what they do and will do that will give meaning to what I and the radicals of my generation have done with our lives.
They are now the vanguard, and they had to start almost from scratch. Few of us survived the Joe McCarthy holocaust of the early 1950s and of those there were even fewer whose understanding and insights had developed beyond the dialectical materialism of orthodox Marxism. My fellow radicals who were supposed to pass on the torch of experience and insights to a new generation just were not there. As the young looked at the society around them, it was all, in their words, "materialistic, decadent, bourgeois in its values, bankrupt and violent." Is it any wonder that they rejected us in toto.
Today's generation is desperately trying to make some sense out of their lives and out of the world. Most of them are products of the middle class. They have rejected their materialistic backgrounds, the goal of a well-paid job, suburban home, automobile, country club membership, first-class travel, status, security, and everything that meant success to their parents. They have had it. They watched it lead their parents to tranquilizers, alcohol, long-term-endurance marriages, or divorces, high blood pressure, ulcers, frustration and the disillusionment of the "good life," They have seen the almost unbelievable idiocy of our political leadership - in the past political leaders, ranging from the mayors to governors to the White House, were regarded with respect and almost reverence; today they are viewed with contempt. This negativism now extends to all institutions, from the police and the courts to "the system" itself. We are living in a world of mass media which daily exposes society's innate hypocrisy, its contradictions and the apparent failure of almost every facet of our social and political life. The young have seen their "activist" participatory democracy turn into its antithesis - nihilistic bombing and murder. The political panaceas of the past, such as the revolutions in Russia and China, have become the same old stuff under a different name. The search for freedom does not seem to have any road or destination. The young are inundated with a barrage of information and facts so overwhelming that the world has come to seem an utter bedlam, which has them spinning in a frenzy, looking for what man has always looked for from the beginning of time, a way of life that has some meaning or sense. A way of life means a certain degree of order where things have some relationship and can be pieced together into a system that at least provides some clues to what life is about. Men have always yearned for and sought direction by setting up religions, inventing political philosophies, creating scientific systems like Newton's, or formulating ideologies of various kinds. This is what is behind the common cliché, "getting it all together" - despite the realization that all values and factors are relative, fluid, and changing, and that it will be possible to "get it all together" only relatively. The elements will shift and move together just like the changing pattern in a turning kaleidoscope.
In the past, the "world," whether in its physical or intellectual terms, was much smaller, simpler, and more orderly. It inspired credibility. Today everything is so complex as to be incomprehensible. What sense does it make for men to walk on the moon while other men are waiting on welfare lines, or in Vietnam killing and dying for a corrupt dictatorship in the name of freedom? These are the days when man has his hands on the sublime while he is up to his hips in the muck of madness. The establishment in many ways is a suicidal as some of the far left, except that they are infinitely more destructive than the far left can ever be. The outcome of the hopelessness and despair is morbidity. There is a feeling of death hanging over the nation.
Today's generation faces all this and says, "I don't want to spend my life the way my family and their friends have. I want to do something, to create, to be me, to 'do my own thing,' to live. The older generation doesn't understand and worse doesn't want to. I don't want to be just a piece of data to be fed into a computer or a statistic in a public opinion poll, just a voter carrying a credit card." To the young, the world seems insane and falling apart.
On the other side is the older generation, whose members are not less confused. If they are not as vocal or conscious, it may be because they can escape to a past when the world was simpler. They can still cling to the old values in the simple hope that everything will work out somehow, some way. That the younger generation will "straighten out" with the passing of time. Unable to come to grips with the world as it is, they retreat in any confrontation with the younger generation with that infuriating cliché, "when you get older, you will understand." One wonders at their reaction if some youngster were to reply, "When you get younger which will never be then you'll understand, so of course you'll never understand." Those of the older generation who claim a desire to understand say, "When I talk to my kids or their friends I'll say to them, 'Look, I believe what you have to tell me is important and I respect it.' You call me a square and say that 'I'm not with it' or 'I don't know where it's at' or 'I don't know where the scene is' and all of the rest of the words you use. Well I'm going to agree with you. So suppose you tell me. What do you want? What do you mean when you say "I want to do my own thing.' What the hell is your thing? You say you want a better world. Like what? And don't tell me a world of peace and love and all the rest of that stuff because people are people, as you will find out when you get older - I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say anything about 'when you get older.' I really mean to say anything about 'when you get older.' I really do respect what you have to say. Now why don't you answer me? Do you know what you want? Do you know what you're talking about? Why can't we get together?
And that is what we call the generation gap.
What the present generation wants is what all generations have always wanted - a meaning, a sense of what the world and life are - a chance to strive for some sort of order.
If the young were now writing our Declaration of Independence they would begin, "When in the course of inhuman events..." and their bill of particulars would range from Vietnam to our black, Chicano, and Puerto Rican ghettos, to the migrant workers, to Appalachia, to the hate, ignorance, disease and starvation in the world. Such a bill of particulars would emphasize the absurdity of human affairs and the forlornness and emptiness, the fearful loneliness that comes from not knowing if there is any meaning to our lives.
When they talk of values, they're asking for a reason. They are searching for an answer, at least for a time, to man's greatest question, "Why am I here?"
The young react to their chaotic world in different ways. Some panic and run, rationalizing that the system is going to collapse anyway of its own rot and corruption and so they're copping out, going hippie or yippie, taking drugs, trying communes, anything to escape. Others went for pointless sure-loser confrontations so that they could fortify their rationalization and say, "Well, we tried and did our part" and then they copped out too. Others sick with guilt and not knowing where to turn or what to do went berserk. These were the Weathermen and their like: they took the grand cop-out, suicide. To these I have nothing to say or give but pity - and in some cases contempt, for such as those who leave their dead comrades and take off for Algeria or other points.
What I have to say in this book is not the arrogance of unsolicited advice. It is the experience and counsel that so many young people have questioned me about through all-night sessions on hundreds of campuses in America. It is for those young radicals who are committed to the fight, committed to life.
Remember we are talking about revolution, not revelation; you can miss the target by shooting too high as well as too low. First, there are no rules for revolution any more than there are rules for love or rules for happiness, but there are rules for radicals who want to change their world; there are certain central concepts of action in human politics that operate regardless of the scene or the time. To know these is basic to a pragmatic attack on the system. These rules make the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one who uses the tired old words and slogans, calls the police "pig" or "white fascist racist" or "futher mukkers and has so stereotyped himself that others react by saying, "Oh, he's one of those," and then promptly turn off.
This failure of many of your younger activists to understand the art of communication has been disastrous. Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of his audience - and gives full respect to the other's values - would have ruled out attacks on the American flag. The responsible organizer would have known that it is the establishment that has betrayed the flag while the flag, itself, remains the glorious symbol of America's hopes and aspirations, and he would have conveyed this message to his audience. On another level of communication, humor is essential, for through humor much is accepted that would have been rejected if presented seriously. This is a sad and lonely generation. It laughs too little, and this, too is tragic.
For the real radical, doing "his thing" is to do the social thing, for and with people. In a world where everything is so interrelated that one fells helpless to know where or how to grab hold and act, defeat sets in' for years there have been people who've found society too overwhelming and have withdrawn, concentrated on "doing their own thing." Generally we have put them into mental hospitals and diagnosed them as schizophrenics. If the real radical finds that having long hair sets up psychological barriers to communication and organization, he cuts his hair. If I were organizing in a orthodox Jewish community I would not walk in there eating a ham sandwich, unless I wanted to be rejected so I could have an excuse to cop out. My "thing," if I want to organize, is solid communication with the people in the community. Lacking communication I am in reality silent; throughout history silence has been regarded as assent - in this case assent to the system.
As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be - it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system.
There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families - more than seventy million people - whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year (in 1971). They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don't encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let's not let it happen by default.
Our youth are impatient with the preliminaries that are essential to purposeful action. Effective organization is thwarted by the desire for instant and dramatic change, or as I have phrased it elsewhere the demand for revelation rather than revolution. It's the kind of thing we see in play writing; the first act introduces the characters and the plot, in the second act the plot and characters are developed as the play strives to hold the audience's attention. in the final act good and evil have their dramatic confrontation and resolution. The present generation wants to go right into the third act, skipping the first two, in which case there is no play, nothing but confrontation for confrontation's sake - a flare-up and back to darkness. To build a powerful organization takes time. It is tedious, but that's the way the game is played - if you want to play and not just yell, "Kill the umpire."
What is the alternative to working "inside" the system? A mess of rhetorical garbage about "Burn the system down!" Yippie yells of "Do it!" or "Do your thing." What else? Bombs? Sniping? Silence when police are killed and screams of "murdering fascist pigs" when others are killed? Attacking and baiting the police? Police suicide? Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!" is an absurd rallying cry when the other side has all the guns. Lenin was a pragmatist; when he returned to what was then Petrograd from exile, he said that the Bolsheviks stood for getting power through the ballot box but would reconsider after they got the guns! Militant mouthings? Spouting quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara, which are as germane to our highly technological, computerized, cybernetic, nuclear-powered, mass media society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport.
Let is in the name of radical pragmatism not forget that in our system with all its repressions we can still speak out and denounce the administration, attack its policies, work to build an opposition political base. True, there is government harassment, but there still is that relative freedom to fight. I can attack my government, try to organize to change it. That's more than I can do in Moscow, Peking, or Havana. Remember the reaction of the Red Guard to the "cultural revolution" and the fate of the Chinese college students. Just a few of the violent episodes of bombings or a courtroom shootout that we have experienced here would have resulted in a sweeping purge and mass executions in Russia, China, or Cuba. Let's keep some perspective.
We will start with the system because there is no other place to start from except political lunacy. It is most important for those of us who want revolutionary change to understand that revolution must be proceeded by reformation. To assume that a political revolution can survive without the supporting base of a popular reformation is to ask for the impossible in politics.
Men don't like to step abruptly out of the security of familiar experience; they need a bridge to cross from their own experience to a new way. A revolutionary organizer must shake up the prevailing patterns of their lives--agitate, create disenchantment and discontent with the current values, to produce, if not a passion for change, at least a passive, affirmative, no-challenging climate.
"The revolution was affected before the war commenced," John Adams wrote. "The revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people...This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and affections of the people was the real American Revolution." A revolution without a prior reformation would collapse or become a totalitarian tyranny.
A reformation means that masses of our people have reached the point of disillusionment with past ways and values. They don't know what will work but they do know that the prevailing system is self-defeating, frustrating, and hopeless. They won't act for change but won't strongly oppose those who do. The time is then ripe for revolution.
Those who, for whatever combination of reasons, encourage the opposite of reformation, become the unwitting allies of the far political right. Parts of the far left have gone so far in the political circle that they are now all but indistinguishable from the extreme right. It reminds me of the days when Hitler, new on the scene, was excused for his actions by "humanitarians" on the grounds of a paternal rejection and childhood trauma. When there are people who espouse the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy or the Tate murders or the Marin County Courthouse kidnapping and killings or the University of Wisconsin bombing and killing as "revolutionary acts," then we are dealing with people who are merely hiding psychosis behind a political mask. The masses of people recoil with horror and say, Our way is bad and we were willing to let it change, but certainly not for this murderous madness--no matter how bad things are now, they are better than that." So they begin to turn back. They regress into acceptance of a coming massive repression in the name of "law and order."
In the midst of the gassing and violence by the Chicago Police and National Guard during the 1968 Democratic Convention many students asked me, "Do you still believe we should try to work inside our system?"
These were students who had been with Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire and followed him across the country. Some had been with Robert Kennedy when he was killed in Los Angeles. Many of the tears that were shed in Chicago were not from gas. "Mr. Alinsky, we fought in primary after primary and the people voted no on Vietnam. Look at the convention. They're not paying any attention to the vote. Look at your police and the army. You still want us to work in the system?"
It hurt me to see the American army with drawn bayonets advancing on American boys and girls. But the answer I gave the young radicals seemed to me the only realistic one: "Do one of three things. One, go find a wailing wall and feel sorry for yourselves. Two, go psycho and start bombing--but this will only swing people to the right. Three, learn a lesson. Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the delegates." Remember: once you organize people around something as commonly agreed upon as pollution, then an organized people is on the move. From there it's a short and natural step to political pollution, to Pentagon pollution.
It is not enough just to elect your candidates. You must keep the pressure on. Radicals should keep in mind Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to a reform delegation, "Okay, you've convinced me. Now go on out and bring pressure on me!" action comes from keeping the heat on. No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough.
As for Vietnam, I would like to see our nation be the first in the history of man to publicly say, "We were wrong! What we did was horrible. We got in and kept getting in deeper and deeper and at every step we invented new reasons for staying. We have paid part of the price in 44,000 dead Americans. There is nothing we can ever do to make it up to the people of Indo-China--or to our own people--but we will try. We believe that our world has come of age so that it is no longer a sign of weakness or defeat to abandon a childish pride and vanity, to admit we were wrong." Such an admission would shake up the foreign policy concepts of all nations and open the door to a new international order. This is our alternative to Vietnam--anything else is the old makeshift patchwork. If this were to happen, Vietnam may even have been somewhat worth it.
A final word on our system. The democratic ideal springs from the ideas of liberty, equality, majority rule through free elections, protection of the rights of minorities, and freedom to subscribe to multiple loyalties in matters of religion, economics, and politics rather than to a total loyalty to the state. The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth in the individual, and faith in the kind of world where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible.
Great dangers always accompany great opportunities. The possibility of destruction is always implicit in the act of creation. Thus the greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.
From the beginning the weakness as well as the strength of the democratic ideal has been the people. People cannot be free unless they are willing to sacrifice some of their interests to guarantee the freedom of others. The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people. One hundred and thirty-five years ago Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene. Citizen participation is the animating spirit and force in a society predicated on voluntarism.
We are not here concerned with people who profess the democratic faith but yearn for the dark security of dependency where they can be spared the burden of decisions. Reluctant to grow up, or incapable of doing so, they want to remain children and be cared for by others. Those who can, should be encouraged to grow; for the others, the fault lies not in the system but in themselves.
Here we are desperately concerned with the vast mass of our people who, thwarted through lack of interest or opportunity, or both, do not participate in the endless responsibilities of citizenship and are resigned to lives determined by others. To lose your "identity" as a citizen of democracy is but a step from losing your identity as a person. People react to this frustration by not acting at all. The separation of the people from the routine daily functions of citizenship is heartbreak in a democracy.
It is a grave situation when a people resign their citizenship or when a resident of a great city, though he may desire to take a hand, lacks the means to participate. That citizen shrinks further into apathy, anonymity, and depersonalization. The result is that he comes to depend on public authority and a state of civil-sclerosis sets in.
From time to time there have been external enemies at our gates; there has always been the enemy within, the hidden and malignant inertia that foreshadows more certain destruction to our life and future than any devastating tragedy than the death of man's faith in himself and in his power to direct his future.
I salute the present generation. Hang on to one of your most precious part of youth, laughter--don't lose it as many of you seem to have done, you need it. Together we may find some of what we're looking for--laughter, beauty, love, and the chance to create.
Barack Obama received at least some instruction in the Islamic faith of his father and went with him to the mosque, but the importance of this experience is vastly overstated by conservative commentators who seek to portray Obama as a Muslim of sorts. Radical anti-Americanism, rather than Islam, was the reigning faith in the Dunham household. ...
Barack Obama is a clever fellow who imbibed hatred of America with his mother's milk, but worked his way up the elite ladder of education and career. He shares the resentment of Muslims against the encroachment of American culture, although not their religion. He has the empathetic skill set of an anthropologist who lives with his subjects, learns their language, and elicits their hopes and fears while remaining at emotional distance. That is, he is the political equivalent of a sociopath. The difference is that he is practicing not on a primitive tribe but on the population of the United States.
There is nothing mysterious about Obama's methods. "A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his audience so that they will think they are as clever as he is," wrote Karl Krauss. Americans are the world's biggest suckers, and laugh at this weakness in their popular culture. Listening to Obama speak, Sinclair Lewis' cynical tent-revivalist Elmer Gantry comes to mind, or, even better, Tyrone Power's portrayal of a carnival mentalist in the 1947 film noire Nightmare Alley. The latter is available for instant viewing at Netflix, and highly recommended as an antidote to having felt uplifted by an Obama speech. ..."
Article: Obama's women reveal his secret
The, it worked. They have won. The Bolsheviks have triumphed. The guillotines will start falling.
I am stunned. We are about to be ruled by a Marxist administration. With the press in his pocket and controlling both houses, America will resemble a socialist state.
"The Communist Party USA views the 2008 elections as a tremendous opportunity to defeat the policies of the right-wing Republicans and to move our country in a new progressive direction.
The record turnout in the Democratic Presidential primary races shows that millions of voters, including millions of new voters, are using this election to bring about real change. We wholeheartedly agree with them."
This is all well and good, but possibly worthless.
What is going to win the 2010 and 12 elections is selling conservative values, and putting conservatives in a position to win through supporting them with money and effort.
Not pushing investigations into everything Obama and his Klown patrol has done. Hear me out.
We need a clear focused efforts to win back the party first.
The RINO’s need to go. Reject the RINOs.
We do this by putting conservatives in the House. That’s one of our first targets. Free republic and like minded websites need to push for true conservatives and hold the RINO’s feet to the fire when they slink over to bow at Obama’s feet. Kick them out of the party if necessary.
Additionally-we fight this fight on a local basis. We have won elections on a national level for some time. We need to invest our sweat and blood into fighting on the local level.
We need to fight for our schools, newspapers, radio and TV stations-we need to let them know we won’t accept leftist garbage being shoved down our throats. We have the power.
Telling the truth about Obama is fine, he’s evil. But winning the fight back into power will require much more, and grinding our gears should be reigned in when it becomes a distraction.
No money to NPR.
No money to support Unions. I’m sorry but Unions are an evil that is hurting this country.
No money to companies that support leftist agendas.
Fight for freedom from persecution for being a christian.
Fight for the unborn.
my .02 cents.
No, what will win is if *we* read “RFR” and apply those principles to bring decent conservatives into positions of power.
We rail and rail against the fairness of the liberal’s techniques, but they WIN.
All is fair in love and war. The thing is, we were too stupid and trusting to realize that we’ve been at war for a long time. (Don’t misunderstand me. I’m speaking of a *culture* war, which is just as important as the ones with bullets.)
Bolshevik! Don’t waste any time being sad. Get angry. Throw the same crap they’ve been throwing at us for the last eight years right back in their faces. See how they like it.
“the same crap they’ve been throwing at us”
I do think that we can be sad for a day or so, but then we need to toss not more of the same crap, but ten times more. We are defending the country that we love, that our soldiers and heroes and founders died to give us.
America truly is the last, best hope and it is up to us to save it. More than ever before we need to get serious, people.
One thing: the enemy gets less enjoyment of this, doesn't get to savor it as much, knowing we are still out there (for now).
First rule, never admit blame or fault, even if you’re wrong abd caught dead-to-rights. Deny, deny, deny. Point the finger at the other guy.
Look at how many screw-ups there were in the Obama campaign. Had a Republican even made *one* of those errors, it would’ve been the election. How many have been caught stealing, cheating or lying and been voted back into office?
They’re Democrats! It’s different!
Well, now it’s different for Republicans as well.
The other thing they have going for them is *patience*. They’re willing to spend generations laying the groundwork. We sit back on our laurels, confident that common sense and reason will always prevail.
Sadly, they have a 50 year head-start on us. It might take us another 50 years to turn the tide.
Focus on Academia, Media and Law. We need to get every young conservative into those three areas ASAP.
In a nihilistic and extremely selfish youth culture that wanders about aimlessly seeking its own pleasure and building its own meaning for life - now augmented by the advent of virtual existence via online gaming and the web - it might be wise to look above politics to the metaphysical, the absolute. One absolute to them: you don't see it, but you are going to die some day. No matter what you believe. Another one is moral absolutes: everyone, without exception, has a built-in concept of justice and fairness. It's inexplicable, yet, like life and death, its reality cannot be denied. How do you account for that?
I wonder how the youth of today would be affected by such penetrating questions. I'm still fairly young myself, but have great difficulty relating to this hyper-immersed post-modern group. Historically, it was the church that brought out these questions - the catechism, for example. With that so watered down as to be rendered ineffective - where do they go? Virtual worlds they create, and in which they seek the desire common to fallen man: to become their own little gods and goddesses. It's in you and me too, BTW, so as to be clear I am not so much pointing a finger from us to them as acknowledging a reality of the human condition that is not finding expression in our youth.
Sorry for the tome, Marie, these are passionate issues on my side.
if you don’t do something different, then throwing the same crap at them like they did at us will definately get you 8 years at a minimum instead of four. As a disenchanted Dem who crossed over, I am here to tell you that this wasn’t a push for Obama as it was a loud scream for change. And Emperor Barry can’t rise to the occaision. This election was bought and paid for with offensive amounts of money and all kinds of voter fraud and this time people knew it but they wanted change. Do something different and change out the house and whoever is coming up in the next cycle to the R camp. Doing like Dems or doing nothing gets you no where and throwing crap for 8 years and also creates third parties like Paul and Barr an Nader who get some valuable votes in close elections and creates larger amounts of those who don’t vote. And if the R party is not leading at this point from now on, it is because they weren’t listening to people hollering for change and when the change they want doesn’t occur, the R’s need to be there for them. Change what is being tossed and then work on the more important issues once you get the place back.
I was thinking last night in bed on the up side:
1. They can’t claim (rationally) that America is a racists nation anymore.
2. We don’t have to spend the next two or three years hearing the libs whine about having the election stolen from them by evil Republicans.
3. If things turn really sour, the answer to the question “how did this happen?” is easy: liberalism.
"Barack Obama is a clever fellow who imbibed hatred of America with his mother's milk, but worked his way up the elite ladder of education and career. He shares the resentment of Muslims against the encroachment of American culture, although not their religion. He has the empathetic skill set of an anthropologist who lives with his subjects, learns their language, and elicits their hopes and fears while remaining at emotional distance. That is, he is the political equivalent of a sociopath. The difference is that he is practicing not on a primitive tribe but on the population of the United States.
There is nothing mysterious about Obama's methods. "A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his audience so that they will think they are as clever as he is," wrote Karl Krauss. Americans are the world's biggest suckers, and laugh at this weakness in their popular culture. Listening to Obama speak, Sinclair Lewis' cynical tent-revivalist Elmer Gantry comes to mind, or, even better, Tyrone Power's portrayal of a carnival mentalist in the 1947 film noire Nightmare Alley. "
It has only just begun. There will be more mind control and mass hypnosis from the carnival mentalist.