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Romney's connection to Saul Alinsky

BOSTON – Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has frequently brought up President Obama’s fondness for the politics and methods of activist Saul Alinsky.

However, there is evidence presumptive Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney may have been influenced by the late 20th century, Chicago-based radical.

Political commentator Dan Riehl wrote on BigGovernment.com that the “toxic-to-conservatives” Alinsky effect has its roots in the former Massachusetts governor’s father, George Romney.

“The progressive Alinsky is infamous and actually toxic on the right,” Riehl wrote. “George Romney’s endorsement of him, coupled with his acknowledged strong influence on son Mitt, will do little to assure suspicious conservatives concerned about Mitt Romney’s record as a progressive, including his introduction of Romneycare in Massachusetts.”

Political journalist and analyst Andrew Kaczynski wrote in a recent edition of the Buzzfeed that the elder Romney met with Alinsky to find a way to deal with the problem of the urban poor.

“In the wake of the devastating Detroit riots of the summer of 1967, Michigan Gov. George Romney, a liberal Republican, met the radical organizer Saul Alinsky to discuss the grievances of the urban black poor,” he explained.

Photos of the meeting can be found in the archives of the Library of Congress.

Kaczynski noted that a book on George Romney quotes the former Michigan governor telling his allies, “I think you ought to listen to Alinsky.”

Political analyst and think-tank researcher Steve Baldwin believes that Mitt Romney was definitely impacted by his father’s association with Alinsky.

“Romney’s dad was a big leader of the RINO (Republican in name only) wing of the Republican Party and hated Goldwater,” Baldwin explained. “George actually walked out of the 1964 GOP convention in protest of Goldwater’s views. He was an admirer of Alinsky.”

Riehl emphasized that the younger Romney deeply admired his father and his father’s beliefs. Riehl also indicated that any switch to conservatism for the younger Romney would be equivalent to a denial of his father.

“This portrait (of George Romney as a social liberal) would jibe with Mitt Romney’s image as a progressive governor of Massachusetts, while suggesting any serious conversion to conservatism would not only entail a change in viewpoint but a rejection of Mitt’s father, George, someone he has regularly mentioned as a major influence while campaigning,” Riehl wrote.

He continued, “Taken as a whole, the new information could serve to fuel existing significant doubt amongst an already skeptical conservative base that Romney’s already vague conversion to conservatism is more one of electoral convenience than a principled decision.”

Worldview Weekend President and social historian Brannon Howse said Alinsky is a troubling political figure because the roots of his radicalism run deeply.

“A young Italian Marxist by the name of Antonio Gramsci advised World War II dictator Mussolini that violence was not the way to bring about a lasting revolution people would embrace and maintain,” Howse noted. “Gramsci wrote eloquently of a ‘quiet’ revolution – one that would transform a culture from within by changing the basic worldview of each and every institution in society.”

Howse continued, “He also cautioned that this revolution would be ‘a long march through the institutions,’ not a blitzkrieg of change. And so clear was his strategic thinking that Gramsci targeted Christianity specifically as the greatest philosophical adversary along the way.

“Later in the twentieth century, Gramsci’s vision captivated another rising neo-Marxist who codified the Gramsci dream in a 1971 book, ‘Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.’ There, Saul Alinsky detailed the need to penetrate the middle class and re-organize from within. Alinksy articulated tactics for infiltrating every conceivable social institution – including churches.”

Howse reminded readers of how Obama became connected to Alinsky’s philosophy: “President Obama, while at Harvard, attended the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group founded by Alinsky, and when he returned to Chicago, Obama taught Saul Alinsky’s worldview and strategies.”

He also explained that Romney and Obama aren’t the only political figures who have appropriated Alinsky’s Marxist vision.

“Alinsky has influenced many of our nation’s leaders, and now you can see where they desire to take our nation – to becoming a socialist state,” Howse said. “Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on Alinsky’s strategies.”

The Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas maintains a record that documents Alinsky’s organization and activities. The center’s historical notes link Alinsky to radical political figures such as United Farm Workers organizer Cesar Chavez.

“Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed the IAF’s (Industrial Area’s Foundation) principles of community organization and citizen participation, expressed in his books ‘Reveille for Radicals’ (1946) and ‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971),” the center wrote. “After his success in organizing Chicago’s Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood council, Alinsky founded the IAF with the support of Chicago clergy and philanthropists. Upon being invited into a community, IAF organizers trained local leaders to develop grassroots organizations. Prominent successes were The Woodlawn Organization (TWO) in Chicago, and the Community Service Organizations in California (CSO),where IAF organizer Fred Ross trained Cesar Chavez.”

Alinsky dedicated his book “Rules for Radicals” to the devil.

He wrote on the dedication page to the book: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins – or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at last won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”

Howse noted that Romney, Obama and Clinton aren’t the only major political figures with probable radical ties, just as Alinsky isn’t the only radical political writer whose ideas have crept into the political discourse. Another major GOP candidate has been influenced by radical social thinker Alvin Toffler.

“Just as dangerous as Saul Alinsky’s worldview is that of Alvin Toeffler, who has greatly influenced Newt Gringrich,” Howse explained. “Newt Gingrich was so inspired by the futurist vision of Heidi and Alvin Toffler that he wrote the forward to their book, ‘Creating a New Civilization: The Politics of the Third Wave.'”

“In his book, “Third Wave,” Toffler wrote that the U.S. Constitution is obsolete.

“For what I now must write can all too easily be misunderstood by my contemporaries. Some will no doubt regard it as seditious,” he wrote. “Yet it is a painful truth I believe you would have quickly grasped. For the system of government you fashioned, including the very principles on which you based it, is increasingly obsolete, and hence increasingly, if inadvertently, oppressive and dangerous to our welfare.

“It must be radically changed and a new system of government – a democracy for the 21st century.”

Howse pointed out that Toffler’s new society is based on a complete reshaping of American culture: “Several researchers have documented that In his book ‘Third Wave,’ Toffler calls for the normalizing of hot affairs, abortion, and homosexuality. I agree with numerous researchers that have studied the Tofflers; their worldview is based largely on the mixture of socialism with capitalism for what is called communitarianism.”

Howse’s assessment of Gingrich has support. In the Jan. 17 edition of Commentary Magazine, political writer Peter Wehner – who served as deputy assistant to the President George W. Bush– affirms Gingrich’s attraction to Toffler.

“He can speak out about the civilizational importance of marriage as an institution while treating it with a good deal less care in his own life,” Wehner wrote. “He can quote Edmund Burke while being a devoted follower of Alvin Toffler.”

Gingrich even interviewed Alvin Toffler for CSPAN’s “Book TV” program, allowing the futurist a chance to say that the family is not only not universal, but replaceable.

“After extensive study of both the Tofflers and Saul Alinsky, I believe they hold an equally radical and dangerous worldview,” Howse said. “There is no doubt President Obama was influenced by radical Saul Alinsky. There is also no doubt that Newt Gingrich was influenced by radicals Heidi and Alvin Toffler.

“If Romney was influenced by Alinksy through his father, George Romney, then all three leading candidates for president of the United States have been influenced by anti-American progressives,” Howse concluded, “and that is putting it mildly.”