Will USA today become a sensible country again soon .. pushing toward a Sunday vote on health care?

Mar 19th, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
This may be a real photo of Barack Obama indulging in the unhealthy habit of smoking, in his Alinsky-style community organizing days. Or it could be something that someone has doctored with Photoshop, etc. In our age of high technology who really knows anything for certain anymore?

This may be a real photo of Barack Obama indulging in the unhealthy habit of smoking, in his Alinsky-style community organizing days. Or it could be something that someone has doctored with Photoshop, etc. In our age of high technology who really knows anything for certain anymore?

MACKINAW CITY, MI. FRIDAY MARCH 19, 2010. This may or may not prove to be a historic week in the history of democracy in America. According to the Washington Post: “Pushing toward a Sunday vote that could transform the nation’s health-insurance system, House leaders announced a $940 billion compromise Thursday that would extend coverage to the vast majority of Americans, cut billions of dollars from Medicare, and impose new taxes on the wealthy and the well-insured. “

To commemorate the event that may or may not happen, our congenital observer of the American scene, L. Frank Bunting, has sent in an extended essay: “Alinsky, Brooks, Clinton, and Obama: more right-wing ‘outright fiction’ on the American left.” if you have the stamina for a long, hard look at the deep background to one side of the Obama administration’s current struggles, CLICK HERE for the full package. (Or see the USA Today category to the right of this page.)

Bunting’s piece draws on two recent columns by the reasonable conservative David Brooks, in the New York Times. In the first one, from back on March 4, Brooks contends that the now long-dead Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky (who also helped inspire the political careers of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) was “the leading tactician of the New Left,” back in the 1960s and early 1970s. And Bunting objects strenuously to this proposition.

In the second column, from March 11, Brooks argues: “In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country.” Bunting agrees with all this, even as he fervently wishes that both the USA and the world at large (including Canada) will soon enough become more sensible in our time.

Saul Alinsky, Circa 1946. Photo: Myron Davis./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

Saul Alinsky, Circa 1946. Photo: Myron Davis./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

From a more personal angle, L. Frank Bunting’s extended essay on  “Alinsky, Brooks, Clinton, and Obama” delves into a longstanding fascination he has had with the still not all that well-known career of Saul Alinsky, who died of a sudden heart attack in Carmel, California at the still comparatively youthful age of 63, 38 years ago this coming June 12.

In an interview this morning, on the 8 AM Arnold Transit ferry  to Mackinac Island (where he is waiting out this potentially historic weekend), Bunting explained that there were some sides of Alinsky’s career he didn’t have the time or space to touch on, as he would have liked.  As one example, he noted that Alinsky sometimes liked to joke about going to hell when he died. But on the other hand there was his close friendship and long correspondence with the quite conservative French Catholic political philosopher, Jacques Maritain, who famously said: “I do not know if Saul Alinsky knows God. But I assure you that God knows Saul Alinsky.”

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