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Plagiarize a Presidential Candidate
March 15, 2008 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Hillary Clinton's senior thesis is available online. (pdf)

How the Clintons wrapped up Hillary's thesis
Hillary, Soros, Alinsky, and Rush
Race between Clinton and Obama surfaces radically different views of politics, citizens’ roles
posted by anotherpanacea (48 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The current controversy is all this very silly "Are you now, or have you ever been, a radical?" tempest-in-a-teapot nonsense, but the thesis itself is pretty interesting.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:58 PM on March 15, 2008


"Are you now, or have you ever been, a radical?"

No but she was a Republican.

She grew up as a Goldwater Republican, like her father, in the middle-class Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. By the time she was a freshman at Wellesley, when she was elected president of the College Republicans, her concern with civil rights and the war in Vietnam put her closer to the moderate-liberal wing of the GOP led by Nelson Rockefeller. By her junior year, she had to be talked by her professor into taking an internship with Rep. Gerald R. Ford and the House Republican Caucus.
posted by srboisvert at 2:11 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


To be fair, here's Obama's chapter from the book After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:24 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Interesting—thanks for the post.
posted by languagehat at 2:28 PM on March 15, 2008


So is she going to come forth with the personal finace report she has been promising since November?
posted by notreally at 2:30 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


So is she going to come forth with the personal finace report she has been promising since November?
posted by notreally


Eponysterical!
posted by lostburner at 2:38 PM on March 15, 2008 [14 favorites]


I support Obama, but I'm not sure posting a link to a republican site shamelessly trying to slander Hillary (and violating her copyright in the process) is the way to go.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:40 PM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sounds like nobody would care if it hadn't been hidden for so long.
posted by Potsy at 2:42 PM on March 15, 2008


Oh please. It's a short piece that briefly calls her a socialist and it's the only place to find the paper in full.

I'm not sure what to make of your copyright claims. If Clinton wants to protect her copyright in this case, I think a takedown could be easily accomplished. The fact that she hasn't sued GOPublius for $150,000 per infringement suggests she's allowing the use.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:50 PM on March 15, 2008


Are they trying to be ironic by calling their site "American Thinker"? Talk about your misnomers!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:57 PM on March 15, 2008


This is interesting:

ALINSKY's RULES FOR RADICALS
"Personalize it"

Saul Alinsky's rules of power tactics, excerpted from his 1971 book "Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals"
1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
2. Never go outside the experience of your people.
3. Whenever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.
4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
5. Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
8. Keep the pressure on.
9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
10. Maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
11. If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.


It seems the Democrats have forgotten this advice for decades, while the Republicans enthusiastically embraced it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:18 PM on March 15, 2008 [17 favorites]


This is wonderful, thanks for the link. I haven't read it yet, but certainly will.

I'm a huge fan of Alinsky and the fact that HRC wrote her thesis on him makes me even more sad at how low she has stooped in the last decade. How far a great and brilliant woman has fallen in her quest for ultimate power.
posted by willie11 at 3:32 PM on March 15, 2008


I wonder how fucked-up and far-right you have to be for Hillary Clinton to look like even a liberal, let alone "far-left".

She's a Rockefeller Republican and has been for decades. That the Rockefeller Republicans have slowly drifted toward the Democratic Party reflects poorly on the GOP, not the Democrats. (That the Democratic Party has welcomed the Rockefeller Republicans, however, reflects very, very poorly on the Democrats.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:36 PM on March 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


I had nothing to do with this!
posted by publius at 3:57 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

+1.

while the Republicans enthusiastically embraced it.

I'm thinking "selectively embraced it." Obvious example: Iraq.
posted by ZakDaddy at 4:16 PM on March 15, 2008


14. Profit!!!
posted by Flashman at 4:19 PM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Do they have her prom pictures, too?
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


New Yorker cover last week (PS soo last week.)
posted by acro at 5:14 PM on March 15, 2008


So is she going to come forth with the personal finace report she has been promising
And which no one has asked John McCain to provide, especially the idiots on TV?
posted by etaoin at 5:15 PM on March 15, 2008


acro is that for real?!
posted by Flashman at 5:21 PM on March 15, 2008


I wonder how fucked-up and far-right you have to be for Hillary Clinton to look like even a liberal, let alone "far-left".

Not that far right, actually, thanks to the success of media conservatives in redefining the word "liberal" so that for most Americans it now means nothing more than "resembling the Clintons."
posted by washburn at 5:24 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, it was...
wow.
posted by Flashman at 5:24 PM on March 15, 2008


I support Obama, but I'm not sure posting a link to a republican site shamelessly trying to slander Hillary (and violating her copyright in the process) is the way to go.

The purpose of copyright is not to keep things from public view, not in the least. And given the "news value" of the document it's pretty clearly fair use.
posted by delmoi at 6:29 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


2nd msnbc link above:

While the traveling copy raises the possibility that someone could check out the microfilm, photocopy it or retype it, and post the text on the Internet, doing so would run the risk of a lawsuit.

The document has copyright protection, though not because the front of the library's copy is marked "c 1969 Hillary D. Rodham." That note, in a different typeface than the manuscript itself, was added by the university's archivist, Wilma Slaight.

"I added that in 1992," Slaight acknowledged. "That was my attempt to indicate that she might have copyright protection."

The attempt was unnecessary, said a copyright specialist, professor Laura N. Gasaway of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With or without the mark, an unpublished work is protected as soon as it's written, and the protection extends until 70 years after the author's death, Gasaway said. Readers can comment on the thesis, or publish limited quotations from it, but anyone who publishes the text could be liable for statutory damages of up to $150,000.

posted by drjimmy11 at 6:46 PM on March 15, 2008


She's a Rockefeller Republican and has been for decades. That the Rockefeller Republicans have slowly drifted toward the Democratic Party reflects poorly on the GOP, not the Democrats. (That the Democratic Party has welcomed the Rockefeller Republicans, however, reflects very, very poorly on the Democrats.)

I'm pretty sure that the woman running to be the Democratic nominee for president isn't a Republican. Believe it or not, the identities of the world's political parties weren't frozen in place during the 1960's. Also, I happen to know for a fact that Obama's the one who's not really a Democrat but rather a Grant Republican.
posted by 1 at 6:53 PM on March 15, 2008


McCain is really A Harrison Whig.

Get it???? Because he's old. Very very old.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:04 PM on March 15, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yeah, well....I smoked a lot of dope in college too.

Seriously tho' what's important are her policies and issue focus now.
('course, I disagree with those, so moot point I s'pose).
Ironic she did it on Alinsky (considering where Obama came from). Vachss (who I'm a big fan of.. er, not his prose) drew a lot from him. I've always thought of him as Socratic in that "F-you gimme the poison" sort of way.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:11 PM on March 15, 2008


I'm pretty sure that the woman running to be the Democratic nominee for president isn't a Republican. Believe it or not, the identities of the world's political parties weren't frozen in place during the 1960's. Also, I happen to know for a fact that Obama's the one who's not really a Democrat but rather a Grant Republican.

Here and I was so hoping that your comments would, over time, become more insightful and contributory.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:03 PM on March 15, 2008


Here and I was so hoping that your comments would, over time, become more insightful and contributory.

Strong words from the man who just contributed the insight that Clinton isn't actually a Democrat, but rather a "Rockefeller Republican." (Leaving aside the fact that Rockefeller was probably more liberal than Obama.)
posted by 1 at 8:29 PM on March 15, 2008


Oh snap!
posted by Balisong at 8:47 PM on March 15, 2008


As forbidden fruit, the writings of a 21-year-old college senior, examining the tactics of radical community organizer Saul D. Alinsky, have gained mythic status among her critics — a “Rosetta Stone,” in the words of one, that would allow readers to decode the thinking of the former first lady and 2008 presidential candidate.

That is just too hilarious. How many people over 60 are forever defined by views from their college years? I can't think of much that I wrote when I was 21 that I would be especially attached to now ideologically, and it hasn't been remotely 40 years ago. Why not just bump it back a few years, and ask what she was doing in high school?
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:33 PM on March 15, 2008



Strong words from the man who just contributed the insight that Clinton isn't actually a Democrat, but rather a "Rockefeller Republican." (Leaving aside the fact that Rockefeller was probably more liberal than Obama.)


You do realize it's possible for a conservative democrat to be more conservative then a Liberal republican, right?
posted by delmoi at 10:09 PM on March 15, 2008


(Leaving aside the fact that Rockefeller was probably more liberal wore more top hats than Obama.)
posted by shakespeherian at 10:10 PM on March 15, 2008


"decoding the thinking of the former first lady" seems to reveal "self-interested democracy," "sink or swim" and a distrust of Federal antipoverty programs in the 1960s. That is, phrases in her thesis anticipate the Federal dismantling of welfare programs in the 1990s during her husband's administration.
posted by doncoyote at 10:18 PM on March 15, 2008


I wonder how fucked-up and far-right you have to be for Hillary Clinton to look like even a liberal, let alone "far-left". She's a Rockefeller Republican and has been for decades.


Obama and Clinton are politically very similar, and both have compararively liberal voting records in the senate (estimates vary, but both are more liberal than approximately 80% of the senate):
I ran Clinton, Jackman, and Rivers’ item-response-theory-based ideal point estimator (sorry, it doesn’t have a fancier name — we in the biz just call it “CJR”) on all 433 non-unanimous rollcalls for the 110th Congress. The results suggest that Obama has the 9th most liberal voting record in the Senate, with rival Hillary Clinton in 11th place and very little daylight between them.
posted by dgaicun at 11:10 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why not just bump it back a few years, and ask what she was doing in high school?

Hell, why not junior high ? Everyone should be judged by who they were in seventh and eighth grade. That would be the great leveler.
posted by y2karl at 11:41 PM on March 15, 2008


SpacemanStix: "How many people over 60 are forever defined by views from their college years? I can't think of much that I wrote when I was 21 that I would be especially attached to now ideologically, and it hasn't been remotely 40 years ago. Why not just bump it back a few years, and ask what she was doing in high school?"

Hey, if Clinton's opposition research is to be believed, a person's political inclinations can be defined as early as kindergarten. Or, according to anonymous internet slanderers, as early as birth.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:48 PM on March 15, 2008


So where are her tax returns?
posted by LarryC at 12:18 AM on March 16, 2008


Here's another interesting article that analyzes how both Obama and Hillary Clinton were influenced by Saul Alinsky, but how that influence led them to very different tactical methods, differences that are even playing out in the current presidential campaign.
posted by jonp72 at 7:02 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


That is just too hilarious. How many people over 60 are forever defined by views from their college years?

That's not what the Swift-Boating GOP consultant, Chris Lacivita, said when he was asked for comment in the MSNBC article:

"I think the last election cycle proved that there's no statute of limitations," said the Republican political consultant. "What someone did or said 35 years ago is certainly fair game, especially if you're running for president of the United States."

We may be both disgusted by the "swift boat" attacks in 2004, but we probably derived a much different lesson from them than the Machiavellian lesson that Lacivita derived from them.
posted by jonp72 at 7:11 AM on March 16, 2008


Radical? Alinsky? I thought Hillary's campaign was all about Lewinsky.
posted by breezeway at 7:54 AM on March 16, 2008


I thought Hillary's campaign was all about Lewinsky.

Well, she's already blown it, if you ask me.
posted by jonmc at 8:06 AM on March 16, 2008


Didn't know that HRC dished it out for the guest speaker at her graduation. Chops for that!
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2008


Perhaps we ought to forgive age-old transgressions, but what y'all are missing is that this is a fascinating, insightful, and useful thesis that the woman wrote as a young adult. She's older, more experienced, and presumably has only built on those youthful and tentative beginnings. Look: obviously people change their opinions, but unless they're particularly unhealthy, I think it's fair to guess that they change their opinions for the better. Bush went from a drunken prodigal son to a slightly feckless and uncannily charming member of society. Clinton went from a brilliant young student to become a successful lawyer, political strategist, and adviser to the president. If you ignore the silly charges of socialism that conservatives want to paint Clinton with, you could see that this thesis isn't a negative, it's a positive.

If we're going complain about Clinton's acceptance of certain polarizing and triangulating tactics, we have to acknowledge that she learned these tactics in the midst of the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Perhaps her experiences no longer apply, but she's not wrong to have been effected by those experiences. Frankly, I like Obama's outlook more, but that's precisely because he's remained mostly untouched by the bitterness of the political losses of the nineties. Anyone who doesn't understand why an idealistic and intelligent woman like Clinton could become a bit more cynical about politics ought to read Bill Galston's 1989 essay The Politics of Evasion. (pdf) The Democratic party had become complacent with its Congressional bastion and its certainty that liberal politics were unstoppable if properly mobilized, and so they found themselves in 1989 unable to win back the presidency and threatened by a weakened Congressional majority. Bill Clinton stepped onto the stage after twelve years of presidential losses and shook things up, mostly by acknowledging that liberal fundamentalism couldn't win elections anymore, but then the party lost Congress to the Contract with America, and the rift between the party reformers, the DLC, and the party traditionalists, the DNC, divided the party's forces and allowed the Republicans to paint liberalism as socialism and Democrats as communists, using advice from none other than Saul Alinsky.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:06 AM on March 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wait - she did her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky - on her way to being valedictorian of her Seven Sisters college - and this is supposed to be somehow embarrassing???

Mad props for her. That's one of the best things I've heard about her. What kind of crazy country are we living in where writing about organizing communities is supposed to count against a political candidate? Organizing people to seek their own interests is supposed to be a BAD thing?!?

The Republicans have just outed themselves (...again...) as the anti-democratic (small 'd') scum that they are

I did not know that she had been President of Wellesley's College Republicans. Now that is embarrassing.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 11:44 AM on March 16, 2008


Where's GW Bush's thesis?
posted by growli at 2:48 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you ignore the silly charges of socialism that conservatives want to paint Clinton with

It's somewhat funny, from a non-American viewpoint, that one can be accused of socialism. But then again, the x trillion dollars the Iraq war costs must somehow not interfere with market forces in any way.
posted by ersatz at 5:09 PM on March 16, 2008


Where's GW Bush's thesis?

Dan Rather is all over that shit
posted by matteo at 11:07 AM on March 17, 2008


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