As stacks of books and articles written over the last three-quarters of a century note, Saul Alinsky was called a "radical" by many - including himself in his two most famous books, Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971).
The more simple truth was that Alinsky was a community organizer from Chicago - a surface comparison that Michael Miner of The Chicago Reader points out that right-wing extremists have latched onto. "All Gingrich cares to know about Alinsky—ditto the wing of the Republican Party that adores him," Miner writes, "is that Alinsky was a community organizer in Chicago, and later so was Barack Obama."
Psychologist Drew Westen made it clear in the LA Times that Gingrich is likely using the label "radical" and the foreign or Jewish sounding name of "Alinsky" as yet another political dog whistle - and Alinsky's own son agrees.
As David Alinsky said, Gingrich's attempts to tie President Obama to his father are clear: "to set him up as a sort of Willy Horton/swift boat kind of individual, some boogieman, some scary thing that goes bump in the night, that'll rape your daughter and eat your children."
The true history is very clear: Alinsky was no scary boogeyman. Alinsky may even have been closer to a Tea Party or Occupy member in his political activism.
Alinsky was the kind of outsider that Newt Gingrich - the longtime Washington, DC insider - wishes he was, but hasn't been for over a quarter century.