Saul Alinsky established the ground rules for modern-day liberal "community organizing" during the culturally explosive 1960s and early 1970s, and one of his most engaged students was Hillary Clinton.
The Alinsky-Clinton connection has been a popular target of conservative commentators for years, ever since her senior thesis at Wellesley College was made public. That she looked up to the man who in large part converted her from the "Goldwater Republican" of her youth into the liberal-socialist-progressive we know today is now well-documented.
But with it increasingly likely she will be the Democratic presidential nominee for the November general election, it is important to note her adoration for Alinsky went much further than a simple mentorship relationship. in 2014, the Washington Free Beacon obtained copies of previously unpublished correspondence between Clinton and Alinsky.
The two had remained in correspondence even after she moved on the Yale Law School, and he had advised her on organizing campus activism. But on July 8, 1971, the then-23-year-old Clinton—who was living in Berkeley, Calif., and interning at a left-wing law firm—penned a letter to Alinsky that paints their relationship in an entirely new light.
"When is that new book (Rules for Radicals) coming out—or has it come and I somehow missed the fulfillment of Revelation?" she wrote, referring to him simply as "Saul" in her letter. Her letter reached the Chicago-based organizer while he was on a trip to China, but his personal secretary, Georgia Harper, penned a quick reply.
"Since I know (Alinsky's) feelings about you I took the liberty of opening your letter because I didn't want something urgent to wait for two weeks," she wrote. "And I'm glad I did."
Clinton's curious turn of phrase—"fulfillment of Revelation"—takes a more sinister connotation when applied to the context of Alinsky's dedication to Rules for Radicals. It was his last book, and the culmination of his life's work, published less than two years before he died.
"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 least won his own kingdom—Lucifer."
The next year, in one of his final interviews, he said, "Hell would be heaven for me."