This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: During the campaign we learned that candidate Obama had internalized some of the lessons of the late great radical, Saul Alinsky, but in a new column, the National Review's Jim Geraghty argues that Mr. Obama is ruling the country according to Mr. Alinsky's radical rules.
He writes, quote, that "moderates thought they were electing a moderate. Liberals thought they were electing a liberal. Both camps were wrong. Ideology does not have the final say in Obama's decision-making. An Alinskyite's core principle is to take any action that expands his power and to avoid any action that risks his power."
The author of that column, Jim Geraghty, joins me now.
Jim, thanks for being with us.
JIM GERAGHTY, COLUMNIST, NATIONAL REVIEW: Sean, very glad to be here.
• Video: Watch Sean's interview
HANNITY: Ridicule, the — one of the biggest weapons in the Alinsky model. To ridicule your opponent. You see that aspect of it, because I think that's actually a key component in the tactics that are being used by Obama?
GERAGHTY: I would. I would point out that he often lets surrogates do it. We saw a little bit of his — Obama's attempted ridicule at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
But I think really, actually, he's got everything from "The Daily Show" to "The Colbert Report" to, you know, liberal bloggers, entertainers, Bill Maher. He kind of outsources that aspect of the Alinsky operation. So he can often seem above the fray. It's all very important, because seeming too snide or too hostile might actually minimize his power.
The object is to look, you know, like he's respectful and fine while the other side are doing what they can to beat his opponents over the head.
HANNITY: So pick the target, freeze the target, personalize it, polarize it, all of that stuff that he talks about. You know, but we did see it when Santelli and Robert Gibbs went after Santelli, they went after Jim Cramer. They went after Rush Limbaugh. At different times, they've gone after me by name, trying to demonize people. That is a big part of the model and maybe even silencing talk radio could be a part of that. No?
GERAGHTY: Oh, absolutely. Just one thing that's interesting is I think Jim Cramer was perhaps one of the most interesting examples, because Jim Cramer, generally I like him, but even, you know, just as a financial mind, not as a political guy. He only became an issue to the Jon Stewarts of the world once he started criticizing Obama.
Cramer has been doing his, you know, fired-up and easily mockable schtick for a long time.
HANNITY: And by the way, do that again.
HANNITY: Show me how — show me how you do that...
GERAGHTY: I know it's another network, but it's an often entertaining show. It's for those who find Glenn Beck too laid back and calm.
And so it's one of those things where I would say once you become a critic of Obama, it doesn't matter if you've praised him in the past, it doesn't matter if you were previously a friendly voice, you need to be tamped down. And even Obama doesn't do it. Other folks in his administration or other allies will do that.
HANNITY: All right. There is a photo of Obama in a classroom teaching students about Alinsky's methods. So who is Alinsky? Why don't you — because you've taken the time to investigate. Who is he?
GERAGHTY: I think he's best thought of as Obama's ideological grandfather. Alinsky died in 1972. It's not like he ever met Obama, but he had a great deal of influence on the Chicago community organizers who were kind of the mentors for Barack Obama during his key formative years as a young man. And it's a very interesting approach.
It is — the book I picked up, "Rules for Radicals." And I would just kind of point out that, for about 11 bucks, it was kind of the Rosetta Stone for Obama's decision making.
It kind of lays out that — that to a certain extent, it's almost Machiavellian. It basically says, yes, accumulate power. If you win, you one remembers how you've one, and then you can enact the changes you want.
HANNITY: All right. So — but no, go ahead. Finish your thought.
GERAGHTY: I was going to say that he almost kind of sneers at people who say they wouldn't compromise their principles and their pursuit of power and their pursuit of their goals. And he says, "Oh, you know, it must be really tough to tuck your angel wings under your covers when you go to bed at night."
So the message coming up from Alinsky when it comes to accumulating power is very clear.
HANNITY: So really for Obama, your analysis is that all of this for him, following the Alinsky model, is about power. So, in other words, if they want to dictate CEO pay, if they want to control or nationalize the banks, we know now they're going to — they're going to own GM as a result of this bankruptcy deal that we're talking about. They want to take over health care. They want to tell us what kind of cars to drive.
You're saying that they want to nationalize health care. They want to do all of this because it's government power?
GERAGHTY: It is, but I would note that it's not merely spending government power, it's about spending Obama's power. And that Obama will sacrifice his liberal allies if it will put him into a position less than his power.
The three basic examples that just come to find are gays who wanted to see an end to "don't ask, don't tell," and nothing has happened on that front. Armenian-Americans who wanted him to denounce Turkey for genocide back in the early part of the last century.
And I think another one probably would be those who kind of figured there would be sweeping changes in counterterrorism policy, rendition is sticking around and we're seeing continuing tribunals at Gitmo, now they're talk Gitmo may not be closed within a year, all of these things are being changed because Obama's not going to risk his popularity and his power just to placate people who are supposed to be his allies.
HANNITY: It almost seems like triangulation on speed, I mean when you think about it...
GERAGHTY: It's a good way of putting it, and I think to a certain extent Obama's goal — it makes him tougher to beat, but I would note this means it's not unbeatable. And to a certain extent, this is not a liberal ideologue. This is a very careful and strategic...
HANNITY: All right.
GERAGHTY: ... liberal ideologue. He's not going to make the easy mistakes with the military, the way Bill Clinton did.
HANNITY: But he does dramatically want to alter the American economy. He does have hard-core leftist views. And it's all about — while he's getting his power in the process, it's all about advancing those radical views, too. Correct or wrong?
GERAGHTY: No, you're right on this. I think one of the things that's most infuriating for those of us who don't often agree with President Obama, is to note how often he will do the exact opposite of what he's saying.
He talked about how much he doesn't want the government to run the auto industry. And for those of us there's a very simple way to avoid that, which is to not do it. But instead, he has the ever greater government role in running these American auto companies.
He keeps saying how he doesn't want to bail out Wall Street, and yet, you look at what Tim Geithner is doing in the extension of the TARP funds and how they don't want banks to give back the TARP money. He keeps doing the exact same thing. Acting one way and doing the precise opposite -– saying on thing and doing the opposite.
HANNITY: Thank you for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.
GERAGHTY: Any time, Sean.
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