In a 1993 interview with The Washington Post, about the time the Clinton health care plan was being formulated and the thesis was being sealed, the first lady characterized her college writing as an argument against big government, supporting Alinsky's criticism of the War on Poverty programs. “I basically argued that he was right,” she told the newspaper. “Even at that early stage I was against all these people who come up with these big government programs that were more supportive of bureaucracies than actually helpful to people. You know, I've been on this kick for 25 years.”
Despite the titles of his books, Alinsky was a reformer, not a revolutionary. During the 1960s, Alinsky was particularly scornful of the student New Left and the campus anti-war movement. He believed that they relied too much on protests, demonstrations, and media celebrities, and did not understand the importance of building organizations. He also considered their rhetoric silly, utopian, dogmatic, and alienating to their potential working-class base. He was fond of quoting James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Paine. He considered himself a patriotic American.
Schecter also confirms Donnie Radcliffe’s belief that Hillary turned Alinsky down because her senior thesis convinced her that his methods were not “large” enough. She believed, according to Schecter’s interpretation of the thesis, that Alinsky’s tactics and strategies were useful at the local level, but that even if an activist were successful in local organizing, systemic policy matters on the national level would prevent actual power from going to people. She chose to work at the macro-level of law rather than the micro-level of community because of this analysis. Many Alinsky disciples acknowledge that this is a serious and frequent argument made against him.