'Empathy' is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn't pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.
Alinsky's 1971 book, 'Rules for Radicals,' is a favorite of the Obamas. Michele Obama quoted it at the Democratic Convention. One Alinsky tactic is to 'Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.' That's what the White House did in targeting Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer.
I have become an adjective. There is something called a Rovian-style of campaigning and it's meant as an insult. One columnist said it consists mainly of throwing mud until it sticks. One prominent blogger described the elements of a textbook Rovian race as fear-based, smear-based and anything goes.