'Community Organizer' Slams Attract Support for Obama.
ST. PAUL — Some of the loudest roars at the Republican convention this week came when vice presidential pick Sarah Palin and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani made fun of Democrat Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer. Hours later, the Obama campaign started raising money off the jokes.
"They insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process," campaign manager David Plouffe wrote Thursday in an early-morning fundraising e-mail. "Let's clarify something for them right now. Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies."
It is also how the likes of the Rev. Al Sharpton and groups like ACORN attempt to shake down "the man" for their share of the political pie.
There are community organizers and then there are community exploiters, poverty pimps, political agitators and race hustlers.
ACORN, one of the biggest organizations of "community organizers" in the country, is well-known for its cavalier attitude toward election laws. Its voter registration drives are infamous for including phony names, dead people, and the like. "Getting Democrats Elected By Any Means Necessary" could be their motto.
At the GOP convention Rudy Guiliani and Sarah Palin mocked and attempted to include Barack Obama as among their ilk.
Certainly, he has moved on to bigger and better gigs, while Rev. Al, Jesse Jackson and other less famous and more selfless COs stayed in their communities to do God's work.
Lawrence gives leaders of the CO movement plenty of room to describe their good and important deeds. But the idea of a backlash hurting the McCain-Palin ticket is left-wing wishful thinking.
It is the Obama campaign and its supporters that went after and mocked Palin for being nothing but a small town mayor (conveniently ignoring that she is the very popular governor of one of the biggest states in the union.)
When Palin and the Republicans hit back, they caught Obama flush on the chin.
The political fact is the constituency that Obama must win over to win the election is white, middle-class women. And they are among the groups not impressed with the work that "community organizers" have done in America's cities mainly because urban communities look more dysfunctional and disorganized than ever.
The problems in America's cities aren't caused because communities are being unfairly deprived of social programs and other people's money. The problems (crime, addiction, one-parent and no-parent families, gangs) are cultural and there is nothing harder than changing a dysfunctional culture. Guys like Bill Cosby get it. Guys like Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright don't.
There are many inner-city community servants, who truly do the daily work of trying to help the addicted and comfort the afflicted. Others try to educate kids in God-awful public schools that teachers union refuse to allow to be reformed. And still others help their less-able neighbors shop, pay bills, and try to protect them from the predators that lurk their streets.
But we have seen too many ambitious self-promoting frauds and shake-down artists come out of the CO tradition to be impressed by seeing that on anybody's resume.
Obama isn't attracting more support because of Palin and Guiliani's bashing of (for want of a better term) the community organizer community, he already had that support in droves.
The Republican counter-attack against the Obama campaign and its clumsy, condescending mockery of small-town America has been nothing short of brilliant.