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So this answers the "experience" gap? (Updated)
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ezra Klein thinks this answers the mail for last night's charges that there's really no comparison between what a mayor does and what a community organizer does.

He begins his post with:
Chris Hayes fires back on Giuliani and Palin's mockery of "community organizers":
Fires back?

So what is it that Hayes "fires back"?
But this kind of hits me where I live, since my dad is a community organizer, so lemme spell this out: the difference between a community organizer and a politician is that a community organizer can't tell anyone what to do. They have to listen.
Oh. So they don't do anything in particular but listen.

Yeah, mayors don't do that, do they?

OK, moving on:
So they can't order books banned from a library to indulge their own religious sensibilities. They can't fire someone because they didn't follow orders to fire an estranged family member. They can't ram through a $15 million dollar sports complex that leaves their local town groaning underneath the debt. Unlike politicians, they don't have any power other than the power of people who want to see something changed.
Got it. So as indicated last night, the job of mayor is a lot like a community organizer except, to quote Sarah Palin, a mayor has actual responsibilities, makes decisions and does stuff.

Wow.

Powerful argument.

I'm convinced.

To buttress this powerful argument, Klein enlists Adam Serwer who says:
But as my friend Jay Smooth points out, community organizers aren't just those rabble-rousers who help keep people from getting evicted or protest police brutality — they're basically the ordinary people across the political spectrum who to try hold government accountable to its citizens.
Ah. What others used to (and still do) call "activists". And how better to train up as an activist than to be schooled in Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals".

Whew ... McCain/Palin better drop this comparison. They just can't stand up against this powerful argument. Up against the background of an activist who really has no power, makes no decisions and mostly listens, they haven't a chance. Is it any wonder he voted "present" over 100 times in the Illinois state senate? It's a hard habit to break.

No wonder, given the daunting job responsibilities laid out by these two, that it's hard to find anything to criticize about Obama. How can one criticize the record of a person who has had no responsibilities, had no power, made no decisions and, frankly, done nothing - except perhaps listen?

And, as if Klein senses the fact that what he's presented is well on its way to being touted as the newest example for that which defines "lame", he resorts to race baiting:
But look, let's call a spade a spade: When Giuliani sneered about community organizers on the "South side" of Chicago, it's pretty clear what he was saying: Barack Obama spent his time rabble-rousing among black people.
Yeah, Ezra, that's surely what it means. After all it couldn't just be a statement of fact, could it?

Klein begins to sound more like Andrew Sullivan everyday.

UPDATE: Wow. David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager weighs in on the controversy and slams the hammer DOWN!
Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
Really? Seems Sarah Palin found an entirely different way to do that - she challenged them in the lair and drove 'em out. As we learned above, Obama most likely did little more than listen and commiserate.

UPDATE II: I love this dillweed. Unsurprisingly he's a poli-sci prof at a cow-flop college:
She mocks community organizing in Southside Chicago—but has she ever set foot in Chicago? She has no idea what it means to organize on the south side of Chicago—nor, I imagine, does her slickly sarcastic speechwriter.
My guess is, with this transparent attempt to change the subject, our prof. couldn't tell us what a community organizer does either. And he certainly has no idea what the particular one we're interested in did in Chicago - well except run for office.

UPDATE III: Oh, thank goodness. The other Klein - Joe - rides to the rescue with an article specifically entitled "What A Community Organizer Does". Unfortunately, after reading it a number of times, it doesn't live up to its billing.

Essentially, in Obama's case per Klein, it came down to a group of Catholic churches hiring Obama to help former employees of closed steel mills:
They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed—job training, help with housing and so forth—from the local government.
Apparently, according to Byron York who himself endeavored to find out what a community organizer was, Obama wasn't very successful with that part of his job. But he did have some successes:
But if you ask Obama’s fellow organizers what his most significant accomplishments were, they point to two ventures: the expansion of a city summer-job program for South Side teenagers and the removal of asbestos from one of the area’s oldest housing projects. Those, they say, were his biggest victories.
Well, there you go. Sign me up. This is at least the same level of experience a mayor has. Or governor. Easily. I mean, come on!

Joe Klein - finally reduced to the "she read someone else's speech" claim - is just aghast at Palin's temerity in denigrating "community organizers" after her job as mayor of Wasilla was denigrated every hour on the hour all week.
What a shameful performance.
No. The shameful performance is that of the in-the-tank media who don't know enough about their subject to explain it (despite the title). The same people who derided Palin's "inexperience" all week and then claimed she had no right to strike back at her detractors (after being called everything but "Governor" during that period).

That's a shameful performance.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"Klein begins to sound more like Andrew Sullivan everyday."
I would have put that the other way ’round, some time back.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Obama still is the better candidate ... for community organizer
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I don’t want to hear it. Anyone have an iota of doubt that if Obama hadn’t taken to calling Palin the "former mayor of a small town", that they wouldn’t have mocked the "community organizer" part so much (her and Rudy as well)

Payback is cold, as cold as Alaska.

And Obama has a chunk of his a## hanging on the Palin’s wall
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Community Organizer = Chicago Political Machine Hack

I noticed they didn’t bother to cite anything Obama actually accomplished during his two year (or thereabouts) tenure as a "community organizer." It’s a joke. I’m sure Obama’s heart was in the right place. I do trust he really listened to people who lost their jobs. But he didn’t do dick, nor was he required to. He bided his time until Emil Jones anointed him so he could get elected. Every step since has been toward moving another rung up the political ladder. The man’s a fluke and the Dems should be embarrassed this is the best they could do. Frankly, if he gets elected we should all be embarrassed.
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
Seriously, is that guy’s name really "Jay Smooth?"
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
The man’s a fluke and the Dems should be embarrassed this is the best they could do. Frankly, if he gets elected we should all be embarrassed.


Well, he is more qualified than Edwards. Although Edwards does have real accomplishments: he legally stole a whole lot of money from good doctors.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I ran into comment on a CNN posting ..
I guess The Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006, The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act, and The 2007 Government Ethics Bill are small potatos to someone of Palin’s qualifications.
There is a S. 2590:109th Coburn/Obama/Carper/McCin "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006’ which was signed by the President on 9/26/2006.

There is Feingold’s S.230 `Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act of 2007 ’ which Obama, Lieberman and Tester cosponsored which is in the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee.

As far as I can figure there is no Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act (but there is a S.198 Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 2007 which has been thru Foreign Relations and is now in Armed Services), but Obama did sponsor S.1977 Nuclear Weapons Threat Reduction Act of 2007 but it is still in the Foreign Relations Committee.

These last two might have stood a chance if Obama had actually attended Congress.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
He was busy gaining executive experience running his campaign.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Klein is one of the shallowest thinkers on the internet. He’s far more into sounding good and looking good than thinking well.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Oooo ... Maybe after he loses the election Obama can take Ralph Nader’s old job!
 
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
FrankJ at IMAO has a typically humourous and biting "discussion" of what exactly a "community organizer" is. This is part of it:
Q. What’s a community organizer?
A. It’s someone who organizes a community.

Q. And communities need organizing?
A. You think they organize themselves?

Q. I’ve lived in plenty of communities, and I don’t remember any organizers.
A. The best community organizers seek no credit.

Q. Barack Obama seeks credit.
A. And the even better ones seek lots of credit!

Q. I still don’t understand what a community organizer is supposed to do.
A. The important job of organizing the community.

Q. Like decide the layout plans of communities?
A. No. That’s the job of the city and the builders.

Q. So what is the community organizer organizing?
A. Not the buildings, but the actual community.

Q. To do what?
A. To be organized!

Q. Um... so does he alphabetize the community?
A. More often he uses color coding.

Q. And someone gets paid for this?
A. It’s a very important job.

Q. I still don’t understand what the hell it is.
A. Maybe that’s because it’s such a complex occupation.

:
:

http://www.imao.us/archives/010396.html
I think that this community organizer thing is a dead end for The Annointed One, because it leads to the obvious question, "Well, what exactly DID you do?" If all he can answer is, "I listened to people" or "I organized people", that’s going to get nothing but a laugh. As for Adam Serwer’s comments:
... community organizers aren’t just those rabble-rousers who help keep people from getting evicted or protest police brutality — they’re basically the ordinary people across the political spectrum who to try hold government accountable to its citizens.
I realize that lefties like to think that the police randomly beat innocent citizens just for the thrill of it and that eeeeeevil slum lords throw starving widows and orphans out into the cold, cold street every day, but I don’t think that these things are the experiences of most Americans. Further, if the left wants to set up The Annointed One as a sort of protector of the poor, people may start asking for details. The Annointed One’s image can’t stand too many specifics, because it rapidly becomes evident that his crusading and campaigning and organizing has been pretty much all for his own benefit.

BTW, does anybody know how much The Annointed One - who says openly that he is his brother’s keeper - gives to charity? I mean, did he ever give money to keep people from being evicted? Or does he simply use other people’s money to do his "keeping" and community organizing?
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
They must not have any community organizers in San Francisco or even in Nevada if their job is to deal with out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

Furthermore I have to wonder about the success of ’community organization’ in Chicago as well, in light of the recent stats on this summer’s shootings.
I was wondering if the Democrats might we willing to discuss withdrawal ’over-the-horizon’ to Milwaukee.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor.
 
Written By: dude08
URL: http://
protest police brutality
Such as, say, tasering an 11-year-old child?
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
Palin spoke last night about how her job as mayor was much like a "community organizer" but with responsibilities. Funny how the people of Wasilla forced her to hire an administrator to handle the day to day operation of the town or face a recall.

She took a town with $0 debt in 1996 and left it $22 million in the hole in 2002, mostly from the hockey rink/sports complex she shoved down their throats which never became the money generator she promised it would. Another white elephant from another white elephant.

Even with the stable Clinton economy during most of her mayoral tenure and Jack Abramoff’s crony she hired to lobby Washington to help her now indicted buddy Ted Stevens ring up $27 million in federal pork for tiny Wasilla (pop. 5000 when she entered office) she still managed to leave the town swimming in debt. Three of her pork projects even made McCain’s own wasteful spending list.

The following organization is the offshoot of President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control started in 1984, also known as the Grace Commission. Definitely not a Dem friendly group but even these guys apparently think Alaska is America’s welfare queen state.

Citizens Against Government Waste
http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homePage

Year Rank State Pork Population Pork/Capita
2000 1 Alaska $394,514,000 619,500 $636.83
2001 1 Alaska $480,297,000 626,932 $766.11
2002 1 Alaska $451,334,278 634,892 $710.88
2003 1 Alaska $393,346,750 643,786 $610.99
2004 1 Alaska $524,329,000 648,818 $808.13
2005 1 Alaska $645,502,000 655,435 $984.85
2006 1 Alaska $325,106,000 663,661 $489.87
2007 not listed
2008 1 Alaska $379,699,715 683,478 $555.54

As governor she is borrowing from Alaska’s future while she wants to blow today’s Alaskan windfall oil tax bonanza and the huge surpluses they’ve generated on bread and circuses tax giveaways.

Alaska gets 89% of it’s operating budget from taxing oil coming out of the ground just like Arab kingdoms and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. They have no state income or sales tax up there. Instead of using that windfall to pay for all the profligate spending her Republican legislature keeps sending her she’s issuing bonds to pay for it which Alaskans and US taxpayers will have to pay off in future years while she takes credit for tax "rebates" while she’s governor.

Her fiscal policy is a disaster in the making which won’t hit til she’s left the governor’s office. She’d be a disaster as Vice President especially to a President who despite his grevious wounds and type A personality is already past the age his father and grandfather died of sudden heart attacks.

She can put on all the lipstick she wants but her political record is for the dogs.
 
Written By: markg8
URL: http://
So what are you saying markg8? She should have run as a Democrat?

BTW, maybe you can help us - what does a community organizer do and how do you check his record?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"her" pork projects? I thought Federal spending bills were approved by Senators like Barak Obama and Joe Biden and Ted "Bridges are fun!" Stevens and John "I don’t like Pork!" McCain, not mayors from Alaska.

She can put on all the lipstick she wants but her political record is for the dogs.
Right, you prefer the guy who really HAS no record but carries an abundance of ’hopey changitude’ for one an all.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor.
I’m sure that’s meaningful, especially as it’s related to the Bible.
But we mustn’t blend church and state!

Let’s try this one out instead -
Lenin was a community organizer. Reagan was a governor.

Wanna play some more?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
markg8 is spamming. He hit neo-neocon with a similar post. Don’t expect him to read any replies or respond.
Year Rank State Pork Population Pork/Capita
2000 1 Alaska $394,514,000 619,500 $636.83
2001 1 Alaska $480,297,000 626,932 $766.11
2002 1 Alaska $451,334,278 634,892 $710.88
2003 1 Alaska $393,346,750 643,786 $610.99
2004 1 Alaska $524,329,000 648,818 $808.13
2005 1 Alaska $645,502,000 655,435 $984.85
2006 1 Alaska $325,106,000 663,661 $489.87
2007 not listed
2008 1 Alaska $379,699,715 683,478 $555.54
We already have data for 2008?

At least, it looks like things have improved since 2005.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Sure

MLK and Ghandi were community organizers.

George Wallace was a governor.

You wingnuts really want to play the game that the government guy is to be more trusted?

Ha ha ha ha
 
Written By: dude08
URL: http://
A quick google shows that markg8 hit at least two other sites as well.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
You wingnuts really want to play the game that the government guy is to be more trusted?
So, you want to trust the guy who’s friends with Bill Ayers?

I trust Palin. Her experience shows she is ready to be VP.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
MLK and Ghandi were community organizers.
And I know of no one who thought they were
the best available to lead their countries - do you?
George Wallace was a governor.
So was Orville Faubus and Lester Maddox - all Democrats by the way.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
So Obama was responding to the failed policies of the out-of-touch machine Democrats that run Chicago. Until he became one of them, of course.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net
MLK and Ghandi were community organizers.

George Wallace was a governor.

You wingnuts really want to play the game that the government guy is to be more trusted?

Ha ha ha ha
You’ve convinced me, dude08.

It’s such a crucial job, it seems a shame to waste O!’s talent in government, when he could be out helping people in the community instead.

So I’m going to vote McCain/Palin for President/VP, and vote Obama/Biden for Community Organizer/VCO!

 
Written By: dude09
URL: http://www.soros.org/about/careers
John McCain must be loving it. HIs Veep is beating up the top of the ’rats’ ticket and I all John has to sit back and watch. It is a losing proposition for the Messiah to get into an arguement witb the bottom of the ticket.

Then, BO should have realized that before he dismissed Sarah as a mere mayor. Alas poor Obama, we knew him well.
 
Written By: DavidL
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor.


And last night was the crucifixion.
 
Written By: Jim Treacher
URL: http://jimtreacher.com
Jesus was a community organizer
But the leftroots don’t believe in Jesus...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Look, I’m not crazy about the whole "social justice" industry of which community organizing is a sector, but, hey, many of us signed up for some goofy "idealistic" things when we were younger . . . thing is, when corporate executives apply for a CEO position, they don’t list on their resumes all the odd jobs they did as teenagers and young adults - grocery clerk, etc. They have more impressive and pertinent executive experience to highlight. Barack Obama simply hasn’t done enough yet to be able to drop the community organizer off resume. That’s really what Rudi was making fun of.
 
Written By: tom
URL: http://home.suddenlink.net/NGWhiteLabel/Sites/SUDN/login.aspx
What a crock of you know what, Bruce. Chris Hayes did not say community organizers have no power and don’t make decisions. He said they can’t tell anyone what to do and have no power beyond the power that all people have who want to make change.

The problem with Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rudolph Giuliani is that if it doesn’t involve either making millions, or invading other countries, dropping 2,000-pound bombs, and shooting people, or both, it’s not worth doing.

Case in point: Cindy McCain’s proudest moment: When she saw her son Jimmy strapping on his weapons, etc. Strapping on his weapons! That was her proudest moment?
 
Written By: Katy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
Look, I’m not crazy about the whole "social justice" industry of which community organizing is a sector, but, hey, many of us signed up for some goofy "idealistic" things when we were younger ...
Yeah, we called it "the Army". ’69. And no, I wasn’t drafted. And yes, McCain and I shared similar geography, although I was much further south than he was.

I also had responsibilities, had to make decisions and had to actually accomplish things.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
What a crock of you know what, Bruce. Chris Hayes did not say community organizers have no power and don’t make decisions. He said they can’t tell anyone what to do and have no power beyond the power that all people have who want to make change.
Then they had no power. So what import did their decisions have? If they had no power, what responsibilities did they assume?

Hayes said his father essentially listened.

Now Kathy, maybe for you, that’s all you need to crown Obama - but I expect a heck of a lot more from someone who seeks that office. He falls so short of my minimum that it is surprising to me he ever got as close as he’s gotten.

He is terrifyingly unqualified. Not just very unqualified. Not just slightly unqualified. But completely and totally unqualified. I’m not at all interested in entrusting that high office to him while he figures out how to make decisions, how to lead and how to actually make things happen instead of talking about them.

In a job that requires a positive answer to the questions "what have you run and what have you done", he stands mute.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Perhaps someone can answer a question. When I heard about this community organizer stuff a year ago I tried to find out who employed Obama to do this rather amorhous task. I am sure community organizing doesn’t generate income. Someone was providing him fish and loaves and directing him to do something specific. Does anyone know who - or what entity - that was?
 
Written By: GW
URL: http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com
Lefties:

Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor.

Jesus didn’t consider a baby "a burden", and neither, per recent events, does the Palin family.

Thanks for confirming Obama’s Messiah Complex:

Q: What’s the difference between Moses parting the waters
and Obama healing the planet?
A: Moses had help.

—furious

 
Written By: furious
URL: http://www.shanskvillememorial.com
markg8 is spamming. He hit neo-neocon with a similar post. Don’t expect him to read any replies or respond.

Year Rank State Pork Population Pork/Capita
2000 1 Alaska $394,514,000 619,500 $636.83
2001 1 Alaska $480,297,000 626,932 $766.11
2002 1 Alaska $451,334,278 634,892 $710.88
2003 1 Alaska $393,346,750 643,786 $610.99
2004 1 Alaska $524,329,000 648,818 $808.13
2005 1 Alaska $645,502,000 655,435 $984.85
2006 1 Alaska $325,106,000 663,661 $489.87
2007 not listed
2008 1 Alaska $379,699,715 683,478 $555.54

We already have data for 2008?

At least, it looks like things have improved since 2005.
He’s awesome. Take a closer look at his numbers. Palin was elected Dec 06. Look at 07. She cut pork in half! in a single year!
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Note that the "community organizers" were the disciples...

We have at least one clear description of the failure of Communism under optimal conditions. I refer, of course, to the Book of Acts, 4:32 - 5:11, Ananias and Sephira. NewLiving translation.

1. There is no doubt that they are practicing the economic system of communism:"All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had...There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them, and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need." From each according to his means, to each according to his need —- Marx would have been proud to call them brother.

2. They had as close to an incorruptible body of rulers as possible, who were proving their uprightness with miracles every day.

3. And they had pretty close to the ultimate Auditor; when Ananais and Sephira try to cheat the system, Peter knows about it instantly, and the punishment is swift and sure: the cheaters are struck dead on the spot.

And yet there were still cheaters, the apostles couldn’t hold it together for very long, and none of the other churches outside Jerusalem seem to have even tried it. If the 12 Apostles backed up by God couldn’t make communism work, how in the h*ll would any lesser mortals have a shot??
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Note that the "community organizers" were the disciples...
As someone else pointed out, the mafia are community organizers as well.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Apparently this is community organizing.
 
Written By: mishu
URL: http://
You wingnuts really want to play the game that the government guy is to be more trusted?
Government Guy? Government Guy?
Like....UNITED STATES SENATOR Barak Obama?
Like....UNITED STATES SENATOR for over 30 years....Joe Biden?

Yeah, let’s play some more.
I assume you TRUST those government guys, you twit.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Jesus wasn’t a "community organizer." He was a fundamentalist preacher, telling people to turn to God for eternal salvation or be damned to hell.

I’ll bet the Democrats would LOVE to support an Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian minister for President, wouldn’t they?
 
Written By: Bender
URL: http://
You wingnuts really want to play the game that the government guy is to be more trusted?
Wow...just wow.

The guy that argues government can’t be trusted is the one that supports Obama’s plan of government controlling everything.

Just boggles the mind.
 
Written By: darury
URL: http://
We’re electing a Jesus? Who knew?
 
Written By: S. Weasel
URL: http://sweasel.com
More of the same hypocrisy -

Women who vote left can be president, can manage a family and a career, can be ’government’ officials you can trust.
Men who vote left can have no experience and do the job just fine, can be ’government’ officials you can trust.

The right, not so much on any of the above, or really, any thing else for that matter, except oppressing the poor and skiving money off the pay checks of hard working, liberal voting Americans, all the while freezing the elderly and starving the children.

If hypocrisy actually generated pressure these people would have exploded rather violently a long time ago
Or
maybe it does, and they just fart idiotic statements out of their mouths a lot to compensate for the pressure build up.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’m pretty sure Obama was paid by ACORN. I’d look it up and cite, but that would require actual work. Still, I think I read it somewhere on the Internet so feel free to link Obama’s children with ACORN’s rampant vote fraud. Story at 11:00!
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
If "Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies"

Then why did Obama ever run for office? Doesn’t he consider himself to be an ordinary person?

Lets send him back to Chicago so he can better respond to the failed policies of Chicago.
 
Written By: Arizona
URL: http://
"But if you ask Obama’s fellow organizers what his most significant accomplishments were, they point to two ventures: the expansion of a city summer-job program for South Side teenagers ..."

Obama helped expand an existing program in a city that’s never seen a public program they didn’t like? Now that’s impressive.

"... and the removal of asbestos from one of the area’s oldest housing projects."

Every city in the country had/has a federally required asbestos abatement program. And I’ll bet this housing project is a federally assisted, and maybe a HUD, housing project. Those were required to be surveyed and put on a program for abatement. They didn’t need help except at the project public information meetings to hand our coffee and donuts.

 
Written By: Dusty
URL: http://
Case in point: Cindy McCain’s proudest moment: When she saw her son Jimmy strapping on his weapons, etc. Strapping on his weapons! That was her proudest moment?
Works for me.

The left has no concept of honor, do they?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
A little late to the party, but...

For anyone serious about community organizers in Chicago, they represent the third-best method of entry into the Chicago Combine (political machine). First is being related to a current office holder (the higher the better) by blood or marriage, viz. Gov Blagojevich, Auditor (or is it Comptroller?) Dan Hynes, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and the soon to be replacement for his father, State Senate President Emil Jones, son of Emil Jones.

Second is having a lot of money to spend, and spending it supporting the machine through campaign donations and hiring of the army of hangers-on to do-nothing jobs so they’re available for politicking and/or ’enforcement’. (Jon Corzine, who hails from Taylorville, IL learned this lesson well.)

Third is being a ’community organizer’ who organizes bunches of local ’citizens’ into a more cohesive cohort of whiners who may vote. When they whine a lot in public and get on tv, they’re called ’local community protesters’ and they give govt an excuse to spend money in ways that benefit the powers in the machine about 90+% and the ’local community protesters’ 10% or less. The protesters also provide votes (sometimes more than once) that help maintain the machine in power so they can continue to give the ’organized’ a few government crumbs.

Think of bread and circuses. The ’organized’ get the crumbs or bread, and the protests get videoed and shown on tv for the circuses.

The ’community organizer’ makes his bones and becomes part of the machine. Emil Jones saw Obama early and said, "watch me make a Senator."

You can’t dive into the cess pool and come out clean.
 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
What I loved was where it was quoted:

But as my friend Jay Smooth points out, community organizers aren’t just those rabble-rousers who help keep people from getting evicted or protest police brutality — they’re basically the ordinary people across the political spectrum who to try hold government accountable to its citizens. [emphasis added]

So an important part of this is keeping people from getting evicted — no matter how far they’re behind on their rent — and protesting police brutality — whether it actually exists or not?

Exactly what social good is attained through either of these activities?

 
Written By: cthulhu
URL: http://
Obama should have simply responded "Community Orginizers do the same thing the judge will make you do when you get caught uriniating in public."

Would have made this so much easier to understand.
 
Written By: Jerry
URL: http://
Then they had no power.

So then you are saying that Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, ordinary people who make phone calls and write letters to the editor, residents of neighborhoods and communities all across the nation who get specific conditions changed, have no power.

Obviously, you’re wrong.
 
Written By: Katy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
The left has no concept of honor, do they?

I don’t regard killing people who have done nothing to harm me as honorable.

And no, I’m not directing that belief to the soldier with the weapons. I’m directing it at the men who send the soldiers to the places where they use those weapons, in the absence of a compelling need to do so.

 
Written By: Katy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
The left has no concept of honor, do they?
I don’t regard killing people who have done nothing to harm me as honorable
.

Key word in your sentence "me".
The world is a bigger place than "you".



 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Katy - So then you are saying that Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, ordinary people who make phone calls and write letters to the editor, residents of neighborhoods and communities all across the nation who get specific conditions changed, have no power.

No, they don’t. That’s why they make phone calls and write letters... to get the attention of people who DO have power to get THEM to have specific conditions changed. If the people who have power decide to ignore all those phone calls and letters to the editor, then the conditions will not be changed.

Had presidents starting with Truman and going through Ike, JFK and Johnson not had sympathy for blacks who wanted equal rights and used their presidential power to see to it that the laws were changed and upheld, then the sit-ins at Woolworth and the march to Selma and the "I have a dream speeches" wouldn’t have done much of anything. The only power that Rev. Dr. King and other civil rights leaders and organizers had was the power of persuasion. Ask how much that power would have been worth fifty or even twenty-five years previously. Actually, you don’t have too, because history books will tell you. Rev. Dr. King was hardly the first black man to try to get conditions improved for black Americans; his predecessors, all of whom were as passionate as he and many of whom as intelligent and eloquent, got nowhere because they had no power and nobody who DID have power was interested in helping them. Ask how much power Ghandi would have had if the British had been more brutal and met his peaceful protests with machinegun fire. Ask yourself how much power the Hungarians had in 1956, or how much power the Czechs had in 1968, or how much power the Chinese protesters had at Tienemen Square. Ask yourself how much power slaves had in the South 200 years ago. Then ask yourself if you have a better understanding of what power actually is.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
Key word in your sentence "me".
The world is a bigger place than "you".


That is true. And it’s a bigger place than you, too. And if more people actually realized that they can speak only for themselves, the world would be a much better place.
 
Written By: Katy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
No, they don’t. That’s why they make phone calls and write letters... to get the attention of people who DO have power to get THEM to have specific conditions changed.

Yes. I believe that’s called "democracy." As I understand it, a democracy, or a democratic republic, IF you will, derives its power from the consent of the people. Leastways, that is what one of our founding documents says. That kind of power is not the same kind of power as the raw, physical power slaveowners had over their human property, but it IS still power, and in my view far preferable to the other kind.

Had presidents starting with Truman and going through Ike, JFK and Johnson not had sympathy for blacks who wanted equal rights and used their presidential power to see to it that the laws were changed and upheld, then the sit-ins at Woolworth and the march to Selma and the "I have a dream speeches" wouldn’t have done much of anything. The only power that Rev. Dr. King and other civil rights leaders and organizers had was the power of persuasion.

It’s not about sympathy at all. Presumably, JFK and LBJ were sympathetic, in theory, to the concept of equal rights for black people before the civil rights movement. But if black Americans and white Americans, too, had not demonstrated and sat in and boycotted and put their bodies in front of the dogs and the fire hoses, that sympathy would not have translated into action.

It wasn’t sympathy that got blacks in Montgomery the right they should have had all along to sit in any empty seat in the bus they wanted. It was months and months and months of refusing to ride the buses. Power gives up nothing without a demand. Frederick Douglass said it first, and it’s still true.

Ask how much power Ghandi would have had if the British had been more brutal and met his peaceful protests with machinegun fire. Ask yourself how much power the Hungarians had in 1956, or how much power the Czechs had in 1968, or how much power the Chinese protesters had at Tienemen Square. Ask yourself how much power slaves had in the South 200 years ago. Then ask yourself if you have a better understanding of what power actually is.

The brute power of force and terror is obviously one kind of power. It’s not the only kind. But it seems to be the kind you believe in.
 
Written By: Katy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
And if more people actually realized that they can speak only for themselves, the world would be a much better place.

Then what’s the point of community organizers?
 
Written By: SteveInHouston
URL: http://
Katy - The brute power of force and terror is obviously one kind of power. It’s not the only kind. But it seems to be the kind you believe in.

Naturally. After all, I am a Republican who gets off on killing people (or having them killed) even though they haven’t done anything to ME personally.

/ sarc

You seem to be confusing "power" with "influence". Power is the ability to have something done by command. "I tell this one, ’Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ’Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ’Do this,’ and he does it." The basis of ALL power is force, broadly defined (borrowing from Orwell) as the ability to make another person suffer. If you disobey your boss, he exerts power and makes you suffer by taking away your pay and benefits. If you disobey the laws made by society, society exerts power and makes you suffer by fining you, putting you in jail, or ultimately taking your life. Influence, in contast, is merely the abilty to persuade people with power to use it. It can obviously be a potent, but don’t confuse it with power.

People like Rev. Dr. King had no power. They could merely try to influence people who DID have power to use it on their behalf. Protests did not end Jim Crow in the South: the Army and the FBI ended Jim Crow in the South. You’re right in that Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson would probably not have exerted the power of the federal government on behalf of black Americans without being influenced by protesters and civil rights leaders, but don’t kid yourself that power and influence are the same.

Katy - ... if more people actually realized that they can speak only for themselves, the world would be a much better place.

Yes, I often feel like shouting, "Speak for yourself!" when I listen to politicians speak for other people, especially when they talk about doing things that I don’t want such as raising my taxes, surrendering in Iraq, giving away tax money to people or organizations that I don’t support, etc, etc.

O’ course, if we DIDN’T have people who speak for other people, we wouldn’t have a republic, would we?
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
You seem to be confusing "power" with "influence". Power is the ability to have something done by command.

I understand that. I am arguing that what you call "influence" is power, too. It’s a different kind of power.

The power of command is negative. It gets things done through force, through the threat of punishment or harm.

It should be obvious that there is a place and a need for this kind of power. But it’s just as obvious that this kind of power has its limits in what it can accomplish.

Community organizing is not only the drive behind historic social movements like civil rights or women’s suffrage. It’s also something that happens every day, in hundreds, or thousands, of places in this country, to get things done on a local level, and/or when the powers that be refuse to do what needs to be done, or simply don’t care.

I’ll stick my neck out and say that every worthwhile social or political change in human society starts with community or grassroots organizing. Change does not happen by itself, or by command.

Example: Asbestos removal. Yes, there are laws and regulations. Do you think that means the laws and regulations are always scrupulously followed? Ordinary people have to fight every single day, individually and through grassroots organizing, to get asbestos removed from their homes, to stop the use of lead-based paint in their homes, etc., etc. Especially in poor neighborhoods. Because sometimes government officials just don’t do what the law says they’re supposed to do, when it comes to low-income neighborhoods. Why is that? Because poor people have no power! But when they organize in their communities, they do have power! Wow, cool how that works, right?

How about job training programs, voter registration drives, getting stop signs or left turn arrows at dangerous intersections, street repair, street lights or lack of, discriminatory hiring practices at local employers, etc.? You think the power of command is going to get elderly shut-ins to the polls?

Or how about parents who don’t want their child’s name, age, address, and phone number automatically given out to military recruiters, without their permission? Do you think mandatory opt-in policies happen because the U.S. Armed Forces decides that’s the right way to go?

The power of command has its place, but so does community organizing. And there is no need to denigrate community organizers or diminish the value and importance of the work they do in order to make the point that coercive power is also necessary and important.

 
Written By: Katy
URL: http://libertystreet.wordpress.com
I didn’t say that community organizing doesn’t have its place. But I don’t make the mistake of confusing influence with power... or thinking that an "organizer" who "listens" has comparable experience to somebody who has actually been in a position of actual authority and wielded real power.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
This tit-for-tat is what happens when the Newspeak starts to take over. Influence is influence. Power is power. They are not the same thing, they are different things.

Now influence sometimes counts for more than power, because influence allows one to change things whilst keeping one’s hands clean. Influence speaks to power. Used rightly, influence can make things better. Used wrongly, influence becomes the main commodity of that red-light district known as Washington D.C.

Power sometimes counts for more than influence, because power can occasionally ignore influence. Used rightly, power can fix disasters, crush rebellions, build cathedrals. Used wrongly, power can build a pyramid of human skulls.

Influence is not a "kind" of power. Often it is a substitute for it.

Note that Obama began his campaign as a "post-partisan" candidate who wanted the end of "business as usual" in Washington (which is to say, the trading of influence). In other words, he’s had his fill of influence, and now wants power, that he may ignore influence and "get things done."
 
Written By: Andrew the Noisy
URL: http://

 
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