11 April 2010

Remember when Sarah Palin popped off with this famous quip from the September 2008 Republican National Convention?

I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.

If I had hackles to raise, it woulda raised ‘em.  I was offended by her statement, demeaning and dismissive as it was, and not backed up by any real meat on her side of the argument either.  From what I hear, some mayors (and half-term governors) don’t take care of their actual responsibilities.  Of course, none of that Palin-intrigue had come out yet, at the rather dour Republican convention. Not long after the convention, I found this wonderful motivational creation:

community-organizer 

 

Some blithering-idiot talking points never die.  Today I read over at Salon.com that Sen. David Vitter, speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend, was spouting this same crap.

… Vitter strolled out to introduce former Sen. Rick Santorum — and to push back a bit against President Obama. "If that’s the choice in 2012, I’ll take a TV personality over a community organizer any day," he said.

TV personality? Whoever could he mean?

Presumably Sarah Palin, according to the punditry.  I have to admit, my mind went to Glenn Beck, but whatevah, and of course, The Media Creation Which Is Palin is the correct answer.

Steven Benen responded with a sentiment I can relate to.

… the snide, condescending denigration of community organizers among right-wing leaders got tiresome quite a while ago. Working with communities in a bottom-up model may seem worthless to the modern Republican Party, but community organizers deserve respect. ….

…. Community organizers tend to be all the more necessary when American families are crushed by the bankrupt governing philosophy of clowns like David Vitter.

If Republicans want to ignore this often-thankless work, fine. But let’s not pretend that community organizers deserve this kind of right-wing derision.

Benen also points out that the Community Organizer label the right sometimes sticks on Obama is not only not a negative, but it’s not the full picture either:

Obama worked for three years a community organizer — working with churches to create opportunities in economically depressed areas — more than two decades ago. He went on to become a lawyer, a professor, a state senator, and a U.S. senator, before seeking the presidency. A few too many on the right make it sound as if Obama went from being a community organizer to a national campaign. This overlooks nearly all of the man’s adult life

And I am struck by a weird pairing:  the Tea Partiers, Patriots and all such groups are supposedly built of those salt of earth, honest to God, down home real Americans.  Sounds grass roots to me, even if some of the push has come from major organizers like Dick Armey et al.  And isn’t community organizing, ya know, kind of a grass roots thing?  Aren’t these folks on the right wing, the tea partiers, making efforts to build a groundswell in local government and state government through taking over precinct groups, and electing adherents to that line of thinking to office?

What the hell do they think community organizing is?

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