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What A Community Organizer Thinks About Barack Obama & Sarah Palin

September 5, 2008

Today I am pleased to present the first post by the Countess! She writes:

I’ve been immensely entertained by the emails I’ve been receiving from the Democrat Party (yes, I’m on their email list) since Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention.  The Dems are, apparently, very upset about Giuliani’s and Palin’s mocking comments about Barack Obama’s community organizing experience.  The Dems understand these comments as “attacking ordinary people” (from the 9/4/08 email from  They write, “With the nation watching, the Republicans mocked, dismissed, and actually laughed out loud at Americans who engage in community service and organizing.”

Really?  I have a masters degree with a concentration in community development.  Community organizing is “my thing.”  And yet somehow I don’t feel insulted by Palin’s comments.  Why?  Because I’m not obtuse enough to think that she is devaluing what “everyday Americans” — or paid community development workers or missionaries or campaign volunteers — do.  She is highlighting the relative weakness of a resumé item that the Obama campaign has made a big deal about.  Barack and Michelle Obama have repeatedly mentioned Barack’s “sacrifice” in choosing to do community organizing (which he says he only did for 3 years).  I heard Michelle Obama say in one speech that no other candidate in this election had sacrificed so much as Obama had by doing this type of work.  I guess 5 years as a prisoner of war after being shot down while serving in your country’s armed forces doesn’t qualify.

As someone who has been around a lot of community organizing types, I can attest that we can often be a self-righteous bunch.  We are all about saving the world, right?  How dare someone make fun of THAT!  Well, when you think that your 3 years of community organizing (when, Lord knows, you could have been raking in the dough at some big law firm after your Ivy League degree) is a major qualification for you to be president, while maintaining that Sarah Palin’s executive experience as mayor of a small town and governor of Alaska do not qualify her to be VICE-president –- you deserve to be mocked.  Obama has been quick to point out that his community organizing stint was just one little resumé item, one which was followed by his (more impressive?) jobs, like working as a lawyer, teaching constitutional law, and being in the state legislature.  (My mom, by the way, was in the legislature in her state, and I think she managed to pull off a more impressive record there than Obama did during his term in Illinois!) And yet, he had obviously been emphasizing the community organizing so much in his own campaign that it was worth referencing in multiple Republican convention speeches — and everyone listening immediately understood the reference.

So, I suggest that Democrats stop whining about how the Republicans have mocked their candidate’s community organizing  and start worrying about how un-ready he is to be president.  Oh, wait – I guess they’re already worried, or they wouldn’t be whining in the first place.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. dennymajor permalink
    September 6, 2008 1:07 am

    Obama never said his years as a community organizer qualified him to be president. He said it had nothing to do with his qualifications, but helped show he is better in touch with the needs of normal people and people who need help. And he did make a “money” sacrifice. He was president of the Harvard Law Review – they usually go on to clerk for the Supreme Court. Or he could’ve taken a job at ANY law firm he wanted, but instead he chose to go to Chicago making $10,000 a year helping those people.

    I don’t think Palin really attacked community organizers, either – but Giuliani clearly mocked them. And everyone did laugh. So, I’d think it was reasonable for them to be upset. Palin just claimed they have no responsibility.

    Also, you must hold the VP up to the presidential standards. As McCain said: the only real quality he looks for in a VP is readiness to be president on day one. He obviously threw this standard out in Palin. (No, I don’t think executive experience means ANYTHING. Look at Bush – he had 6 years at governor. Not to mention, Palin basically hired someone to do her mayoral job for her. Even with this, I still think the “experience” issue is completely overrated. History shows that experience does not make you a better president.)

    So, sure. Democrats should stop “whining” about the community organizer ordeal. And Republicans can stop whining about the media being “mean” to Palin. How dare they scrutinize someone running for 2nd in command of the entire country?! They MUST be sexist. All while HIDING Palin from talking to anyone unless she has a script. Keeping her hidden away from press so she doesn’t say anything stupid and she can study up on foreign policy in the hopes of not sounding completely ignorant when facing Biden.

    Sorry. Long comment.

  2. September 6, 2008 10:13 am

    The corruption of the republican party (and to either party that has had power far too long), will continue unless more oversight is done. McCain’s top 6 contributors (and some of Obama’s contributors) are the finance industry, that through their own greed has created one of the worst economic times since the depression (and it hasn’t ended yet). The fact that the wealthiest 1% get tax cuts in a time of war means that my children will foot the bill.

    Please don’t believe the ‘economy is fundamentally sound’ crap. The vast majority of respected economists understand that the economic meltdown will continue, and that there is another credit crisis looming (the credit card one). Government has increased in size since the Bush admin started, it will continue to grow whoever gets into power.

    If the republicans are truly for this ‘holy’ war, then they should be asking for sacrifice from its country, including reinstating the draft. You have been suckered, congratulations. Your belief that the republican’s will fix the problems that they, themselves have created is misguided and irrational, and almost child-like in its faith. The liberals faith that Obama is going to heal the nation, is also irrational.

    Isn’t time that eveybody thought outside of the two party convention?

  3. September 6, 2008 2:53 pm

    Dennymajor- No need to apologize. Excellent comment, especially compared to some others I’m getting recently .

    McCain certainly opened himself up to criticism with his previous definition of what a good VP is. I would still rather have Palin be President than Obama though. Ultimately it comes down to values and character, and I consider Obama’s judgement on the war and foreign policy in general to be utterly wrong and naive.

    McCain has the judgment and character- and the experience to be President. I can see how others would believe differently given their values and priorities. Thanks for weighing in- I appreciate keeping on topic and being civil.

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