Sunday, September 7

Barack Obama - From Community Organizer to Out-Of-Touch Politician

Take this comment from Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe:
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies. - National Review
We will ignore for the moment that for some reason many 'failed policies' tend to be in areas of the country controlled by Democrat politicians..

So, what does a community organizer do?

Here is a summary of what Barack Obama did as a Community Organizer:

After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer for three years from June 1985 to May 1988 as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side. During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute. - Wikipedia
That sounds like a lot of money for what they got in return.  Oddly enough, one of his accomplishments just happened to be working as an instructor to train more community organizers.  That's not saying much. Reminds me of that old saying, those who cannot do, teach. But job training sounds like something a community organizer would organize if government policies failed to provide it.  Surely, that is the one activity most likely to get poor people a better chance of escaping poverty.  So surely, this is something Barack Obama fought for once becoming an Illinois State Legislator, right?

Here is a summary of what Barack did as an Illinois State Legislator:

Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures, and in 2003, Obama sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations. - Wikipedia

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority. During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the US Senate. - Wikipedia
If it was so important to set up job training in his community, then why didn't he try to enact job training for the whole state once he became a politician? Hell, there is nothing he did as a State Legislator (and even less as a US Senator, where he seems to mostly forget about the poor) that would help the poor find a path out of poverty. So if he couldn't do that at the state level, what makes anyone think he'll do it on a national level?

In Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the Democratic National Convention nomination for President, he derided the Republicans for telling people that it is up to themselves to work their way out of poverty:
For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well, it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America. - From Obama's acceptance Speech, posted at Politico
But nowhere in Obama's political history, other than as a community organizer, do I see him doing anything to help the poor get the tools (get the boots) to help themselves escape poverty. That is the main thing many of the poor need, along with a better work ethic and an increased mobility of this section of the workforce, in order to join the ranks of the middle class. As this recent study points out, people who earn more money, work harder. So telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps means making sacrifice, and working long hours. Most of the people who are doing well, are working lots of hours to get to where they are.
Since 1980, the number of men in the bottom fifth of the income ladder who work long hours (over 49 hours per week) has dropped by half, according to a study by the economists Peter Kuhn and Fernando Lozano. But among the top fifth of earners, long weeks have increased by 80 percent. - Outside the Beltway
Working is the best way to escape poverty.

Too bad Barack all too quickly forgot about his community organizer roots once he became a politician, quickly becoming out of touch until deciding to run for president.


Rich Work More than the ‘Working Class’ - Outside The Beltway


What Happened To The Democrat Party? - 22 May 2008

Found at Last of the Few:


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