How bad are things in the Republican Party? In a new USA Today poll, 52 percent of respondents, when asked to name “the main person” who speaks for the GOP, couldn’t come up with an answer. For those who could answer, Rush Limbaugh was the first choice with 13 percent, followed by Dick Cheney, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, and George W. Bush. Does that mean a Limbaugh-Cheney ticket in 2012?
Posts Tagged ‘GOP
The decline and fall of the Republican Party in recent years has been so widespread that the party has lost support among nearly every major demographic subgroup of likely voters across the country, according to a new Gallup poll.
The party lost support among a broad swath of Americans, from conservative to liberal, low-income to high-income, married to unmarried, and elderly to young.
The only subgroup in which the party saw a slight increase in support from 2001 to 2009 was frequent churchgoers.
The biggest declines, of roughly 10 percent, occurred among the college-educated, 18 to 29-year-olds, and Midwestern voters.
The turning point was 2005, after Hurricane Katrina and Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, when the party’s support really started to free-fall, according to Gallup: “By the end of 2008, the party had its worst positioning against the Democrats in nearly two decades.”
Steve Schmidt, a key architect of John McCain’s presidential campaign, is making his first public return to Washington a bold one.
Schmidt will use a speech Friday to Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, to urge conservative Republicans to drop their opposition to same-sex marriage, CNN has learned.
“There is a sound conservative argument to be made for same-sex marriage,” Schmidt will say, according to speech excerpts obtained by CNN. “I believe conservatives, more than liberals, insist that rights come with responsibilities. No other exercise of one’s liberty comes with greater responsibilities than marriage.”
Schmidt makes both policy and political arguments for a Republican embrace of same-sex marriage.
On the policy front, Schmidt likens the fight for gay rights to civil rights and women’s rights, and he admonishes conservatives who argue for the protection of the unborn as a God-given right, but against protections for same-sex couples.
“It cannot be argued that marriage between people of the same sex is un American or threatens the rights of others,” he says in the speech. “On the contrary, it seems to me that denying two consenting adults of the same sex the right to form a lawful union that is protected and respected by the state denies them two of the most basic natural rights affirmed in the preamble of our Declaration of Independence — liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“That, I believe, gives the argument of same sex marriage proponents its moral force,” Schmidt will say.
Politically, he will say that becoming more open and accepting is critical to reversing an alarming trend for Republicans — a shrinking coalition. He will note that Republicans should be especially concerned that McCain got crushed by Barack Obama among voters under 30, who are generally more accepting of gay couples and at odds with the GOP.
“Some Republicans believe the period of self-examination within the party necessitated by the loss of our majority status is mostly a question of whether the party should become more moderate or conservative. I think that’s a false choice. We need to grow our coalition, but as I said, that’s hard to do if we lose some votes while gaining others,” says Schmidt.
Schmidt had previously expressed his personal support for gay marriage. Last month, he told the Washington Blade newspaper that he is in favor of legalizing it and that he voted against California’s Proposition 8, which overturned a court ruling that had legalized the unions in that state.
I’m gonna be real with you….he may have grown up on a farm, he may live in Illinois, and he may be Republican, he may completely lack substance and mental capacity, but Aaron is FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNEEEE! If the GOP wants to retool their brand, I’m giving them the keys of the kingdom right here…go with this guy….he is golden!
Last month, the McCain campaign accused Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) of being “disrespectful” and sexist for calling Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) “attractive.” Will it similarly slam National Review’s Rich Lowry, who praised Palin’s sex appeal to male viewers?
I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.
Last night, Fox’s Brit Hume declared Palin “physically attractive,” adding to the many conservatives who have fawned over her physical appearance.
Tags: AIG, Barack Obama, big government, cindy mccain, Citibank, dick cheney, earmarks, economic bailout, economic crisis, franklin d. roosevelt, George W. Bush, golman sachs, GOP, guantanamo, herbert hoover, illegal wiretapping, jeb bush, john mccain, katrina, lehman brothers, merill lynch, norquist, ronald reagan, torture, Wachovia, Wall street, wamu, wells fargo
Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural address, famously declared that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
Twenty-seven years later, in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and seven-plus years into the reign of Bush and Cheney, Reagan’s anti-government battle cry should be on trial. But, stunningly, it is not.
This needs to change. The presidential candidates’ view of the role of government should be one of the central questions of the last 36 days of the campaign. And it should definitely be a question they are asked at their next debate:
“Sen. McCain, given the part deregulation played in the current economic crisis and your support of a massive government bailout of the financial industry, are you now ready to break with Ronald Reagan’s assessment?”
And, to be even handed: “Sen. Obama, in 1996, Bill Clinton cheerfully announced that ‘the era of big government is over.’ As the Dow plummets and Wall Street and Main Street turn to Washington for big government bailouts, are you now ready to break with President Clinton’s assessment?”
The shift in my own thinking on the role of government was what led to my disillusionment with the Republican Party, and the transformation in my political views. I’ve always been progressive on social issues: pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights — even when I was a Republican. The big difference is that I once believed the private sector would address America’s social problems. But the hope that people would roll up their sleeves and solve this country’s social ills without the help of government was never fully realized. There were never enough volunteers or donations — and the problems were just too massive and intractable to tackle without the raw power of appropriations that only government can provide.
Our economy is not the only thing that is crumbling. So is the philosophical foundation of the modern Republican Party — also known as the Leave Us Alone Coalition, led by its spiritual guru, Grover Norquist. His dream of making government so small “we can drown it in a bathtub” has been embraced by the GOP mainstream.
Indeed, during his 2003 inauguration, Jeb Bush stood in front of Florida’s capitol building and said: “there would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers; silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”
I sadly suspect that Jeb and Grover and their Republican compatriots have not yet updated their views of government — they have not yet made the connection between demonizing government and looking to it to save the day.
The financial meltdown has put the Grand Old Party’s schizophrenia on full display. But why are so many in the media, the Democratic Party, and the Obama campaign averting their eyes from the spectacle of a party that wants to drown government until they need it to bail out Wall Street or AIG — that wants to vanquish government workers, unless they are listening in on our phone conversations or working hard rolling back government regulations?
It’s like the story, probably apocryphal, of the agitated — and obviously confused — senior citizen imploring a GOP politician not to “let the government get its hands on Medicare.”
With the madness of this contradictory mindset exposed, voters will have a chance to decide if they agree with Norquist and Jeb and W and Cheney and the Republican Messiah himself, Ronald Reagan and, yes, with John McCain. And even Cindy McCain who, in her otherwise bland convention speech, called for “the Federal government” to “get itself under control and out of our way.”
A staggering 83 percent of Americans believe that we are heading in the wrong direction. And, I’m sorry, Sen. McCain, I don’t think it’s because of too many earmarks or because $3 million was spent in 2003 to study bear DNA in Montana.
Size matters in some things, but when it comes to government, it’s not the size of the government, it’s the way it is utilized.
“Big government” didn’t get us into Iraq. It didn’t spy on Americans or open black op rendition facilities all over the world. “Big government” didn’t create Guantanamo or okay the use of torture. “Big government” didn’t leave the residents of New Orleans to suffer in the wake of Katrina. “Big government” didn’t cause the financial industry to run off the rails. Indeed, the free market is what created all the new, risky ways for banks to game the system and, eventually, implode — then come calling on “big government” to ride to the rescue.
So let’s hear what McCain and Obama think the fundamental role of government should be. I can think of no better way to underline the massive gulf between the two candidates — and the two parties they represent — at the very moment when McCain is so desperately trying to blur the differences (see his recent shopping spree at the second-hand populism store: “Big discounts on ‘fat cats’ and ‘Wall Street greed’!”)
Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig says that if Americans recognize that the financial crisis — and the need for a government bailout — is due to “policies McCain still promotes… this could well be the event that effected a generational shift in governmental attitudes. Think Hoover vs. (the eventual) FDR.”
But if we want to make sure that Americans make that connection, we need to put the question of the role of government front and center in the campaign. Economic policy and foreign policy and domestic policy are all important areas of debate. But before we continue looking at the (falling) trees, let’s take a step back and consider the forest.
Let me hedge my bet.
Maybe, at the vice presidential debate, the talking points Sarah Palin’s handlers have been stuffing her head with will come out of her mouth so butchered that even Republican voters will say, like Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, “The horror, the horror.”
Or maybe, at one of the remaining presidential debates, a contemptuously smirking John McCain will finally become so enraged by having to share a stage with Barack Obama that he will pop his notorious cork right there in front of a hundred million Americans.
Or maybe Obama or Biden will goof or gaffe or otherwise give such a bloody bit of chum to the media sharks that the gazillionth replay of the the sound bite will drive every swing voter in the country away from them.
But I don’t think so.
Sure, cable yakkers will declare after each debate who won on points, and who on body language; who played Nixon, and who played Kennedy; who won their focus groups of undecideds, and who flatlined with them. But my guess is that the prestige press headlines will continue to play it safe, as they did after the first debate — “Candidates clash” (New York Times), “differ sharply” (Los Angeles Times), “quarrel” (Washington Post) — and that on television, it will be concluded that no one delivered a knockout blow, which will require audiences to remain in suspense, and therefore to keep tuning in, until the photo-finish.
This election won’t be won or lost at the debates. Nor will it be determined by the two campaigns’ “ground games” — their get-out-the-vote efforts. Nor, unfortunately, will its outcome even depend on how many Americans wake up on Election Day intending to vote for one candidate or the other.
Instead, my fear is that the Electoral College results will hang on the swing state voting systems’ vulnerability to sabotage.
It’s already happening.
In El Paso County, Colorado, the county clerk — a delegate to the Republican National Convention — told out-of-state undergraduates at Colorado College, falsely, that they couldn’t vote in Colorado if their parents claim them as dependents on their taxes.
In Montgomery County, Virginia, the county registrar issued a press release warning out-of-state college students, falsely, that if they register to vote in Virginia, they won’t be eligible for coverage under their parents’ health and car insurance, and that “if you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding.”
In Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, Democratic voters received a mailing containing tear-out requests for absentee ballots addressed to the clerk in Caledonia — the wrong location. In Middleton, Wisconsin, Democratic voters received absentee ballot requests addressed to the clerk in Madison — the wrong address. Both mailers were sent by the McCain campaign.
Florida, Michigan and Ohio have some of the country’s highest foreclosure rates. “Because many homeowners in foreclosure are black or poor,” says the New York Times, “and are considered probable Democratic voters in many areas, the issue has begun to have political ramifications.” If you’re one of the million Americans who lost a home through foreclosure, and if you didn’t file a change of address with your election board, you’re a sitting duck for an Election Day challenge by a partisan poll watcher holding a public list of foreclosed homes. In states like New Mexico and Iowa, the number of foreclosures is greater than the number of votes by which George W. Bush carried the state in 2004.
In the 2006 election, according to the nonpartisan Fair Elections Legal Network, black voters in Virginia got computer-generated phone calls from a bogus “Virginia Election Commission” telling them that they could be arrested if they went to the wrong polling place; in Maryland, out-of-state leafleters gave phony Democratic sample ballots to black voters with the names of Republican candidates checked in red; in New Mexico, Democratic voters got personal phone calls from out of state that directed them to the wrong polling place. Does anyone think this won’t be tried again in 2008?
The reason behind Alberto Gonzales’ attempted purge of US Attorneys was that some of them wouldn’t knuckle under to Karl Rove’s plan to concoct an “election fraud” hoax that would put Republicans in control of the nation’s voting lists. “We have, as you know, an enormous and growing problem with elections in certain parts of America today,” Rove falsely told the Republican National Lawyers Association, an evidence-less problem crying out for a draconian solution. Does anyone think that Rove’s move from the White House to Fox has dampened Republican ardor for this ruse?
And if all of that doesn’t alarm you, consider the new report on electronic voting systems [pdf] from the Computer Security Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which concluded that “all voting systems recently analyzed by independent security testers have been found to contain fatal security flaws that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the voting process…. Unless electronic voting systems are held up to standards that are commensurate with the criticality of the tasks they have to perform, the very core of our democracy is in danger.”
And did I mention that on Election Day, some polling places in minority precincts in battleground states will be shocked, simply shocked, to discover that so many people want to vote that it will take hours of standing in line to vote. That is, of course, unless they run of out ballots.
So while the presidential and vice presidential debates may make for swell political theater, the likelihood is that victory will be determined not by how the debates move a small percentage of undecided Americans off the fence, but by the voting experiences of a few thousand voters in a few swing states on November 4. Josef Stalin is reputed to have said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” I think he had it half right. Those who decide who cast the votes also decide everything.
If the party was looking for leadership, it did not find it in its presidential nominee. Sen. John McCain, who on Wednesday said he was leaving the campaign trail to help steer a bailout proposal, may have just exacerbated the problems.
His arrival on Capitol Hill came shortly after the initial compromise was announced. And his presence at a White House meeting later in the day produced more confusion than results. Shortly after McCain convened with the president, Sen. Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Paulson and congressional leaders, his campaign seemingly criticized all parties involved.
“Despite today’s news reports,” a memo read, “there never existed a ‘deal,’ but merely a proposal offered by a small, select group of Members of Congress. As of right now, there exists only a series of principles, including greater oversight and measures to address CEO pay. However, these principles do not enjoy a consensus in Congress.”
Later, the campaign sought to fight back against a developing narrative that McCain had hurt negotiations by speaking positively about an alternative bailout proposal, one put forth by a “working group” of conservative House Republicans.
In a damage control effort, McCain aides sent reporters a link to an article written by the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, which reported that the Senator had taken no leadership position whatsoever.
“McCain himself did not bring up those [alternative] proposals” or attack the compromise, Ambinder reported, citing multiple sources. The McCain campaign called this an “accurate” reporting of what had happened, seemingly pressing the point that McCain had not tried to derail the compromise.
But in his story, Ambinder opined, “Boehner and the White House — and McCain — if they want to get something passed — do have the responsibility to persuade these Republicans to support the bailout. After all, if not to get these recalcitrant Republicans on board, why did McCain go to Washington in the first place?”
Indeed, even members of the conservative commentariat were forced to acknowledge that much of what was happening among Republicans was strict, bare-knuckled politics.
“At the end of the day, there’s a lot of people thinking about how to rebuild this party,” said GOP strategist Ed Rollins on CNN, “and do we want to rebuild it with John McCain, who’s always kind of questionable on the basic facts of fiscal control, all the rest of it, immigration. And I think to a certain extent this 110, 115 members of this study group are saying, here’s the time to draw the line in the sand.”
“That’s pretty scary stuff that they’re thinking about party right now and not country, is that what you’re saying?” responded host Anderson Cooper.
“I think they’re, yes, they’re thinking about themselves,” said Rollins. “I think they don’t think that the threat is as great as a lot of other people do.”
And so, a bailout proposal that once seemed likely to pass now is back to negotiations. In the process, Secretary Paulson was reduced to getting on his knees to beg House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to have her party members bail on the proposal; President Bush was forced to ponder a market meltdown on his watch; and Democrats were left fuming that in a bid for the leadership spotlight, John McCain may have simply gone and fouled things up.
“Bush is no diplomat,” said a Democratic staffer, “but he’s Cardinal freaking Richelieu compared to McCain. McCain couldn’t negotiate an agreement on dinner among a family of four without making a big drama with himself at the heroic center of it. And then they’d all just leave to make themselves a sandwich.”
Tomorrow we have a JAM PACKED show!! We have Scott calling in from Unwritten Law, Mark Crispin Miller on to talk about all the election fraud. Also, we’re going to be talking about Sarah Palin’s top 10 facts and fictions. We are still narrowing them down, as the list is so long.
Email us – Buzz@TheBlockFM.com
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Tune in 9 am PST – 925thewhy.com or 92.5FM Burbank
Voting Rights in Michigan
By Christopher Cooper and Evan Perez
Partisan tensions over voting rules and rights are escalating as Election Day nears. In the latest dispute, the Obama campaign filed a lawsuit Monday to limit the ability of Republicans to challenge the eligibility of voters in Michigan.
The complaint was prompted by a Web report last week quoting a Republican county chairman in the state saying the party was going to challenge the voting status of homeowners who had faced foreclosure — a report later denied by state party officials.
Democrats across the country have used the report in recent days to accuse Republicans of ramping up efforts to curb voting rights, particularly for lower-income and minority voters, who tend to support Democrats.
The two parties have fought repeated legal battles over voter eligibility in recent years, with Republicans focused on clamping down on what they consider fraudulent voting and Democrats accusing Republicans of voter suppression.
The battle seems more intense this year, as Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is focused on drawing out large numbers of new voters — particularly African-Americans.
Robert Bauer, lead lawyer for the Obama campaign, said he had evidence that Michigan Republicans were engaging in a “particularly ugly brand” of voter challenging, using lists of foreclosed homeowners to compile a voter roll that could be used to challenge the residency of citizens who show up at the polls in November. Mr. Bauer field suit in federal court in eastern Michigan on behalf of the campaign and three Michigan residents in foreclosure procedures, seeking an injunction to stop the activity.
The evidence Mr. Bauer cited came from a news article published last week in the Michigan Messenger, a Web-based news site, that quoted the Republican Party Chairman of Macomb County, a Detroit suburb, as saying the tactic would be used. “We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli was quoted as telling the publication.
In a later interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Carabelli denied making such comments.
Mr. Bauer said despite the denials, “It’s impossible to believe something this explicit was made up.”
Tuesday, citing the Michigan foreclosure story, a group of Senate Democrats — including Sen. Obama — sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking for details on what the Justice Department plans to do to ensure voters aren’t “intimidated or harassed based solely on the fact that they have received a foreclosure notice.”
Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department “is aware of the allegations and is currently reviewing the matter.”
Michigan is one of a growing number of states seeing partisan fights emerging over voting issues. Friday, the Ohio Republican Party sued the Democratic secretary of state to block rules that would allow some early voters to register and vote on the same day. The Florida Department of State drew liberal complaints earlier this month by enforcing a law that requires matching an identifying number on voter-registration forms with government databases that critics say are prone to mistakes.
Mr. Bauer said the Obama-campaign suit in Michigan was aimed at sending a national message to Democratic supporters to be on guard against tactics that may be used locally, such as “caging,” a term used for mass voter challenges. “This can’t be just an isolated event,” he said. Republicans use “ballot security” campaigns “where they expect the vote to go to the other side. They’re not caging in Beverly Hills. By filing the suit, we are assuring people they can be allowed to vote.”
The McCain campaign this week announced its own “Honest and Open Election Committee,” which it said was aimed at working with Democrats to avoid Election Day voting problems. A spokesman referred calls on the Michigan allegations to that state’s party. The Michigan Republican Party issued a statement citing news reports of left-leaning groups allegedly submitting fraudulent voter-registration applications. “The only voter intimidation and fraud being perpetrated in Michigan is being carried out by organizations with close ties to the Obama-Biden campaign,” the party said.
Michigan law allows citizens who have “good reason to believe” ineligible voters are voting to challenge them on the spot. Guidelines being circulated by Michigan Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land, a Republican, say voter challenges generally “are based on research conducted in advance of the election by the challenger or the organization the challenger represents.”
Caging is illegal when the voter-challenge list is used to exclude voters on the basis of race. Federal authorities have repeatedly stepped in to stop it. Obama officials said they had no evidence that the reported Michigan scheme was targeting minority voters. But Mr. Bauer said “we’d be fools to disregard this.”
Separately, this week Election Protection, a nonpartisan voting-rights coalition, said it would begin an expanded voter-services program, including a hotline and Web site for citizens to report voting problems and get information about election procedures.
One of the best articles I’ve read all year. I encourage Republicans to read it. It’s food for thought.
It tells us something about Sarah Palin’s homage to small-town America, delivered to an enthusiastic GOP convention last week, that she chose to fire it up with an unsourced quotation from the all-time champion of fake populism, the belligerent right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler.
“We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,” the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous “writer,” which is to say, Pegler, who must have penned that mellifluous line when not writing his more controversial stuff. As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of him in 1969, Pegler once lamented that a would-be assassin “hit the wrong man” when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt.
There’s no evidence that Mrs. Palin shares the trademark Pegler bloodlust — except maybe when it comes to moose and wolves. Nevertheless, the red-state myth that Mrs. Palin reiterated for her adoring audience owes far more to the venomous spirit of Pegler than it does to Norman Rockwell.
Small town people, Mrs. Palin went on, are “the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars.” They are authentic; they are noble, and they are her own: “I grew up with those people.”
But what really defines them in Mrs. Palin’s telling is their enemies, the people who supposedly “look down” on them. The opposite of the heartland is the loathsome array of snobs and fakers, “reporters and commentators,” lobbyists and others who make up “the Washington elite.”
Presumably the various elite Washington lobbyists who have guided John McCain’s presidential campaign were exempt from Mrs. Palin’s criticism. As would be former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, now a “senior adviser” to the Dickstein Shapiro lobby firm, who hymned the “Sarah Palin part of the party” thus: “Their kids aren’t going to go to Ivy League schools. Their sons leave high school and join the military to serve our country. Their husbands and wives work two jobs to make sure the family is sustained.”
Generally speaking, though, when husbands and wives work two jobs each it is not merely because they are virtuous but because working one job doesn’t earn them enough to get by. The two-job workers in Middle America aren’t spurning the Ivy League and joining the military straight out of high school just because they’re people of principle, although many of them are. It is because they can’t afford to do otherwise.
Leave the fantasy land of convention rhetoric, and you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.
And eventually you will ask yourself, how did this happen? Did Hollywood do this? Was it those “reporters and commentators” with their fancy college degrees who wrecked Main Street, U.S.A.?
No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town’s mortal enemies.
Without raising an antitrust finger they have permitted fantastic concentration in the various industries that buy the farmer’s crops. They have undone the New Deal system of agricultural price supports in favor of schemes called “Freedom to Farm” and loan deficiency payments — each reform apparently designed to secure just one thing out of small town America: cheap commodities for the big food processors. Richard Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz put the conservative attitude toward small farmers most bluntly back in the 1970s when he warned, “Get big or get out.”
A few days ago I talked politics with Donn Teske, the president of the Kansas Farmers Union and a former Republican. Barack Obama may come from a big city, he admits, but the Farmers Union gives him a 100% rating for his votes in Congress. John McCain gets a 0%. “If any farmer in the Plains States looked at McCain’s voting record on ag issues,” Mr. Teske says, “no one would vote for him.”
Now, Mr. McCain is known for his straight talk with industrial workers, telling them their jobs are never coming back, that the almighty market took them away for good, and that retraining is their only hope.
But he seems to think that small-town people can be easily played. Just choose a running mate who knows how to skin a moose and all will be forgiven. Drive them off the land, shutter their towns, toss their life chances into the grinders of big agriculture . . . and praise their values. The TV eminences will coo in appreciation of your in-touch authenticity, and the carnival will move on.
From Van Jones at The Huffington Post…
Sarah Palin and the GOP had great fun this week belittling Barack Obama’s background as a community organizer. But in doing so, they were not just putting down one person.
They were attacking the (small “d”) democratic traditions of the United States, itself.
Let us not forget: the first of America’s freedoms is the freedom to speak out for change. That is the rock upon which all of our other freedoms are built. And across the country, in roles paid and unpaid, America’s community organizers are the people who help us exercise that freedom every day. They are the invisible champions of America’s grassroots democracy.
For little or no pay, they work with neighbors — or with people in need — to address tough problems. They are often people who could make a great deal of money in other professions. But many have chosen to dedicate themselves to causes greater than themselves — and to communities poorer than their own.
Their work epitomizes what it means to put community — and, yes, country — first.
Their dedication and sacrifice is nothing new; the idea of bottom-up, democratic action is as old as the republic itself. In fact, constant engagement and debate at the neighborhood, community and grassroots level is what keeps the nation’s democracy vital and alive.