Lots of outrage from the Left over Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani mocking Barack Obama’s early career as a community organizer, with Ezra Klein endeavoring to obscure categories:
A community organizer can be a PTA member or a Christian Coalition lieutenant. Indeed, there’s something deeply conservative about the vocation, which informally organizes citizens to demand better, fairer, and wiser treatment from detached government bureaucrats.
Well, no, a PTA member is not a “community organizer,” Ezra. The “community organizer” gig, as now practiced, goes back to Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation, and is based in the Marxist notion that the problems of the poor are essentially political.
Community organizing as a practice got a federally-subsidized boost via Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” and the effect of the community-organizing model on municipal governance is hilariously chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.
Several journalists have noted that Obama’s organizing efforts didn’t bring any meaningful, lasting improvement to the Chicago South Side community in which he worked, but then community organizing never does, simply because politics is not the solution to poverty.
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