COMMUNITY ORGANIZING ON A NATIONAL SCALE
January 20, 2013
Constitutionally, today ends the first term and at noon begins the second term of President Barack Obama. Tomorrow, the official first day of the second Administration begins. What have we to look forward to?
I think the Obama Re-election campaign website gives us a glimpse of the major policy issue for Obama's second four years. It announced that his campaign organization, Obama for America, would be shifting over into a 501(c)4 political action organization: Organizing for America. In an email sent by Obama himself, the President wrote:
Today, a new grassroots organization is being launched: Organizing for Action.
Following in the footsteps of the campaign you built, Organizing for Action will be an unparalleled force in American politics. It will work to turn our shared values into legislative action -- and it'll empower the next generation of leaders in our movement.
Michelle recorded a video to tell you more about the new organization -- take a look and let OFA know you're in.
We may have started this as a long
shot presidential primary campaign in 2007, but it's always been
about more than just winning an election. Together, we've made our
communities stronger, we've fought for historic legislation, and
we've brought more people than ever before into the political
We have the power to do even more to change our politics and our country for the better. With Organizing for Action, you'll have every resource you need to do it.
But it starts with you. This new organization is in your hands.
I'm so excited to see what you all do next -- and so grateful to be part of it.
So Obama won’t just be using the bully pulpit – he’ll have his entire campaign organization at his disposal, pushing his agenda from outside the government. Obama’s campaign director, Jim Messina, will take the lead; his second will be White House Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson. Now, 501(c)4 social welfare organizations do have legal limits on what they can do. According to the IRS, while a 501(c)4 organization can have lobbying on legislation as its primary purpose, “The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
But that should not provide a significant barrier to Obama, who will undoubtedly use the new OFA to promote his own cause, not those of his fellow Democrats.
The story gets worse, though. In a little-noticed provision of Obama’s recent executive order on gun control, Obama actually creates incentives for the government to funnel cash to “sympathetic gun-control groups,” according to the Washington Times. Writes the Times:
Mr. Obama is trying to steamroll the Democratic and Republican majorities that kept the ban intact by labeling the advocacy as research. “While year after year, those who oppose even modest gun-safety measures have threatened to defund scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, I will direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it,” said Mr. Obama.
Under the terms of the memo, CDC may “sponsor” another entity to conduct the research, which is a handy way of funneling taxpayer cash to sympathetic gun-control groups.
It's easy to belittle Barack Obama for being a community organizer, but he's the one who got the last laugh on November 6, 2012. Community organizing is key to not only winning a campaign but changing a country, which is exactly what the Obama's plan to do moving forward.
It was Michelle Obama who posted a video announcing her husband's a massive community organizing project. The whole program is geared towards pushing through Obama's second term agenda and changing how voters think about issues for the long term.
Does this not sound familiar?
The connections between Barack Obama and the methods of Saul Alinsky are clear and well established. The two men never met, of course, but when he arrived in Chicago Obama was trained as a community organizer by people like Michael Kruglik--one of the key figures in Spreading The Wealth--whose online bio says:
(Micheal Kruglik) has been developing grass-roots citizens’ power organizations since 1973 with the (Alinsky founded) Industrial Areas Foundation, the Gamaliel Foundation and Building One America.
From 1984 to 1998, (Kruglik) was co-director of the Calumet Community Religious Conference, the community organization that recruited and hired Barack Obama as a community organizer. Mr. Kruglik’s role as Barack Obama’s mentor has been chronicled in a number of works of history and periodicals.
What did Obama learn from Alinsky?
The New Republic said:
The first and most fundamental lesson Obama learned was to reassess his understanding of power. (Another Obama mentor) says that, when Alinsky would ask new students why they wanted to organize, they would invariably respond with selfless bromides about wanting to help others. Alinsky would then scream back at them that there was a one-word answer: "You want to organize for power!"
Obama so mastered the workshops on power that he later taught them himself. On his (2007) campaign website, one can find a photo of Obama in a classroom teaching students Alinskian methods. He stands in front of a blackboard on which he has written, "Power Analysis" and "Relationships Built on Self Interest," an idea illustrated by a diagram of the flow of money from corporations to the mayor.
Both Obama and Alinsky are flinty nihilist power-mongers at heart, but they grasp the power in portraying themselves as moral figures. Alinsky understood the power of image and realized that by occasionally proclaiming the ethical high ground, he’d be given a free pass by a media eager to attack the free market and embrace central planning.
To sum up, then, Obama has shifted his campaign organization into a permanent lobbying group, with a nationwide community organizing emphasis, Alinsky style. And on top of that he just freed himself up to hand cash to that lobbying group from the government.
We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.