Friday, September 05, 2008

Palin quote sours everything else she might say..

At the RNC, Sarah Palin said her experience as "a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

I will try to stay open minded, but it is getting hard. This quote was such an unfair, unkind, and horrid thing to say to the many, many of us who work in the inner-city with those who are struggling or have lost hope (and most of those workers are volunteers or working for peanuts). How dare she??!! Her attitude is an example of why I rarely vote Republican anymore.


bunabear said...

Thanks Andrew, now I don't feel so foolish for my rant.

I completely agree with you, it is hard to see and hear the double standard.

This is enlightening:

OneSmallStep said...

I've heard it said that Democracts attack based on positions, and Republicans attack based on character. It's a generalization, yes, because both sides can get incredibly personal, and both sides can seperate the person from the position.

But ever since the RNC, I've been feeling incredibly angry, and it's just ... in watching this, it just seems to petty and mean. This is not an attitude I want running my country. We've already had this attitude for eight years.

And I think if it was just the speeches, I'd be okay. But people absolutely loved that line, just like they loved Giuliani's line attacking that, as well. That's what really got me. A large roomful of people cheering this, finding nothing wrong with mocking someone who served a cause greater than himself. Found nothing wrong with mocking the very job in general.

A co-worker of mine made an interesting point. For the RNC, people would chant USA! He asked exactly who it was they were chanting against, since the current political opponents and their supporters are also US citizens.

Steve H. said...

You have to put it into the context of what she is addressing though Andy. She is countering the questions raised about her experience to lead by contrasting her role as a mayor against a community organizer (Obama). And its true, a community organizer can be very passionate and contribute to the community but would lack the accountability an elected official would have. But if you asked her, "Are you ridiculing community organizers?" Of course she's not, she's saying, "If you're going to attack MY lack of experience, look at your own guy first..."

Drew said...

And she was so careful and measured when she gave that line too.

OneSmallStep said...

**But if you asked her, "Are you ridiculing community organizers?" Of course she's not, she's saying, "If you're going to attack MY lack of experience, look at your own guy first..."**

I don't know. She referenced right before this particular quote that she was explaining what the job of a small-town mayor involved. I think you can make a case that she wasn't just speaking of her job as small-town mayor, but the tasks that anyone would face as the mayor. So can we say she's general there, but specifically focusing on Obama only as a community organizer?

Because really, you can read that quote as "The job of a small-town mayer is like that of a "community organizer," except the mayor has actual responsibilities."

And this seemed to be a theme, because Giuliani laughed at the community organizer, and I believe he even said, "I don't know what that is."

Brook said...

I thought Giuliani's bit was the worst of the whole thing. he's actually laughing at / mocking Obama's accomplishments, as community organizer and his life's path in general (specifically obnoxious was the snide "only in America" bit. WTF?). I expect a fair bit of this sort of thing at these rallys and conventions, but Giuliani just pissed me off, and probably not until that speech did I realize how much he deserved to lose as bad as he did in the primary race.
I actually thought McCain did a good job with his speech. Unlike the rest of his party, I thought he was very respectful of Obama and stuck to issue disagreements. I really do respect him, and though I'm still voting for Obama (who is not without my growing criticism as of late), I'll be happier with either one of these guys in office than I am with what we have now. I think a change for the better is on the way, no matter how the chips fall.

Andrew said...

Nah... it was a dig, pure and simple. Yes, she meant it for Barak, she just didn't realize she was going to nail those who also work those streets.

I know they all do these digs, and they don't always think them through. However, this was my first impression of HER.... and it sucked. You give more grace to those you know and think well of. She does not have that cushion with me.

Again, I think some of her remark goes to a general Republican mindset. They want the government out of the Social Welfare business, yet they mock those who are on the ground doing it. Everyone should be an entrepreneur and climbing the corporate ladder ... all this idealistic save the world stuff is for pinko, commie, tree-huggers.

JP said...


What does a community organizer do?

From what I read, they try to raise money, going door to door.

I thought her comment was quite funny actually. What is the responsibility of a community organizer?

OneSmallStep said...

**What is the responsibility of a community organizer?**

Wikipedia provies this answer:

"Community organizing is a process by which disempowered people - most often low- and moderate-income people - are brought together to act in their common self-interest. Community organizers act as area-wide coordinators of programs for different agencies in an attempt to meet community needs for health and welfare services. They also facilitate self-help programs initiated by local common-interest groups, for example, by training local leaders to analyze and solve the problems of a community. Community organizers work actively, as do other types of social workers, in community councils of social agencies and in community-action groups. At times the role of community organizers overlaps that of the social planners."

Some of the more recongizable names of community organizers Wikipedia lists are Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Jane Addams, and Dorothy Day.

It would seem that the responsibility a community organizer has is one that s/he takes upon themselves, in recognizing that one's fellow neighbor requires assistence.

Andrew said...

From my experience with Community Organizers, in addition to the definition above, I see them as community advocates. It is amazing how many gaps/duplication/miscommunication there can be concerning services in a community. So many simply do not know what assistance is available.

For example, one of my African refugee students in my class had cut his finger over the weekend. He seemed sickly as he came in, so I took off the "bandage" he had wrapped around it. It was a nasty cut and was horribly infected. The family was not being neglectful, but they had never had medical services available so they didn't know. Our community advocate met with the parents with a MiMi translator and took the family to the local doctor and worked with and taught them on how to get medical assistance when they needed it.

I am sure the job description of such a position varies according to place and person, but I can say that there is an endless amount of work and responsibility to be taken care of amongst the poor.

Jon L. said...

I felt her comment was a dig, but I think Steve has it right about the context. The Obama campaign had issued statements only recognizing her as a small-town mayor (ignoring the gov. part). She was just throwing in a little extra by referring back to a similar "small job" in his background.

The "Community Organizer" term is very closely associated with a methodology by Saul Alinsky (called on Wiki the father of community organizing). Obama was trained and later became a trainer in the methodology. It is a methodology of agitation and political activism that many are not comfortable with. When Republicans rip on the community orgnizer thing, they are not slamming the local soup kitchen or a vocational training program, but groups that use radical agitational methods to acheive goals.

Personally, I thought the news that was created on the dailykos and other sites trying to claim her child wasn't hers, but her daughter's was much more offensive. Politics stooped to a new low over last weekend. Fortunately, there was the US Open to watch.

Andrew said...

"When Republicans rip on the community organizer thing, they are not slamming the local soup kitchen or a vocational training program, but groups that use radical agitational methods to achieve goals."

That MAY be, but if one needs to lay out that much backstory to make sure they do not insult everyone in the room, it is probably best not to say (especially if one fails to add the backstory). Since she did not, then did succeed in splattering many with an insult using buckshot... it leaves me nervous about handing her a mike on the international scene. I just fear a future date when she is proclaiming from the VP podium, "I know I said MUSLIMS in my insult, but I didn't mean ALL Muslims. C'mon people, lighten up. We're all Americans here!!"

Jon L. said...

I don't know... I guess I just don't see how it was all that offensive compared to a lot of other comments at both conventions. If anything, I guess one could say it was a juvenilish comeback. As one who worked five years in a refugee/social services program helping with some "community organizing", it never even occured to me to be offended by it.

I thought the treatment of her family by some in the media was offensive, just as I think that recent ads here in the Detroit area trying to tie Obama with Kwame Kilpatrick (the mayor who is resigning)are offensive. It is nothing but a convenient cheapshot.

But please, don't try to take all sarcasm and satire out of political speeches or there will be nothing interesting to listen to.

Andrew said...

Not to be-labor this point, but I think there is a difference based on who is being called out. I did not care for Obama's rips on McCain during his speech, as I wrote about in a previous blog, but they were about McCain. I would be thinking this same way if Obama had ripped on Vietnam Vets as a way of belittling McCain. She attacked a group of people, not Obama alone. To me, that communicates that she feels disdain for people who do such work.

Andrew said...

In addition, I will admit to taking this a little personally. I was coming in from a walk with a friend and quickly sat down as her speech was nearly over. That was the first thing I heard her say (and I was thinking that I might like her). Five people I know who do such work sprang to mind and I instantly loathed her. Like I said, I am going to try to view her objectively, but she made a lousy first impression.

didymus said...

I doubt she really has anything against community organizers, her speechwriters might, but more likely it was just a bad choice of words for a dig on Obama. But besides that her speech wasn’t designed for an audience of community organizers anyway, it was meant for that Republican base, she said what their itching ears wanted to hear.

Andy said...

"So.... I am a Christian of 25 years and I support Obama. However, you will not find me mocking McCain on these pages. I am embarrassed by the Christian bloggers who use their blogs to mock Obama. You can do better."-- Andrew Hackman

Then he mocks Palin out of context here on his blog. Wow you are not even consistent with your inconsistencies.

didymus said...


I can see you disagree with Andrew here and all, but I don’t see where Andrew “mocks” Palin in this post. Yes, he disagrees with her, but disagreement is not mocking. Maybe I’m missing it… could you please be more specific as to what you find so “mocking” and out of context about what Andrew is saying.

Besides this question for some clarity above, I think your comment appears to be just a spurious jibe, I mean your comment (“Wow you are not even consistent with your inconsistencies”) is obviously negative, but it doesn’t make much sense. Andrew supports Obama, but a couple of posts down he criticized Obama just as much as he did Palin here. Where’s the “mocking”? Where’s the “inconsistencies” you mention? Where is he not being “consistent” with his “inconsistencies”? (What does that mean anyway… for one not to be consistent with one’s inconsistencies? Wouldn’t that mean then he is consistent?)

Andy said...


He is mocking Palin because he can clearly see that is not what she meant and even you can see that. Kinda like the "lipstick" thing today which was ridiculous. Obama did not mean Palin when he said that, even a baby-loving, marriage-appreciating, Bible-Beleiving conservative myself can see that.

I believe Hackman's post is subtle, but agenda driven. So be it if it is, it is his blog. He attacked other Christians for "mocking" Obama and although he was not specific. I think it is a "mockery" when you take someone so clearly out of context just for an opportunity to lay them in front of the bus.

His criticism of Obama is hardly worth noting, it is obvious that he supports Obama. Seems a little flimsy to me.

Finally again you are right being consistent with inconsistencies would be consistent (technically) :)

didymus said...


I don’t think it’s “so clearly out of context” as you say it is. When I first watched her speech and heard that comment I thought much the same as Andrew here, although it didn’t affect me as much. I remember thinking that it was a cheap shot, as if being a community organizer isn’t hard work. And it appears a lot of others thought the same thing as well. Just because someone disagrees with something, and states as much, doesn’t mean they’re mocking them.

Andy said...

Interesting you say that Didymus, I find it ironic that you are ok with people mocking Palin but when someone says something that is truthful about Obama then you take issue with it.

It appears your bias is just as bad as you claim mine to be.

didymus said...


I don’t know if you noticed this but there is a qualitative difference between disagreeing with Palin’s comment on community organizers and accusing Obama of infanticide.

Andy said...

No one needs to accuse Obama of anything, the truth of his voting record set that straight.

didymus said...

Some fact checking on over at

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