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September 04, 2008

If You Talk Too Much About Obama Being A "Community Organizer" It Just Might Be Racist

The list of things it's allowable to talk about concerning Barack Obama might be getting smaller.

The four mocking mentions last night of Barack Obama's service as a "community organizer" have ignited a metapshereic debate about whether the term has racial connotations.

...But community organizers tend to work with poorer folks, and there's some chatter among Democrats that it's a subtle way to highlight Obama's urbanity. Some Obama aides see it as a knock against the poor and their material needs.

I think it's a cultural trope, like when Rudy Giuliani (lacking, I might add, any sense of irony or awareness of his own life), referred last night to Obama's "cosmopolitan" background. It stirs up resentments. It makes elite Republicans feel comfortable with themselves. The audience repeatedly laughed; they got the joke. The question is: what was the joke?

Um, the joke is that Obama constantly cites his time as a 'community organizer' as one of the main points of his resume. Now that we aren't in the middle of a Democratic primary where people are impressed with that nothing burger of a job description, it's becoming a punchline because in the real world being a 'community organizer' has nothing to do with being President. There's also the little fact that we only hear about how that's the job he had, not what (if anything) he accomplished while doing it.

As The Weekly Standard Blog points out, Palin got her start as a community organizer of a sort. She just didn't get paid for it and she certainly hasn't listed it as a point of experience in her campaign to be Vice President.

Isn't it amazing how when things work for Obama they are find and dandy but the second someone dares to turn that talking point around there's a lot of soul search about whether or not it suddenly has "racial connotations"?

By election day the only things you will be allowed to say about Obama without fear of "racial connotations" will be that he is a Senator and believes in Hope and Change. Go beyond that at your own peril.

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posted by DrewM. at 06:46 PM

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