May 30, 2008


Inside Obama's Acorn: By their fruits ye shall know them. (Stanley Kurtz, May 29, 2008, National Review Online)

What if Barack Obama's most important radical connection has been hiding in plain sight all along? Obama has had an intimate and long-term association with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn), the largest radical group in America. If I told you Obama had close ties with or Code Pink, you'd know what I was talking about. Acorn is at least as radical as these better-known groups, arguably more so. Yet because Acorn works locally, in carefully selected urban areas, its national profile is lower. Acorn likes it that way. And so, I'd wager, does Barack Obama.

This is a story we've largely missed. While Obama's Acorn connection has not gone entirely unreported, its depth, extent, and significance have been poorly understood. Typically, media background pieces note that, on behalf of Acorn, Obama and a team of Chicago attorneys won a 1995 suit forcing the state of Illinois to implement the federal "motor-voter" bill. In fact, Obama's Acorn connection is far more extensive. In the few stories where Obama's role as an Acorn "leadership trainer" is noted, or his seats on the boards of foundations that may have supported Acorn are discussed, there is little follow-up. Even these more extensive reports miss many aspects of Obama's ties to Acorn.

To understand the nature and extent of Acorn's radicalism, an excellent place to begin is Sol Stern's 2003 City Journal article, "ACORN's Nutty Regime for Cities." (For a shorter but helpful piece, try Steven Malanga's "Acorn Squash.")

Sol Stern explains that Acorn is the key modern successor of the radical 1960's "New Left," with a "1960's-bred agenda of anti-capitalism" to match. Acorn, says Stern, grew out of "one of the New Left's silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization." In the 1960's, NWRO launched a campaign of sit-ins and disruptions at welfare offices. The goal was to remove eligibility restrictions, and thus effectively flood welfare rolls with so many clients that the system would burst. The theory, explains Stern, was that an impossibly overburdened welfare system would force "a radical reconstruction of America's unjust capitalist economy." Instead of a socialist utopia, however, we got the culture of dependency and family breakdown that ate away at America's inner cities -- until welfare reform began to turn the tide.

For obvious reasons, folks have trouble grasping the paradox that the uncaring conservatives want to make the poor affluent and idependent, while the Left needs them to remain dependent on the State, and to expand the ranks of dependency. Analysis of nearly every social issue, from marriage to abortion to welfare to SS privatization and so on must begin from that core dichotomy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 30, 2008 11:16 AM


We know all about ACORN here in Philadelphia.

Absolutely bonkers--they made "Reverend" Wright seem sane.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 30, 2008 12:07 PM

Yes, but they are winning.

They incrementally crank the ratchet a al Alinski's model, and we win the occasional watershed election (1980, 1994), never quite succeeding in taking off enough of the Hydra's heads.

Now, with the decades of an overfunded and protected public education sector delivering 2-5 generations of under-educated specialists just rich enough not to care about sustaining their culture, we are about to be delivered into the hands of an ACORN avatar.

Destructive? Absolutely! Silly? Not hardly. They are on the verge of winning, as they are funding an army of soldiers while we are funding a bureaucratic class of fat white kids whose daddy's got them jobs in think tanks funded by their daddy's.

Posted by: Bruno at May 30, 2008 3:54 PM

Perhaps, Bruno. Or perhaps they are going to find out what happens when they get down to specifics. I.E.: Fight global warming? Sure. Have me lose my boat and snowmobile? Lose my vacation home? Those are fightin' words, mister.

Posted by: Mikey at May 30, 2008 6:28 PM

Education serves the white middle class--that's why their kids are rich. They don't care about poor kids.

Posted by: oj at May 30, 2008 7:08 PM