There is one absolutely great thing about community organizing. And we’ll come back to what it is in just a bit – after we look at why it matters.
Does it seem to you that both the presidential campaign Mr. Obama ran (about this time last year) and his first eight months in office have shared certain common characteristics?
It does to me. I think that when we are under stress, we tend to revert back to our old habits – precisely because they worked for us way back when. I would guess that is the reason those of us on the pudgy side find it difficult to keep weight off when we lose it. Stress rears its ugly head – and we revert to our previous habits. That’s probably why alcoholics return to the bottle. And it’s why community organizers revert to the perpetual campaign, where only the faithful attended the nightly meetings. All the naysayers were in the other camp across town.
“It worked in the past, so it will work now. …” Well, maybe not. Especially if now is not then. Time changes things; but then, so do our circumstances. Combine the two, and the world looks a whole lot different. A promotion from worker-bee to boss brings new and different challenges. These new challenges demand different skills and behaviors. Yet how many of us keep slogging away on the same old treadmill?
It was Laurence Peter who suggested that most of us are ultimately promoted to our level of incompetence, from where we rule over those around us in the workplace. (It does explain a lot about the way the world works.) And it is hard to imagine that politics would be immune to this principle. Indeed, politics often presents newly elected officeholders with a “promotion” of several levels all at once.
While the ensuing circus can be amusing to watch, and profitable to report on for the news media, the results are not often pretty for the governed. Rarely, however, does the Peter Principle present us with an officeholder who has skipped all the levels in-between and risen as a result of one desperate act of temporary insanity by the voters, to be propelled well beyond his or her level of incompetence.
That, of course, is precisely what has happened to Barack Obama. Eight months into his term, he still doesn’t have a clue that governing a large, diverse nation is just a tad bit different from getting a few unemployed scofflaws to show up at a rally – then sticking 10 bucks in their pockets while they shake their signs and chant their “demands” for (fill in the current, fashionably PC cause here) from “the man.” Film at 5.
By virtue of the last election, Mr. Obama now is “the man.” Yet his behavior and perpetual campaign betray his community-organizer mindset. And unfortunately, being “the man” has proven to be, as Mr. Obama delicately phrased it earlier when talking about tough decisions, “above my pay grade.” That’s why now, the nation is giving him a failing grade.
So what is it that makes community organizing so great? As a community organizer you simply issue the demands. Somebody else has to pay for it.
Guess what? Mr. Obama’s new “community” now includes those who are going to have to pay for his latest, fashionably PC demands – as well as the previous group of freeloaders who expect to receive it without cost. Grandma and Grandpa have figured out that under the new plan, Uncle Obama, not Uncle Fred and the grandkids, are going to decide when to pull the plug on their medical treatment, and let them “move on” to the crematorium.
Community organizing is all about guilt and bullying, for the good of the few (and the promotion of the organizer), both at the expense of the many. So long as the demands and the subsequent expense remains small, the approach remains viable, and the model works.
What community organizing does not translate to is governing a nation, or asserting its place in the world. The useful idiots of the left are all yours now, Mr. Obama. Just don’t expect the rest of us to roll over and pay for your guilt and bullying. We’ve seen the crematorium at the end of the road. The money is gone. You gave it to the wrong people. Now all that’s left is the debt. And you can keep the change.