What Exactly Did Obama the Community Organizer Accomplish?
This community organizer debate seems to have “legs” as the journalists like to say. Some on the left seem to think it is a winning argument and so are still pushing Obama as community organizer as superior to Sarah Palin as governor of Alaska. This despite the fact that Obama himself clearly viewed it as less than a rousing success.
In fact, he famously couldn’t even explain it when he first accepted the offer:
Luckily, for those of us without a lot of free time to do the research, Byron York has looked into Obama’s stint as community organizer. So he can fill us in on exactly what was involved and what was accomplished. The bottom line is that Obama doesn’t so much accomplish things as convince people he can and then move on.
Has any of that brought about the change Obama spoke of back in 1985? Not in any large sense. But if Obama doesn’t have much to show for his years as an organizer, it’s fair to say that many of the people he touched revere him deeply. Remember what Loretta Augustine-Herron said: Obama had such a powerful presence that he made her believe he could do the job, even though there was little in his résumé to suggest he could. Does that sound familiar to anyone who has watched the Obama campaign? When hope is the product, Obama can sell it with the best of them.
When he left for law school, Obama wondered what he had accomplished as an organizer. He certainly had some achievements, but he did not — perhaps could not — concede that there might be something wrong with his approach to Chicago’s problems. Instead of questioning his own premises, he concluded that he simply needed more power to get the job done. So he made plans to run for political office. And in each successive office, he has concluded that he did not have enough power to get the job done, so now he is running for the most powerful office in the land.
And what if he gets it? He’ll be the biggest, strongest organizer in the world. He’ll dazzle the country with his message of hope and possibility. But we shouldn’t expect much to actually get done.
IMO, this is at the heart of Obama’s failed approach and why this community organizer debate is interesting. Despite all of his vaunted intelligence and ability to listen he can’t seem to question his basic worldview. He seems convinced that big government paternalism can change the world for the better despite no actual record of having done so. He wows people with his personality and rhetoric but nothing really ever changes except that he moves up the political ladder.
In this sense Obama really is a marketing plan rather than an actual accomplished leader. Hence his best case for leadership skills is his presidential campaign! He is the type of worker who never seems to do much but still manages to convince his bosses to promote him.
It is up to the voters to decide that Obama hasn’t earned this promotion.