Chicago seems to be the US hub of community organizing. Every time I look for a reference to the “profession” it points me there.
Obama got his start with the Developing Communities Project (DCP). A lot of what he does looks like it comes from the Gamaliel Foundation, an organization of church and civic leaders who train organizers in creating community action. It was started in 1968 by disciples of Saul Alinski, whose Rules for Radicals was influential in Bill Ayer’s formitive development. As a member of DCP, Obama surely received training from Gamaliel and their interpretations of Alinski’s Rules.
John McCain’s new ad suggests that Obama was a member of and a trainer for another community organizing group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or ACORN. It is possible Obama trained ACORN members without being on the payroll of ACORN just by being part of DCP, if DCP were a part of ACORN at the time, or even as an independent trainer. The diagrams on the board certainly look like Gamaliel stuff.
One of ACORN’s suborganizations is a Get-Out-the-Vote organization, which ran into trouble in Ohio in 2004, and is currently under investigation in a number of states for falsifying voter registrations. The Obama Campaign seems to have paid ACORN $800,000 to register voters, and that brings him into suspicion.
I’m not sure Obama is as guilty as the ad says he is, but there’s clearly some history he’s hiding. For instance, there’s the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Obama ran for a time. It was started and mentored by Bill Ayers, and was cited as some of his “executive experience” when running for office in Illinois. And the work he did with the Chicago Better Housing Association, chartered to build better housing and a botanical garden in the neighborhood (no garden, few houses).
We know more about what Obama claims to have done in the past 2 years than in the previous 20, and that’s scary when we’re about to decide on him as President.