Imagine with me that you’ve offered to help a teen-age relative prepare a school report on American politics of the early 1970s.
Using the Internet or hieing yourselves down to the local university library, you start reading the 36-year-old reports of the developing scandal that began when some very unusual burglars were apprehended attempting to break into the Democratic national campaign headquarters at Washington’s Watergate Hotel.
But something strikes you odd. In all the discussions of who financed these undercover operations, who ordered them, who stood to profit by them, one name is curiously missing. In none of the stories can you find any mention of the name “Richard Nixon.”
Wow! What kind of a time warp have you entered? Has someone been going back and rewriting history? Anyone who lived through those times knows that the recurring question, repeated by rote in virtually every “Mainstream Media” report and then picked up as a virtual mantra by congressional investigators, was “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”
It was the question of what role President Nixon played in the operations and their subsequent cover-up — along with how these developing revelations might impact his ability to retain the presidency — that MADE “Watergate” a national story.
Pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming, you decide to move a dozen years forward in your inquiries, checking the late 1986 news stories about the scandal that became known as the “Iran-Contra affair,” in which Oliver North, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and others were charged with breaking the law when they sold arms to Iran in hopes both of winning release of six U.S. hostages, and also to generate funds to support anti-communist guerrillas in Nicaragua.
And guess what name you find missing? Nowhere in any of the news accounts do you find any mention of the name “Ronald Reagan” — what the president knew, how the scandal might affect his future and that of his party.
That would be just WEIRD, wouldn’t it? Kind of like something out of the old “Twilight Zone” TV show.
Well, friends, welcome to the twilight zone, 2009.
The Internal Revenue Service said last Wednesday it’s severing ties with ACORN, the group of radical inner-city “community organizers” involved in yet another scandal after employees at different ACORN offices in different cities were caught on undercover videotape giving advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and pimp — advice on how to evade income taxes, “qualify” for a tax-subsidized mortgage for their planned house of ill repute, claim underage illegal-alien prostitutes as “dependants,” etc.
In response, the House and Senate voted two weeks back to sever federal funding to ACORN. Last week, the Census Bureau severed its ties with the group for the 2010 national head-count.
ACORN scandal stories — finally — have been all over the news. But whose name has been missing from those stories? You will search high and low in today’s stories for the question, “What will be the political impact of these revelations on … Barack Obama? What did he know and when did hew know it?”
The officials White House position is that Barack Obama barely knows the ACORN crowd.
“The only involvement I’ve had with ACORN was I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a motor-voter law that helped people get registered at DMVs,” Barack Obama said during last October’s debate against John McCain.
But that “was a total lie,” reported Deroy Murdock on the National Review Online the next day, Oct. 16, 2008.
“While Obama and remorseless Weather Underground co-founder William Ayers both served on the board of directors of Chicago’s Woods Fund, Chicago ACORN received $190,000 in Woods money,” Murdock reported.
“Obama’s campaign paid $832,598 last February to Citizens Services, Inc., an ACORN affiliate,” Mr. Murdock reported. “The campaign originally described this to the Federal Election Commission as ‘staging, sound, lighting.’ Last August, this filing was amended to show this money purchased get-out-the-vote services. ACORN spokesmen have admitted that roughly $80,000 of Obama’s payment to CSI flowed into ACORN’s coffers.”
But maybe Mr. Murdock just has it in for Mr. Obama because he’s a “racist,” eh?
Oh, wait … Deroy Murdock is black.
(“No, Deroy’s not a racist, he’s an Uncle Tom,” replies one of my Review-Journal Online readers, under a predictable cloak of anonymity. Don’t you just love our modern radical leftists — a hateful racist epithet ready for every eventuality!)
The kind of “community organizing” taught by Saul “The Red” Alinsky and then picked up and taught by Mr. Obama to his pals at ACORN isn’t about organizing sock hops or basketball teams. ACORN community organizers don’t come back to the office bragging about how they’ve set up Young Republican clubs and Ayn Rand reading groups. Check out Sol Stern’s 2003 City Journal article, “ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities.” Acorn’s goals are municipal “living wage” laws targeting “big-box” stores like Wal-Mart, rolling back welfare reform, and regulating banks, supposedly to combat “predatory lending.”
Unfortunately, instead of helping workers, Acorn’s living-wage campaigns drive businesses out of the very neighborhoods where jobs are needed. And Acorn uses banking regulations to pressure financial institutions into massive “donations” that it uses to finance supposedly non-partisan voter turn-out drives, Mr. Stern reports.
At the National Review Online, Stanley Kurtz reports on a friendly feature about Mr. Obama in the Los Angeles Times, which reported Madeleine Talbot, then the leader of Chicago ACORN, was so impressed by Obama’s organizing skills in an asbestos cleanup at a low-income housing project that she invited him to help train her own staff.
“The extent of Obama’s ties to Acorn has not been recognized,” Mr. Kurtz reports. “We find some important details in an article in the journal Social Policy entitled, ‘Case Study: Chicago — The Barack Obama Campaign,’ by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago Acorn leader and a member of Acorn’s National Association Board. …
“While most press accounts imply that Obama just happened to be at the sort of public-interest law firm that would take Acorn’s ‘motor voter’ case, Foulkes claims that Acorn specifically sought out Obama’s representation in the motor voter case, remembering Obama from the days when he worked with Talbot. …
“At least a few news reports have briefly mentioned Obama’s role in training Acorn’s leaders, but none that I know of have said what Foulkes reports next: that Obama’s long service with Acorn led many members to serve as the volunteer shock troops of Obama’s early political campaigns — his initial 1996 State Senate campaign, and his failed bid for Congress in 2000 (Foulkes confuses the dates of these two campaigns.) With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago Acorn leaders, by the time of Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and Acorn were ‘old friends,’ says Foulkes.”
By the time Obama sought the “non-partisan” ACORN’s 2008 endorsement for the presidency, he reminded Acorn officials: “I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”
Why, I wonder, does the Cleveland Leader report the journal Social Policy recently pulled this particular article from their web site? Is there a campaign afoot by Obama’s allies to bury the president’s many substantial links to ACORN? This is hardly a matter of one or two ACORN employees going astray, after all. Multiple ACORN employees and their managers and supervisors have drawn official probes for voter registration fraud in each of 11 states — some have already been prosecuted, pleaded guilty, and turned state’s evidence. Nor is this mere “guilt by association,” since Obama fully embraces ACORN’s goals and radical confrontational tactics — heck, he’s even TAUGHT them.
“Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won,” Foulkes wrote in the “Social Policy” piece. “Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5,000 of them).”
Non-partisan? (And speaking of racism, wasn’t it the financially creative Ms. Moseley Braun who once compared columnist George Will to a Klansman?)
“Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office,” Mr. Foulkes wrote. “Thus it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.”
“Obama’s ties to Acorn — arguably the most politically radical large-scale activist group in the country — are wide, deep, and longstanding,” Mr. Kurtz reports in his National Review essay, suggesting Mr. Obama did so much to channel state funds to ACORN while an Illinois lawmaker that he should have been dubbed “the senator from ACORN.”
And that was before Mr. Obama got control of the FEDERAL funding hose.
“If Acorn is adept at creating a non-partisan, inside-game veneer for what is in fact an intensely radical, leftist, and politically partisan reality, so is Obama himself,” Mr. Kurtz concludes. “This is hardly a coincidence: Obama helped train Acorn’s leaders in how to play this game.”