Palin, GOP Take On “Organizing” Obama


The Republican attack machine was in rare form in St. Paul last night.

A number of speakers, including former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani and veep hopeful Sarah Palin, took to the stage and launched scathing attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Giuliani gave perhaps the most nauseating speech we’ve seen this electoral season, and mocked Obama’s work as a “community organizer,” a pursuit Republicans must really loathe, because the crowd went wild with boos and jeers. Palin also seized on Obama’s experience in Chicago.

Palin, the Governor of Alaska and former mayor of her home town, Wasilla, told the mostly white-faced crowd:

…Since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that in small towns we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

That line’s a reference, of course, to Obama’s oft-criticized remarks about “bitter” Americans earlier this year.

Palin’s address was the politico’s formal introduction to the nation after becoming John McCain’s running mate last week. The past few days have been a whirlwind of revelations about Palin, including the fact that her 17-year old daughter’s with child. Obviously upset over the media attention, the Governor took some time to blast the media, saying she wasn’t in the game to win friends:

…I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion; I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.

Palin’s certainly not making any friends in Obama’s camp. Campaign manager David Plouffe responsed immediately with a mass email taking on Palin and the GOP’s attacks on Obama’s organizational experience:

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America’s promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it’s happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.

Even if the GOP doesn’t like Obama, surely they can’t argue with the importance of grassroots activism. And, perhaps most importantly, the necessity of civil society for a strong democracy.

Here’s video from Palin’s speech. You may want to wait until after you’ve properly digested your breakfast…