ACORN follows the Saul Alinsky model. After Obama graduated from Harvard, he went to work for ACORN in Chicago. Mr. Obama then became a trainer for ACORN, teaching others how to employ ACORN tactics in voter registration drives.
This ACORN involvement coincides with the increasing partisanship of this situation.
Congressional Democrats, and specifically Mr. Obama, are now saying that the problem underlying all this is “deregulation,” pushed by the Republicans. There are two fundamental flaws with this allegation.
First, this is not deregulation. This is not the private sector. Fannie and Freddie are government creations, that pay their executives millions of dollars but are shielded with your tax money from suffering the downside risk of the market. Engage in racetrack-style financing, they must be strictly controlled. Deregulation is about keeping government from hobbling the private sector and hamstringing its ingenuity and productivity. Deregulation does not apply.
Second, Republicans have tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie. Republican attempts to reform them in 1999 failed. In 2003, when Alan Greenspan testified about how Fannie and Freddie’s loose practices could endanger our financial system, it was Democrat Barney Frank who said these institutions were fundamentally sound, and should be more aggressive in getting loans to low-income people. In 2005, a Republican reform passed the Senate Banking Committee on a party-line vote, only to be blocked by Democrats from passing the full Senate. And in 2006 when John McCain spoke on the Senate floor of the need to reform Fannie and Freddie immediately, Democrats (including Barack Obama) would not respond.
You can also see where Fannie and Freddie look for protection by where they direct their money. Public records show that the top two recipients of Fannie/Freddie campaign contributions are Sens. Chris Dodd and Barack Obama, taking $165,000 and $126,000, respectively. Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, and Mr. Obama, who says he’s going to remedy the whole situation.
It suddenly seems so clear why Democrats want ACORN to get some of the taxpayers’ money. I have unapologetically criticized Republicans, some by name, for out-of-control spending, lack of accountability, and other inexcusable actions that have tarnished the GOP and disserved the nation. And there are other issues that are either both parties’ fault, or no one’s fault.
But here, the Democrats are squarely to blame. They have resisted all attempts at reforming Fannie and Freddie, and pushed those organizations to become ever more reckless in their policies. This made the investments on Wall Street carrying those tainted mortgages go from bad to worse, and now we’re in a crisis and on the verge of a meltdown.
This is inexcusable. And if independent voters figure this out, their outrage over this situation will suddenly be directed against the party that pushed these disastrous policies. So Democrats want ACORN to get as much funding as possible, because they might need some new votes in their column on Election Day.
Voter fraud is in one sense the worst crime against democracy. The sole means of democratically choosing leaders is through voting. Every voter gets an equal vote. Every citizen who is a law-abiding adult has an equal voice in who will govern us. Our vote is sacred. Those engaging in voter fraud are in one sense no different than who intimidated voters at the polls in years past. Voter fraud may not be attended by the suffering that accompanied the beatings and water hoses of those days, but the assault on democracy is no less real.
ACORN is a discredited organization, and far too many of its leaders and workers have been prosecuted for felonies against democracy. The idea that a single dime of taxpayer money would ever go to such a group is an outrage.
And Mr. Obama needs to explain his involvement with them.