Sanitizing Obama's Past?

Posted: Jul 07, 2008 4:43 PM
It's funny.  When I was writing this morning that the MSM would be skirting journalistic malpractice if it continued to ignore Barack's ties to ACORN, I had no idea that the NY Times was running a story on his "organizing years."

Any mention of ACORN in the entire, lengthy piece?  Of course not.

But then, one gets the point when the piece identifies Saul Alinsky -- whose thinking "influenced" the organization Barack was working for -- as nothing more than "a Chicago native regarded as the father of community organizing."
He was also, of course, a militant radical.  He was also the subject of Hillary Clinton's senior thesis -- you know, the one the Clintons had Wellesley lock away from 1992 through the duration of the administration.

Lest any reader pick up on the fact that Alinsky was considerably more than just "the father of community organizing," the Times piece goes on to insist that "Mr. Obama shunned Mr. Alinsky‚Äôs strategy of using confrontation tactics like pressuring public officials and business leaders by picketing their homes."  (How nice.)

Of course, this soothing declaration seems at odds with the assessment of Mike Kruglik, the man who trained Barack in community organizing.  According to Ryan Lizza's piece in The New Republic in March of 2007:
Kruglik remembers this episode as an example of why, in ten years of training organizers, Obama was the best student he ever had. He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation . . ..

In fact, the Lizza piece is a treasure trove of interesting information about Barack's mindset.  It notes that 

At the heart of the Alinsky method is the concept of "agitation"--making someone angry enough about the rotten state of his life that he agrees to take action to change it; or, as Alinsky himself described the job, to "rub raw the sores of discontent."

Oh, and most insightfully, Lizza observes that

By defining himself as a "community organizer" above all else, Obama is linking himself to America's radical democratic tradition and presenting himself as an heir to a particular political style and methodology that, at least superficially, contrasts sharply with the candidate Obama has become.

Indeed.  Funny how all this context and insight slipped past America's "paper of record."