Friday, September 18, 2009

The Acorn Vote: House Democrats Just Stuck a Knife in their President and Party

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The Republican attack machine has been on a relentless mission to destroy ACORN, short for the Association for Community Organization and Reform Now, ever since the 2008 election campaign when conservatives saw it as an effective fundraising and get-out-the-vote group for Democrats and then-candidate Barack Obama. Rabid, inflammatory-rhetoric-fueled charges of inappropriate and illegal conduct have been flying ever since, especially as videotapes have recently surfaced showing ACORN workers advising alleged pimps and prostitutes on how to conceal their criminal behavior during the home-buying process.

On Thursday the GOP got its wish, landing a big step closer to "Mission Accomplished," as House Democrats folded like a bunch of $2 lawn chairs and voted under intense Republican pressure to cut off federal funding to ACORN, which had received roughly $53-million over the last 15 years.

The intensely harsh criticism by the right of the community group heated up ever since its sting operation, in which conservatives posing as the cartoonishly-dressed, Huggy Bear-lookin' Mack Daddies and their ho's, walked into a couple of ACORN offices and sought help in buying houses to operate their brothels filled with under-aged hookers. Clearly, the ACORN workers' behavior, caught on tape, is despicable and worthy of discipline and perhaps prosecution. But it's also comical, since you'd think any idiot could've realized how staged this all seemed. Unfortunately though, what it did do was give the GOP House and Senate thugs the smoking gun they needed to begin bringing down this important group.

It's important to note that what we're talking about here with these videotapes are two very isolated incidents of clear unethical and/or possible criminal behavior. Additionally, there's been a few cases nationally of ACORN workers illegally registering non-existent voters. But that's it. In comparison to all the good this organization does, the House's action Thursday, specifically the role played by the Democratic majority, is shameful.

According to its website, ACORN serves "low-and moderate-income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in about 75 cities across the country...ACORN members across the country work to raise the minimum wage or enact living wage policies; eliminate predatory financial practices by mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and tax preparation companies; win the development of affordable housing and community benefits agreements; improve the quality of and funding for urban public schools; rebuild New Orleans; and pass a federal and state ACORN Working Families Agenda, including paid sick leave for all full time workers...Our issue campaign victories have delivered approximately $15 billion in direct monetary benefits to our membership and constituency over the past 10 years...Since 2004, ACORN has helped more than 1.7 million low- and moderate-income and minority citizens apply to register to vote."

In the above context, eliminating federal funding of this important grassroots organization seems unjustified and excessive, and is surely a spineless knee-jerk reaction to political pressure from the right, which seeks to undermine Democrats and the Obama administration at every turn. Which is why it's truly incredible that Democrats aided in this travesty.

But here's why Thursday's funding vote is most troublesome. Firstly, it says to all Democrats that they're still afflicted with the abused-wife syndrome where, no matter how much power voters give them, no matter how big a majority they have, they're still gonna allow Republicans to bully them into voting against their own self-interests. Can you imagine the GOP doing this five years ago when it controlled both Houses of Congress? To the contrary, Republican thugs back then did whatever it could to attain and retain power. When former House Majority Leader Tom Delay didn't like the way voting had been going in certain parts of his home state Texas, he redrew the district lines which served to ensure future Republican victories. Would Delay have ever joined with the minority party to cut off funding to an organization that supposedly benefited Republicans? My God, just what the fuck is wrong with Democrats these days?

Next, and most important, it provides further ammo to the 'community organizer Nazi's' who denigrate this important function and relentlessly slander President Obama, America's most famous community organizer. The right will now use this vote to bolster their outlandish claims that Obama's got dangerous radical roots and philosophies. What is boils down to is this: House Democrats essentially did this week was say, "Yes, Republicans, we agree with you that community organizers are sleazy, untrustworthy and radical, and therefore don't deserve taxpayer funding." That they could do this, now, to their party, their president and the issues that ACORN advocates and supports, is unconscionable.

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Anonymous said...


President Obama does not want anything to stand in his way of getting things passed.

I too wish there would be something we could to stop the right wing machine.

Perhaps if some left leaning rich folks would get involved in a station like Fox Lies we would be able to fight them 24/7 like they do us. Where are our rich supporters?

Anonymous said...

We are in the midst of the greatest economic catastrophe since the 1930s. Programs like this, which are NOT under the purview of the Federal Government, SHOULD be cut off from Federal funds.

Let Acorn fund itself through voluntary donations from the private sector. The Federal Government has no business funding something like this.

Like it or not, Mr. Ostroy, belt tightening needs to come into play, and soon, if we are going to avoid having our currency become that of a banana republic.

And don't even get me started on the Cash for Clunkers or Home buyer tax credit nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. ACORN has received a few million dollars and because "Mickey Mouse" registered to vote a few hundreds times and because a couple of employees offered help to a pimp and his ho who were asking for help ... Congress wants to know where the money went and wants to cut off further funding.

Meanwhile the financial industry eviscerates the people of the United States of America causing several trillion dollars to disappear amid strong hints of financial fraud and are given trillions by the government and when we want to know where it went they just say they don't know or it's nobodies business. But are we "concerned" yet? Have we talked about maybe cutting THEM off?

Well, one or two have talked about it but it seems that elected officials have trouble summoning sufficient outrage when billionaires go bad. Easier to get mad at the poor.

Realist said...

Maybe this is why Obama wasn't leading from the Oval Office - he couldn't rely upon the Democrats in Congress to watch his back. If so, then it becomes understandable why he drifted so far to the right in his actions.

Another thought: if the Democrats really are this lame, then how is it that the GOP is essentially finished as a party in America? Many pundits have expressed this thought, and for a brief period I agreed with them. But as Obama's actions played into the GOP instead of benefiting those who elected him, I knew that the GOP would remain viable, maybe even eventually victorious. Now, with such milquetoasts currently in the majority while the minority rules, the GOP should have a shoo-in return to the majority in 2010 - and it will be the Democrats who fade into history as the GOP picks up where they left off.

Shelly nm said...

This is very upsetting! I'd like to know which "cavedmen" voted against their own interests. Truly boggles the mind!

Linda said...

You hit the nail right on the head. What is wrong with these house democrats in not pulling together in doing what is right for the people who voted them in their seats. I am so tired of democrats compromising with these losers who put this country in the mess we are in. Every week they are targeting the Obama administration with an irrevelant issue and the dems just cave in like spineless jerks. I have to give it to the GOP, they will never vote against their self interest. They stick together regardless of how bad their policies affect the country while the Dems can't stand together in doing what is right for the American people who voted them in their seats. It is sad to see how a party who control the house and senate allow losers like the GOP pull their strings. If the dems lose any seats in the upcoming elections, it will be their fault because they apparently have turned their backs on the people who voted them in. Very good report!

Anonymous said...

Why just stop at ACORN? The National Rifle Association has received hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars over the decades and is politically active. What about all the faith based initiatives? Isn't the Catholic church full of pedophiles and the Protestant church full of adulterers? We should get rid of the "faith-based" czar. If we are going after czars.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the 8 years of warrant-less wiretaps have produced enough information to make these dogs sit and rollover. They're all dirty, except those that stand and stand alone. Kucinich, Fiengold are two that come to mind. Who stood against the patriot act, if they did I bet they're good to keep in office, other than that; Vote their asses out!

Anonymous said...

I really should know better, but let's refresh our memories.

The Repubs will stop at nothing, and I mean nothing to detroy the Dems and the president. We should have expected this. They are spending their time coming after groups that helped us win rather than come up with policies that will give the voters a choice.

What can we Dem leaning folks do?

John said...

An interview with Bertha Lewis, the ACORN CEO, can be found at the link below. There is a video and text below.

Among other interesting items, it was revealed that only some 10 per cent of ACORN funding comes from the government.

I suggest all outraged about the house vote (there was a similar one in the senate) write your Democratic Reps and Senators to tell them you are appalled at their furthering the radical right agenda AND that money you would have contributed to their re-election campaigns will go to ACORN instead.

Anonymous said...

We Americans believe in equality under the law. Of course Acron should continute to be funded by the government to help out crooks in the lower econmic range, as those with wealth are supported and subsidized by our government. Fair is fair. If Rangal, Daschle, tax evaders, et al, then the Acorn clients as well.

Or, perhaps a better idea would be to make all obey the law so we can once more be a country which believes in the rule of law.

Anonymous said...


While you put a half-hearted attempt to condemn the workers, it is obvious from your tone that your view is to turn a blind eye to the massive corruption the ACORN group represents. This is just the tip of the iceberg and you know it. As much as you have spoken out against corruption under the GOP, it is obvious that in this case corruption is ok because the corrupt organization benefits your agenda.

As for the DEMS vote, they were screwed no matter which way they went on this one. The DEMS have a historical reputation for being:

Weak on national security / defense
Soft on crime
Blind to their own corruption

To continue supporting ACORN would underscore the last one ... again.

Anonymous said...

ditto the above

realtor from Vancouver said...

Hello, thanks for the post. I definitely agree that th US are facing the greatest financial crisis since the 1930'. On the other hand, people should realize that both depressions - in 30' and now were caused by living on debt and taking loads. So if we don't learn to live without borrowing money, we will never get out of this circle.

Take care,