The Community Organizer is Back

When Senator Obama was running for the nation’s highest office, his list of resume enhancers included the nebulous position of “community organizer.”  Nobody really knew what the heck that meant, only that it held an air of respectability and responsibility somewhere between Jesus and the Artful Dodger.   The community organizer shtick provided fodder even for Sarah Palin, who defended her time as mayor of a small Alaskan town as “sort of like being a community organizer, but with real responsibility.”

The industry of “community organizing” is really more about politics and power than improving the lives of the needy.  It’s a tradition that dates from the backstreets of Rome to the better organized machines of Tammany Hall.   The Affordable Care Act may be the greatest act of community organizing to date, and it sheds light on what being a community organizer is really about. Continue reading

President Obama Tight-Lipped about the Dreams of his Childhood

potus_kindle_singlesLast week I read the David Blum’s interview of President Obama for Amazon’s Kindle Singles. The interview was interesting, and it provided some insight into the president’s goals for the remainder of his term. He talked about the American dream. He talked about jobs. He talked about how Americans need to realize that we accomplish more together, i.e. through government, than we do as individuals. The interview gave me the impression that the president is a sincere man, who believes that things will change for the better if he can get the message out.

Obama talked about many things, but he avoided saying much about himself, and in the introduction, Blum notes that the president was reticent to speak about his own life. At a number of points in the interview, Blum attempts to steer the conversation towards more personal matters. He asks about Obama’s upbringing, his family, and his daughters. Each time, the president gets back to his talking points.

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Obama and the Burden of American Constitutionalism

POTUS POTESTAS

POTUS or POTESTAS

I’ve heard him say it more than twice now, and I’m starting to think there is something to it.  I’m not a paranoid conservative.  Nor do I hate liberals.  I prefer, like Reagan, to think my liberal friends merely suffer from some sort of mental illness.  But now I’ve heard the President say it on at least two occasions and it made my heart tick just a flash quicker, my head turn to the television, and my body freeze while I listened deeper into the meaning of his words.

On at least two occasions the President has used as an excuse for his inability to achieve his policy goals the fact that he isn’t an Emperor or Dictator.  He’s used both terms.  The implication of the argument is that if he were an Emperor or Dictator, he would be able to achieve all his campaign promises and policy goals.  All he needs, like Kirk from the bridge of the Enterprise, is more power. Continue reading

A Humble Democracy?

At the National Prayer Breakfast this week, President Obama called for America to become more humble. He said:

“In a democracy as big and as diverse as ours, we will encounter every opinion. And our task as citizens—whether we are leaders in government or business or spreading the word—is to spend our days with open hearts and open minds; to seek out the truth that exists in an opposing view and to find the common ground that allows for us as a nation, as a people, to take real and meaningful action.”

He goes on to say that we need humility to do these things. He’s probably right, we need humility, but his admonition comes across as a little naive to this ancient historian.

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