Community Organization Is A Conservative Notion

I spent the afternoon and early evening at Meetup yesterday. I wish I could do that more often. Meetup is a small company with a big mission – they are empowering the creation of the community organizations of the 21st century. Their slogan is A Meetup Everywhere about Most Everything.

As I sat there watching the employees demonstrating all of the projects they are working on and in the process showcasing all these amazing meetups they’ve helped start (currently over 100,000 monthly meetups serving almost 2mm meetup attendees), I started thinking about community organizing and George Bush and Ronald Reagan.

In George Bush’s first debate with Al Gore, he famously said "my opponent will empower Washington, but my passion and my vision is to empower
Americans to be able to make decisions for themselves in their own

Ronald Reagan was characteristically more succinct and even stronger with "leave us alone."

Sadly George Bush has done nothing in the past eight years to live up to that brand of conservatism as this post called The Bush Betrayal from Cato Institute points out.

And Bush’s would be successors McCain and Palin have made attacking community organization part of their sick attack on Obama (which appears to be working quite well right now). Doug Rushkoff put it this way after watching Palin’s speech:

What is it they hate? Guiliani and Palin both made it pretty clear:
community organizing. Community organizing is energized from below.
From the periphery. It is the direction and facilitation of mass energy
towards productive and cooperative ends. It is about replacing conflict
with collaboration. It is the opposite of war; it is peace.

Last night, the Republican Convention made it clear they prefer war.
They see the world as a dangerous and terrible place. Like the fascist
leaders satirized in Starship Troopers, they say they believe it is
better to be on the offensive, taking the war to the people who might
wish us harm than playing defense. It is better to be an international
aggressor – a bulldog with lipstick – than led by the misguided notion
that attacking people itself makes the world a more dangerous place.

In their attack on community organizing – a word combination they
pretended they didn’t know what it meant – Giuliani and Palin revealed
their refusal to acknowledge the kinds of bottom-up processes through
which our society was built, and through which local communities can
begin to assert some authority over their schools, environments, and
economies. Without organized communities, you don’t get the reduction
in centralized government the Republicans pretend to be arguing for.

Sarah Palin, the barbie doll pit bull attack dog possibly President of our country said this in her speech:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities

When I heard that line, I had that sick to my stomache feeling when I first saw our current President George Bush come onto the national scene. It was good. But it is wrong.

And I hope that true conservatives, who value smaller government, do it yourself, leave us alone will see through this bullshit that Palin and McCain are heaping on us.

John Heilemann wrote another of his brilliant political analysis pieces in the current issue of NY Magazine:

Palin herself, of course, derided Obama’s experience in her speech, in
particular his stint as a community organizer—which is no wonder, given
that occupation’s urban (read black, read poor, read black poor)

If McCain and Palin are the really the defender of conservative notions like citizen’s right to make decisions for themselves, and the rights of community groups like churches and other non government entities to empower people, they’d be celebrating community organization. But they only have one strategy which is to stick the knife in Obama and twist it and draw enough blood so that they win again. Heilemann always puts it best for me, so I’ll end with another quote from his NY Mag piece:

But there is a reason the Republicans keep falling back, again and
again, on such hoary tropes. The reason is that, from the age of Nixon
to the era of Lee Atwater to our current (yes, apparently, it’s not
dead yet) epoch of Rove, they have all too often worked. Us versus them
is a potent message—and one tailor-made to a candidate with the name
Barack Hussein Obama. Who, need it really be pointed out, is plainly
not like you.


Comments (Archived):

  1. TexasRepublican

    We (Republicans) don’t “hate” community organizers. (Every article you referenced is from a far left leaning source.) What we question is the ability of someone (Obama) who has only led community organizations to be President of our country. He has no real executive experience. Bush had it. McCain has it. Clinton had it. Palin has it. Obama does not.

    1. jedc

      I wouldn’t call CATO “far-left” by any means.

    2. kidmercury

      lol. fred can you please reblog this as comment of the day, we all need a good chuckle once in a while.rethuglicans had their chance with ron paul, the quintessential example of true conservatism (which is all about limited government and strict adherence to the constitution). but no, ya’ll had to opt for an insane bully like john mccain. learn what mccain’s fellow vietnam veterans have to say about him: http://www.vietnamveteransagainstj...

      1. fredwilson

        i can’t bring myself to reblog texas repulican’s comment because i’d have to write a long blog post rebutting it, which I’d love to do, but i don’t have time right now unfortunately

    3. Eric

      Obama was a community organizer between ages 24 to 27. When you write, “someone (Obama) who has only led community organizations” you betray willful ignorance. By age 27 Sarah Palin had been a part-time sports reporter and a part-owner of a failed car wash.If we’re going to compare experience, let’s not be intentionally stupid about it. You want to compare Obama’s experience to Sarah Palin’s, by all means do so. But compare Obama’s experience as a US Senator, Illinois State legislator, professor of constitutional law, attorney AND community organizer to Palin’s experience as governor of Alaska and mayor of Wasilla. Because that’s the correct comparison.

      1. fredwilson

        And manager of one of the greatest political campaigns in recent memory,slayer of the clinton beast (I am a clinton fan btw), and current king ofthe democrat party. If Palin ran in the repub primaries, she’d have gottenless votes than Ron Paul

        1. andyswan

          Sorta like biden did?

        2. stevequeens

          Obama does not control day to day operations of his campaign. His adviser, Plouffe does.

        3. Reality Check

          Fred, let me educate you on some of the key facts about ‘running a campaign’ because I have worked in behind the scenes politics for years, managing campaigns, etc. The candidate manages nothing. He is handed a schedule and told where to go and what to say. Sure, he/she has to be competent and charismatic, but he’s not doing any managing. He’s not looking at budgets, not making staffing decisions (except maybe at the very highest levels), and he’s certainly not writing policy, developing agenda, etc. Obama has one of the most extensive network of advisors – some people might say this is smart, and from a political standpoint it is, but for the educated folks among us, this tells us that he doesn’t have the sense to form his own opinions/analysis. Whereas, McCain knows defense and national security policy like the back of his hand, not to mention military and conflict mgmt policy, international relations, etc. But more than anything, running a campaign, regardless of the amount of money raised or the size of the staff, cannot ever compare to running the multi-trillion dollar US budget, managing deficits and economic challenges, managing a war, creating productive foreign poliicy, running a $1.7 trillion healthcare system and all of the other ‘little’ tasks that come with being executive of this country.As someone who works with startup companies and working on growth strategies for them, you should be able to understand this better than anyone. It’s like saying Mark Zuckerberg could run the country after growing his dorm room startup, when in reality, he can’t even run Facebook as it is today.And, finally, to put it into perspective, I ran a statewide campaign as a senior in college. I can guarrantee you that didn’t make me eligible to be Governor.

          1. Sethop

            Were you *running* for Governor? There’s a difference between leading and managing. Obama has shown incredible leadership in his campaign. As Fred says, he’d make an awesome CEO as well as an awesome President.I’m not surprised to discover that you’ve been (or are) a republican campaign manager, your comments on this blog certainly have the hallmarks of a professional spinmeister.

        4. andyswan

          I would also note that this will only be “one of the greatest political campaigns in recent memory” if Obama actually wins.If he gets beat by a “lipstick barbie pit-bull idiot nobody”….well, what does that say about his ability to run a campaign (and by extention, his ability to run the country since his campaign is apparently one of his biggest accomplishments?)I’d put Reagan 80 and 84, and Clinton 92 as WAY better campaigns than this nailbiter. You start with the biggest head start of the last 30 years….a MASSIVELY unpopular President and “generic Democrat” trouncing “McCain”….and turn that into a nailbiter….and it’s a good campaign?Knocking off Hillary was amazing…I’ll give him that….but what now that the real game begins?

    4. fredwilson

      i would hire Obama in a second to run any company. he’s a masterful manager and a great leader. Palin wouldn’t even get past the initial look at her resume. she’s a joke and it’s a joke on the american public that she’s a heartbeat away from the presidency if McCain wins. a terrible bad joke.

      1. S.t

        If you wanted to hire someone to run a company, you would want to hire OBAMA’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER, not Obama. The CAMPAIGN MANAGER is the one making all the decision. Obama is just the star off the show.

        1. fredwilson

          obama hired the campaign manager. CEO’s do three things; hire the best people and retain them, raise money and keep the cash balance plentiful, and set the overall vision for the company. by that measure, Obama is the CEO of the year.

        2. santhonys

          This is the line of thinking that I can’t really understand.You’re trying to discredit the Obama MOVEMENT by giving credit to his campaign manager… as if that were a bad thing. Firstly, Obama’s campaign has been far more consistent with his personal experience/voting/positions than McCain. McCain’s positions have radically shifted to appease the GOP and to run on social conservative issues.Second, to Fred’s point: Obama’s ability to attract the best and brightest people will be a huge asset as president (and would be the same if he were running a company). So the fact that he has a kick-ass campaign manager who’s running on a positive platform and creating a political movement should be to his credit.Go Fred! Great Post.

        3. johnmccarthy

          Biggest part of being an executive (CEO, President, Governor) is hiring the right people. Obama has done that. QED

          1. Brian

            So is George Bush a great CEO for hiring Rove?I love how when Reagan and W have great people working for them, they are “puppets”. However, when democrats have great people working for them they are “great executives”.Bully for Obama for figuring out how to beat Hillary by winning the far left caucuses, but he has not made any great decisions since then. Win the election, and then we can say he is great at managing campaigns.

          2. Reality Check

            Oh, that’s great logic, John … you want to elect Obama b/c he’s hired good people. With that argument, McCain and Palin should be elected too, because they’ve hired great people. Their staff got more people watching the RNC than DNC, and almost more viewers for Palin than Obama. I agree that hiring the right people is a part of being a good exec, but come on … you can’t expect real American voters to elect someone because of that. You’re so out of touch with the heart of America. I advise you to look through the polling data from battleground states and you will learn what real voters (eg, those people that actually turn out on election day) want in a candidate. Hint: it has nothing to do with who they hire.

          3. johnmccarthy

            Note that I said “biggest” part, not the only part. It is obviously a multi-faceted role. And as I look at McCain and his choice of Palin, I am not impressed. Obviously, feel free to disagree.I will be voting on election day. I am a real American.And the “out of touch with the heart of America” claim, probably guilty. Although I currently hold an elected position in my town. So I am probably in touch with some American hearts.

      2. jedc

        Generally I’m not the biggest fan of celebrity political commenting since most celebrities can’t seem to make a persuasive argument. But I just saw a short AP interview with Matt Damon that seems to _completely_ encapsulate what I’m worried about when it comes to Palin:

      3. jaredstill

        Whoa Fred. I think that’s a shockingly bad take. I feel your political emotions far outpaced reason on that take. There’s plenty of thoughtful analysis that puts the Palin/Obama experience at a draw. While I totally respect that Obama has “it”; the charisma, the ability to get people to ‘buy-in’, etc, I think you completely miss the fact that Palin has the same “it” factor, because you totally dislike and disagree with everything she stands for. She single-handedly energized an entire party. That’s “it” factor. Doesn’t say much for McCain as a candidate, but hey, I’m from Arizona and have never been the biggest fan, while I respect the guy. But his pick was brilliant from my perspective, and I love Palin as a current and future candidate.Please don’t get lost down the “she’s a joke path” out of dislike….you’re way more thoughtful than that.

        1. fredwilson

          i voted for Hillary which i blogged about. but i have been watching Obama closely, i’ve read his books, watched him debate a half dozen times, he’s earned my vote and he’s got it. What i’ve seen of Palin to date is not impressive and her opinions are wacky. banning books? c’mon. that nuts.

          1. jaredstill

            Which is also completely, and 100% untrue. That’s been debunked by even mainstream media outlets over the last few days Fred…C’mon, burning books?! Even the ridiculous “Obama is a Muslim extremist ” emails blush at that.What a witch-hunt.

          2. fredwilson

            i didn’t say burning books jared.

          3. jaredstill

            I’m sorry. Meant ‘banning’. Some sort of psychological slip 😉

          4. Brian

            Fred.Stop watching MSNBC. The book banning charge is a complete fabrication.The books on the banned list were not even in print when Palin was mayor.

          5. fredwilson

            Time mag – posted the URL below

          6. fredwilson

            time magazine printed it…”Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.”

    5. nickdavis

      What exactly is McCain’s “executive experience”? 26 years of “legislative experience”?So, lets drop this whole shenanigan. John McCain and Barack Obama are both qualified to be president of the United States because they are:-Natural-Born Citizens-over 35 years old-residents for at least 14 yearsOn top of that, they’ve both won millions of votes in their parties’ primary elections.Now could we focus on the issues that face this country and who has better ideas and who is most likely to move this country forward? Please? Issues? Anyone?

    6. markslater

      please take your Texan back, please. He is an embarrassment to your state, the party, this country, and any self respecting suggest George bush is anything other than a total idiot is pantomiming. I will listen to arguments about McCain’s credibility, and agree with some of his policies and views, but lets please refrain from calling the bush presidency anything other than what it is – possibly the greatest failed presidency in the history of this wonderful country.

      1. Reality Check

        mark, please understand I’m not defending the bush presidency here, but the same thing – ‘possibly the greatest failed presidency in the history of this country’ – was said when clinton was a lame duck, so spare us the exagerdrama. despite what you hear in the media where people are always talking gloom and doom, this country is better than we were eight years ago and certainly better than we were seven years ago today. it certainly isn’t all due to W (a lot of dems were involved in leadership since then too you know) but you can save the ‘world is falling in on us’ mindset for the out of touch obama supporters (see above), b/c voters hate hearing that shit. If you’re merely trying to say, ‘let’s stick to the issues in front of us here,’ then I completely agree with you.

        1. markslater

          are you serious? media? possibly the most ridiculous post i have ever read.identify 10 things that are better and I’ll give you 100 that are worseidentify and OO touch Obama supporter and I’ll give 10 like yourself that are so deluded as to think that W presided over a meaningful administration.and its not the ‘world falling in’ approach. this country deserved a lot more than what he delivered.

          1. Reality Check

            like i said, not defending bush and never said he presided over meaningful administration. i just don’t subscribe to doom and gloom and most other voters don’t either. i see things like terrorists being killed, the surge in iraq working and positive gdp despite talk of recession, and that keeps me pretty optimistic. either way, why are we debating bush … he is out in a few months. oh, and this country deserves more than what obama has delivered, which is … ?????

          2. markslater

            the precise reason why we are debating bush is because people like you are trying to give us 90% of 4 more years. the reason bush is relevant in this discussion is because bush used the tragic events of this day to lead us hook line and sinker down a monumental rat hole of a war, one that McCain wants to continue.Did you ever in your life stop to think that maybe, somehow, possibly we made a mistake? or are you still too busy putting whipped cream on dogshit by identifying the ‘surge’ as positive?i’ll accept that we supported the notion of a response to the events of today 7 years ago, i’ll accept that his notion of protection was offense, i’ll even begrungingly pass on the phoney lies as the basis for the invasion – what i wont accept is 4 more years of this appalling disaster. We need a change and we absolutely don’t need more of the same.And your comments on the economy are positively side splitting.

          3. Reality Check

            Mark, unless you’re Paul Krugman or a senior economist at Pimco, then you don’t want to debate the economy. I bet you believe a large percentage of the country is either out of work or dissatisfied with their job, don’t you (think/research before you say yes)? You probably think we’re experiencing a recession right now (what was the latest GDP report?). I bet you think the price of oil adjusts based on speculators too? Trust me, I’d stay away from that issue if I were you.In terms of the war, Mark, I’m not a military strategist nor do I have the qualifications to comment on war strategy (nor does Obama or Biden for that matter, seeing that neither served). As such, I don’t attempt to Monday morning quarterback policy/strategy around the Iraq war. Is it a great situation? Of course not. Do we want to end it? Of course we do. Are you qualified to make the comments you did? Speaking of something being side splitting …But, since John McCain not only served in a war, but was a military officer with a high command, and completed the National War College, not to mention the fact that he has access to intelligence, analysis and information that neither you nor I could ever dream of, I’m going to go with the safe bet here that McCain might know just a little bit more than what you or I think about the current situation in the Middle East.If you can’t make an argument without regurgitating the Obama campaign talking points, then I’ll just assume you’re talking out of your ass. Nice try though.

          4. markslater

            who are you – share with us your resume please – go ahead and read mine if your so worried about my experience or qualifications.oh thats right you can’t.and it seems like you have been reading too many Clancy novels.and the oil speculation comment continues the circus. Stop reading or quoting from the economist and get your own opinion.

          5. Sethop

            Halarious! And I note that he hasn’t replied, can’t think why…. I read in another of his comments that he’s got plenty of experience running campaigns, so a repug operative, probably not good enough to be on the McCain payroll or he wouldn’t be wasting his time commenting on this blog. When he saw your resume he must have shat his pants.

          6. markslater

            hello out there – Mr campaigner or academic. How are your views on the economy doing now?I’ll tell you. Your boss just suspended your campaign and now has you scurrying for verbage. Yup that little can of whipped cream is now gonna get abused on that dogshit again. Let me guess – blip? GDP stable? short sellers replacing oil speculators? i’ll save you some search time and quote from some research:Durable goods orders plummeted by 4.5% m/m in August, bringing to an abrupt end the recent run of stronger than expected data on bookings. The decline would have been an even bigger 5.0% if not for another sizeable increase in orders from the military. Transportation orders fell by 8.9%, driven by an 8.1% drop in motor vehicle orders and a 38.1% drop in commercial aircraft orders.Excluding transport, core orders fell by 3.0%, dragged down by sizeable declines in metals and machinery. Core non-defence capital goods orders fell by 2.0%, while shipments in the same category dropped by 1.7%. These steep declines suggest that either overseas orders have fallen sharply as a result of the economics slowdowns in the UK and Europe, or domestic demand took another turn for the worse. Either way this is bad news as far as Q3 GDP is concerned.Elsewhere, Hurricane Ike was largely responsible for the jump in initial jobless claims to 493,000 last week, from 461,000 the week before. The Labor Department estimates that as many as 50,000 of those claims were due to Ike. Nevertheless, even without those 50,000, claims are still well above the 400,000 mark, suggesting that non-farm payrolls are falling heavily again in September.Elsewhere, US new home sales plummeted by 11.5% m/m in August to a 17-year low of 460,000, from 520,000, suggesting that the housing market is still getting weaker. Nearly all the decline occurred in the West, however, which makes us suspicious that there might be some sort of distortion at work here that could be reversed in the coming months.The number of new homes for sale continued to decline, but not by enough to prevent the supply of unsold homes rebounding to 10.9 months, from 10.4. The median price of new homes fell by 6.5% over the past year. Overall, just when we think the housing market has lost its capacity to shock, we get a set of figures like this. At least sales can’t fall below zeroIf you can actually look yourself in the mirror and say more of the same, If you can actually use oil speculation as an obama distraction for your campaign. If you actually really care about this country then you will do us all a favor and think hard before you vote more of the same.I’ll be back here next week with ‘more of the same’ on this devastating economic decline caused in large part by a strategically flawed and failed administration.

          7. Sethop

            Pretty scary stuff there Mark. I’m not sure how the disqus formatting works but given the indentation I suspect you replied to me rather than him, and he won’t get the email notification, if in fact he has email notifications for replies turned on. I note that he has failed to reply to any of the pointed replies I have made to his recent “verbiage” – or perhaps we should call it “garbiage”.

  2. heif

    odd thing is, giuliani laughed at & mocked “community organizer” (… ) despite the vital role of community organizers around 9/11.(and worth noting on this 9/11 that i wouldn’t have started meetup if it weren’t for the community organizing i saw & experienced on 9/11. (bad story rendition here:… ))

    1. BillSeitz

      blasphemer! You know the city could only be healed by Rudy’s tears.

  3. kidmercury

    “Sarah Palin, the barbie doll pit bull attack dog”hahaha. scoreboard: fred wilson 1, stupid rethuglicans 0though the race is close, and i really think obama needs to drop biden and choose a hot babe — one whose hotness blows away palin — as his VP. she’ll then get all the magazine covers and americans will vote for her. bonus points if she’s not white to get the minority vote. as an indian dude, i have to nominate padma laxmi for dumbocratic VP. though don’t think i’m racist, i love women of all nationalities and thus encourage hot chicks everywhere to run for VP of the other news, happy 9/11 everyone. today is a celebratory day to reclaim the freedom that was taken from you. think of it as boston tea party 2.0. learn more:

  4. Erika

    Calling Palin a barbie doll is MASSIVELY sexist and a pathetic non-substantive jab. Palin could be Obama who claims his executive experience is running his campaign.

    1. jedc

      Neither McCain nor Obama have recent executive experience within the last 20-30 years. Both, however, are executives of their campaigns.Obama – Incredibly organized, consistent, no leaks from staff, HQ outside the Beltway.McCain – Damn near went bankrupt because he wasn’t watching spending, above-average turnover in staff with reports of warring factions.Though McCain has certainly taken some bold steps recently, Obama has had an incredibly-run campaign. (Less than a year ago and few people thought he would make it through Super Tuesday.)

      1. phil

        I always love this argument- great advocacy for george bushs incredibly run campaigns and therefore his executive ability. Or you could wipe the sleep from your eyes and realize these candidates are puppets for schmidt and axelrod.

      2. Josh

        I think this is the first time in history a candidate is actually running on the notion that he runs a good campaign!This is a joke of an argument, sorry.

    2. fredwilson

      i thought long and hard before using the words barbie doll. i have never called Hillary Clinton a barbie doll nor would I call any woman who wasn’t clearly using her looks as her only substantive asset. this woman took six years and five colleges to get a degree before graduating from Univ of Idaho in 1987. she’s an “idiot babe” to use Bob Dylan’s words in a different context.

      1. andyswan

        How is she “using her looks”?I understand that many think she didn’t graduate from the right schools or enjoy the proper grooming….but you are talking about a woman that went from nobody to one of the most effective and popular governors in the Country.Many women, especially those without ivy league prep and aerial adulterer husbands to ride to the top, find this story inspiring…just as obamas improbable rise is inspiring to all of us who know how amaZing this Country and its opportunities for upward mobility are.

        1. fredwilson

          C’mon AndyCan you say with a straight face that she’d have been picked if she lookedlike Hillary?

          1. andyswan

            I have no idea. Would Obama have been nominated if he looked like Jesse jackson? Who gives a shit.

          2. fredwilson

            i give a shit because it’s the only reason she got picked.

          3. andyswan
          4. andyswan

            I would argue this, but honestly I hope this line of thinking finds it’s way into the Obama campaign. I love seeing amazing women continually underestimated prior to a fight.Obama, I would vote for you if you replaced Biden with someone hotter than Palin….maybe Jessica Simpson?Sincerely,Easily fooled red-state hick

          5. kidmercury

            now we’re talkin’ serious politics! :Dthough i gotta disagree with you on jessica simpson, andy. i’ve heard she has bad skin. yes, i know the wonders of photoshop — but i also know the wonders of HDTV.dumbocrats, let this be another lesson in why you should’ve supported kucinich. forget about the fact that he’s an honest guy (a true rarity in washington) or the fact that he led the impeachment against bush (a necessary and important thing, if only for the principle of justice and to show that no one is above the law). but MOST IMPORTANTLY, kucinich scored a wife 20 years younger than him. she’s a tall redhead, would’ve been the hottest first lady in american history. would’ve made me proud to be an american!!!though i stand by my original comment. padma laxmi for VP. seriously people, think about it.

          6. ryan

            Andy, could you please explain how she is one of the most popular governors? She is the most talked about now that she is running for VP.And to Fred, today’s blog, or rather this trail of comments, is a great example of how the republicans, and the media, turn politics away from the issues to things that don’t really matter.

          7. andyswan

            Sure:… 80% approval rating as of July.One of the reasons is her accomplishments in working with Democrats and her destruction of the ol’ boy oil lobby in Alaska, as mentioned in this Newsweek article from before her nomination:”Palin, too, earns high marks from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. During a debate earlier this year over a natural-gas bill, State Senate Minority Leader Beth Kerttula was astounded when she and another Democrat went to see the new governor to lay out their objections. “Not only did we get right in to see her,” says Kerttula, “but she asked us back twice—we saw her three times in 10 hours, until we came up with a solution.” Next week in Juneau, Alaska lawmakers will meet to overhaul the state’s system for taxing oil companies—a task Palin says was tainted last year by an oil-industry lobbyist who pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers.”

          8. Stevedowns

            It would be amazing if Palin WEREN’Tt the most popular governor in the country, considering that her’s is one of the smallest and most politically homogeneous states in the country. So it’s not saying much. I think Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, should be the Dem VP nominee because he’s very popular and, hey, Brooklyn’s more than 3x as populous as AK.

          9. Josh

            You have obviously never been to Alaska. Your Brooklyn argument is ridiculous. The woman is Chief Executive of a state with a budget far bigger than Brooklyn. It is also a state that accounts for 20% of our oil. Keep thinking this crap and you will continue to get beat. People in “flyover” America continue to see people like you as elitists and they shrug at voting for one. This is why Gore, Kerry, and Obama will lose and what people in the democratic party forget.Moreover, you forget that your candidate has 3 years in the Senate, the majority of which he spent campaigning. What experience does he have again?

          10. garth

            wait… so Steve’s point was her popularity can be attributed to Alaska’s political homogeneity combined with a small population. I don’t think he’s wrong about that. He didn’t say anything about experience or who had the biggest budget or the most oil.

          11. Steve

            Garth is right that you’re refuting a point I didn’t make. And Alaska isn’t flyover country. But Illinois is, so stop buying in so easily to all the cliches.

          12. Steve

            And I’ve been to Alaska several times, so you’re wrong on that one too. Ketchikan , Juneau, and Anchorage

          13. Reality Check

            How do you figure this is the only way she got picked? That’s just your speculation. She has more executive experience than Barrack Obama, so why was he picked? (I know you don’t have the balls to answer that truthfully).

          14. fredwilson

            she doesn’t have more experience than Obama. that’s the thing that has gotten me so pissed off. she’s a neophyte. two years as gov of alaska and before that mayor of a town of 7000. compare that to US Senator, Illinois State legislator, professor of constitutional law, attorney AND community organizer and manager of one of the best campaigns ever run that slayed not one but two clintons. she’s a lightweight and he’s a heavyweight. but somehow this post has turned into a comparison of obama vs palin and that sucks. its obama vs mccain that matters.

          15. Reality Check

            Well, Fred, everyone out there is talking about Obama vs Palin, so you libs better figure something out fast. And, she’s not a neophyte, and by you saying that, shows your neoteric and naive outlook on politics. She has executive experience and that is what voters love to see. That’s why you haven’t seen a senator elected as potus since the ’60’s. Senators are notorious for being seen as not having real exec experience, but this round we don’t have a chance do we? Smart on McCain’s behalf though to choose s/o with that experience, rather than a 30yr vet of Washington and from the second smallest state in the union. Btw, why don’t you look up how many days Obama has spent in Washington fulfilling his roles as a Senator compared to how many days he’s been campaigning for the presidency (hint: he’s spent more time in NH and Iowa than in DC or Illinois since being elected … combined). That doesn’t even include his 130+ ‘present’ votes while ‘serving’ as state senator in Chicago. Keep trying …

          16. Sethop

            I always thought that Senators don’t get elected because they tend to have a voting record that can be used against them, and governors tend to bring a stronger political machine with them. I’d never heard the words “lack of *executive* experience” used until the McBush lobbying team decided they needed some way to justify McCain picking a Neophyte – despite all his crowing about Obama’s supposed lack of experience – because she looks good on TV and will give the preachers better talking points to bring their flocks out en-masse than McCain ever would have. done. Picking her for VP really must have hurt McCain, he wanted Lieberman apparently, probably fought the decision tooth and nail, but in the end the lobbyists talked him into it. There’s a lesson there, methinks…

          17. Guest

            Obama had never written a single legislation!!That’s like someone who calls themselves an engineer but has never written a single line of code!!!! Would you invest in that person?Or would you invest in someone who was CEO of small, less influential company for only a few years, but had made literally hundreds of meaningful and successful decisions in those few years. Palin has an 80% approval rating, congress has a 9% approval rating…Again, who would you invest in, the CEO of an incredibly successful small company, or the best engineer at a failing large company?this post is purely ideological. Probably the most bitter post I’ve ever read on this blog. It kind of feels like with McCain surging in most polls this week and Palin becoming the “celebrity” Obama was, democrats are just in disarray. All I hear is anger, no thoughtfulness as is the norm on this blog.

          18. stevequeens

            Obama also never authored a published article while a law professor.

          19. khylek

            Fred, that frustration you’re feeling? That’s *exactly* why she was picked, not just because of her looks. In one of my long ago History classes, I read a theory about elections from Elihu Root (a cabinet member for Teddy Roosevelt). It’s not who wins the issues that wins the election. It’s who defines what the issues are.The longer we talk about Palin’s vs. Obama’s qualifications, the more McCain eventually wins that argument. McCain still wins the experience argument, so as long as we talk about that and not the issues Obama is strong on, the stronger McCain gets.

          20. markslater

            that i agree with fred – not sure about the looks comment though.

          21. Gideon

            Agreed…Obama vs McCain. If Palin were running for President then Palin vs Obama. To compare apples to apples, compare Palin to Biden. I do not agree with your assessment of Palin and her merits based on her looks. Let me state plain and clear that I normally vote Republican. But I am so disgusted with both sides more concerned with fighting each other than fighting for America that it is hard to listen to the debates and empty promises anymore (from both sides).However, back to Palin, regardless of homogeneous populous or not. She is popular in her state. She took on the incumbents and big oil and won. She rose from an unassuming past to enact real change, for the better in Alaska. She has denied federal funds and sold the governor’s corporate jet. She appears to be fiscally responsible. Palin has more merit than her looks and she has proved it time and time again. Just because she does not have a political pedigree does not mean that she does not have merit. I respect a woman that came from nothing and rose to the top, while beating the big boys along the way.As for Senator Obama, regardless of where he stands on anything else, I could never, in good conscience vote for a person that supported partial birth abortions and absolutely no restrictions on abortion at all. It is sad that we have to have the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Senator Obama voted against an Illinois version of this. For the uninitiated, this Protection Act is to protect babies that are completely separated from their mothers. Babies were born during failed abortions and then killed after they were completely free from their mothers. Regardless of your beliefs, complete separation from the mother and living on their own accord means that poor soul should have rights and at that point – It Is Murder!Obama as a community organizer, c’mon. Obama wants to try community organization on a global front. This man has stated that he doesn’t want to take sides. He is running for the supreme position of representing a side – America. How can you not take sides? Not salute your flag?Regardless of political affiliation, Obama is just bad for America. Terrorists were advocating for his presidency. That should clue you in on something. As I stated earlier, I normally vote Republican. But I would vote for Hillary if she were running. Hell, she already ran the White House for 8 years…she can do it again.Normally I do not go to this level on blogs like this. Blogs that are supposed to be about business, finance, technology, etc. You really should have posted this thread on a political blog. You lost cred Fred and I will no longer follow your blog.

          22. Stevedowns

            What brand of “reality” to you subscribe too? Here’s a point of distinction which you fail to recognize. Obama was picked, right or wrong, by Democratic voters. So you can try and make the case that however many millions of them all voted for him for some cynical reason. When you say, why was he picked, do you want to ask each of these voters? Palin, on the other hand, was chosen by McCain, so it’s legitimate to take her pick as a reflection of his judgment, or lack thereof.

          23. Reality Check

            You’re still comparing Obama and Palin. Beautiful. Too easy.

      2. stevequeens

        This comment really undermines every other semi-legitimate concern you raised. As if no one has had trouble during school before going on to great things. In fact, Obama himself admits to being lost and doing a lot of drugs during college as he was still “finding” himself. He refuses to release his records or his senior paper. Bush, Kerry, Gore, McCain…all poor students in college.

        1. fredwilson

          doing drugs in college is not “trouble”, it’s called mind expansion.

          1. Reality Check

            ooookkkkkkkkaaaayyyyyyyy, i’m just going to assume that was a joke. even though i didn’t see any little smiley face thing after the comment, i’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on that one.Fred, I think it’s funny that this entire post is about defending Obama as being a community organizer. If that’s what the Obama campaign and his supporters are going to be talking about for the next 6 weeks, then McCain-Palin will absolutely win. Why aren’t you talking about his steller voting record or major reform programmes, or outstanding policy initiatives or his years of experience. Oh wait … nevermind, I see the humor in that statement now. By all means, continue talking about his ‘mind expansion’.

          2. Guy Platt

            Why would that be a joke? Finding oneself also sounds like a great thing to explore at college (actually I think we should all spend time finding ourselves). I still am and I’m older than Obama (and I don’t mean to imply that I’m doing drugs to do so).

      3. leigh

        Sarah Palin scares the sh*t out of me but really? Using her looks? I mean she’s got ok glasses but I’m not getting that and like others commenting here, don’t really see the relevance one way or the other. After all, charisma is one of the reasons Obama beat the hell out of Hilary in the first place (all those comparisons to John and Jackie the first Presidential Family media stars). Oh well, what the hell do i know, it took me six years and five universities to get my under graduate degree (although in fairness to me I did end up graduating from the University of Toronto which is a darn fine school).

        1. Evan Schreiber


      4. themaria

        I agree with Fred here. I think she got picked because she is a woman, young and exciting (good looks don’t hurt either). Basically, the opposite of McCain (although I do respect him as a person). She is not the brightest tool in the shed and certainly lacks the experience. McCain’s campaign has stated that Palin will not be speaking with the press until the press can “show her some deference.” WTF! I have never heard of this in an election campaign. If you are on the ticket, you better be prepared to speak to the country and the press. By making this statement, the McCain campaign is simply stating that either: 1) they don’t trust her to say the right things due to her lack of smarts / experience or 2) she hasn’t been properly briefed (which again points to the fact that she IS a neophyte.And has everyone forgotten that McCain and Palin had met **once** in person prior to his nomination of her as his VP? Clearly that decision was grounded in substance.

        1. themaria

          I should also state that as a woman, I feel offended by her nomination in this capacity. The fact that she is a “barbie” / “arm candy”, who can be told when to speak and when to shut up. And even more bothersome is that the women who are identifying with her, are willing to vote for her **because** she is a woman, and not because of her merits (or lack thereof). Events like this unravel all the progress we have made in women’s rights.Seriously… This woman publicly stated that “The end is in sight” re: Iraq war. She can not be taken seriously.Coming back to the original “meat” of Fred’s post: community organizing rocks and is a foundation of a successful democracy. People who are scared of it are the same people who insist on usurping our rights in this country. As the web is making everything more transparent and power shifts back to the people, community organizing is ever more important.

  5. ErikSchwartz

    There have not been conservatives in the GOP in a long time.

    1. Yule Heibel

      Bingo.With her pitbull-with-lipstick joke Palin revealed that she’s radical and authoritarian.Radicals don’t “conserve.” Authoritarians don’t need to. Authoritarian radicals are more likely to act like supermen (or superwomen) who can reinvent the world, albeit within a limited definition of what they believe to be human nature (immutable).What that means for the rest of us is that we get to stand in the prison house of our “nature,” while all around us the world gets an ideological re-fitting.And there’s nothing conservative about that, imo. If you’re a radical who understands human nature as unchanging and unaltered by history, then human nature (and by extension: *humans*) become “stuff,” sort of like materiel to be used up or suppressed, but not *conserved*….After all, women can always make more humans/ have more babies, no choice about that!Individualism, individual liberty, individual freedoms, individual betterment: all subordinate, under radical agendas, and expendable when necessary.Barbie Doll wasn’t a mom. Palin is, and I would bet dollars to donuts she raises her family in an authoritarian manner. I don’t raise my kids that way, and in my typically wishy-washy namby-pamby “liberal” way, I actually am stupid enough to believe that I can contribute to making the world a better place by raising good kids.What an idiot, eh?According to Palin, it would be so much better to give strict guidelines, lay down the law, “clean house,” and if someone screws up, make them get married …and start doing the same thing in their own (new) family.

  6. S.t

    Dems have been bamboozled by Obama

    1. fredwilson

      and you’ve been bamboozled by something in your life that has taught you to hate s.t.i enjoy your comments but you are so completely bought into the right wing hate mongering machine that it makes me feel sad for you

      1. S.t

        I know I’m winning the argument when libs start talking about their ‘feelings’.

        1. BN1019

          From the NY Times:”Aides traveling with Ms. Palin have reported back to associates that she is a fast study — asking few questions of her policy briefers but quickly repeating back their main points — who already has considerable ease and experience before cameras.“A former aide in Alaska who had helped prepare Ms. Palin for her campaign debates there said she had a talent for distilling information into digestible sound bites. The aide said she generally prefers light preparatory materials to heavy briefing books, and prefers walking through potential questions and answers with aides to holding mock sessions.”Just what we need, another Republican politician who is intellectually lazy.

      2. Will

        Ugh – too much politics – even Peter King is hitting me with it on SI. It’s tough not to agree that Obama is one of the smartest people we’ve had run for office in a long time. It’s also REALLY tough for me to understand why he’s falling behind in the polls. If that continues, and he loses an election in which the Democratic party should have a huge advantage, dems everywhere will have to question their decision making – and whether they were bamboozled:1. to deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery, flattery, or the like; humbug; hoodwink (often fol. by into): They bamboozled us into joining the club. 2. to perplex; mystify.Come on, Fred – seems a bit harsh to tell ST that he is full of hate and you have pity/sadness for him, because he doesn’t think a political candidate is hoodwinking the party. He’s not SOOOO bad.

        1. Ted Rogers

          Wow. I’m blown away by this thread. Fred — I love your blog and admire your work to keep it the freshest, most relevant take on early-stage VC etc. on the web.So it’s surprising to me that the level of discourse has deteriorated to this extent — probably a measure of the emotional investment we all have in this election.I am for McCain-Palin for a lot of reasons, including the belief that the federal government has gotten way too big, with a commensurate impact on the free market., individual liberty, personal responsibility, etc. Nobody’s perfect but I am going to vote for the candidate that promises to do LESS.I dislike Obama because he views US citizens as victims that are acted upon, rather than the freeest people on earth whose fate is, generally, a product of their choices. By the way, Palin has one thing on her resume that I find very important, something that the other three candidates lack — experience in the private sector. I understand she has owned two businesses — that’s valuable experience for governing.Lastly, this drives me crazy – why is it that when the Republicans go negative on the opposition, it is lies, distortion, meanness, “swift-boating’ etc. but we never hear those wails when the Democrats do? Remember the Dem ad about James Byrd – how George Bush had ‘murdered him all over again’ because he didn’t support crimes legislation. Negative attacks are bi-partisan.By the way, nothing the Swift Boat vets have said has ever been disproved — Boone Pickens offered $1mm to anyone who could and, yup, it is still unclaimed.

          1. ariel

            Please provide one quote where Obama views US citizens as victims — in fact quite the opposite. He constantly tells parents that they need to take responsibility for their kids (turn off the TV, read to them at night, make sure they are doing their homework, etc.) rather then constantly blaming the teachers for their kids issues.

          2. Kenosha_Kid

            Ted, good post. I too am blown away by this thread and the screaming double-standard. On the one hand, depicting a state governor with 80% approval rating in her state as a “barbie doll” and “idiot” and “joke”… and on the other referring with “sadness” to the victims of the “right wing hate mongering machine.” Also, I am absolutely baffled about a prominent VC who would “hire [a certain CEO] in a second to run any company [because] he’s a masterful manager and a great leader”, on the basis of no due diligence and no real evidence beyond essentially a slide deck and a bunch of video blogs. And yet, 80% of the home-state voters is a reference check that is being dismissed with disdain. I suspect that VC investments are made less emotionally, but I could be wrong, I probably am.

          3. fredwilson

            you can take my words and twist them if you like. i called ST on his crap because he spews it non stop whenever he comments on this blog.and i’ve done a lot of work on Obama, i’ve read both of his books, i’ve met the guy personally, i’ve talked to dozens of people who’ve known him for a long time. i’ve gone through his positions.i would hire him as CEO. and that is not based on emotions.the comments on this blog are based on emotion for sure.

          4. Kenosha_Kid

            Fred, not sure how I was twisting your words… you did refer to Palin as a barbie doll and idiot and joke… and I’m not sure how stuff like that can ever be taken out of context. I respect your sincere support of Obama, but the meanness of your attacks on Palin are, I think, beneath your usual standard. Surely there are people who know Palin as well as you know Obama who would consider her a highly qualified candidate, and her credentials are not to be so quickly dismissed.”You wouldn’t think it to look at [her] that at the final shot she won the war, after losing every battle…”Cheers.

          5. Guest

            You’ve read both of his book, but have you read any of this legislations???of course not! CUZ HE HASN’T WRITTEN ANY!

          6. BN1019

            Give me a break Ted. Why do people continuously believe that Republicans will shrink the size of government. Candidates always say they will shrink government but it never happens. Actions speak louder than words.It was completely the choice of workers that their jobs be sent overseas, right? I’m not against free trade and it is part of the capitalist system that economies evolve causing pain for some but gains for many more. What Obama has said is that people need to educate their children and themselves, work hard, serve in the community and in general better themselves so they may better compete in today’s economy. At the same time, he says that government will be there to help with job training and to support those who want to attend college but can’t. It is ignorant of you to say that Obama “views US citizens as victims that are acted upon, rather than the freeest people on earth whose fate is, generally, a product of their choices.”95% of what has come from the McCain campaign since the RNC convention are lies. That is why Dems get upset about Republican attacks. The nature of politics is that attacks will be made that bend the truth at time but what we’ve seen in the past week is FLAT OUT LYING by the McCain campaign.

          7. fredwilson

            look, i am going to call it as i see it in tech, vc, ,and politics and anything else that gets my juices flowing. i respect that you see it another way. that’s cool.

          8. ben

            Quick point on the Swift Boat prize: a group HAS come forward with what seems like very definitive evidence, but Pickens has refused to accept their submission. Remember, he’s both accuser and judge of the contest… so you can’t really expect him to be on the level.

        2. fredwilson

          my comments about ST are based on the 100s of comments he’s made on this blog, not just what he said today.he’s constantly slinging mud, taking every conversation down to the gutter, and i just felt like calling him on it.

      3. Brian

        “I don’t hate Sarah Palin. She just makes me sick to my stomach.”Do you read your political posts? You dish out just as much hate as S.T.. How about the left wing Bush hate mongering machine?Just because you believe your hatin’ is for a just cause does not mean it is still not hatin’. Palin wants to ban books? Puh-leeze!I have no problem with your hatin’, but try to show some self awareness. And please do not let this post cause you to hesitate talking about politics in the future. This is a great coffee shop discussion. This should easily get 200 comments.

  7. Brian

    Obama is nothing but the Democrats’ Ken doll.Looks good and is well dressed, but beneath the clothes nothing but a cheap piece of plastic with no balls.Wahhh, the girl made fun of me. Grow up man! You are running for President! Get a sense of humor. Jokes about your record should not make you sick. If it does, you are taking yourself waayyyy to seriously. The American people do not like snobs that do not have a sense of humor about themselves. Obama is this generation’s Adlai Stevenson.BTW Fred, thanks for raising standard of discourse on your blog. Love the language. It is always great when the “I really hate people who do not love their fellow man” crowd get’s angry. If Pallin told a knock-knock joke would you drop an f-bomb?

    1. fredwilson

      i think Obama proved he’s way more than a Ken doll by toppling not just the queen but the king and queen of the democratic party in a well run campaign full of the right ideas and the right vision for the future.Palin has done nothing to prove to me she’s more than a barbie doll. when she does, i’ll raise the standard of discourse back above the gutter and i hope that will please you. i did not use a f-word in that post by the way.

      1. andyswan

        She has run a town. She has defeated an incumbant Governor in a PRIMARY, and then went on to shake the shit out of the ol boy network and become the most popular governor in the us. currently, she is single-handedly sucking ALL of the star-power out of the opposition campaign, leaving behind the obvious substance vaccum in her wake. She is taking all shots by the left and turning them into assets…and turning what should have been a cakewalk democratic win of a presidential campaign upside down.Barbie dolls look nice and do nothing. I hope Obama starts calling her that….I really do.

        1. fredwilson

          He won’t because he’s a politician and a damn good oneBut I will until she proves that she’s more than that

          1. Reality Check

            You’re exactly right … he’s a politician and he picked a 30yr vet of DC as his running mate. Even though McCain’s a politician too, at least he has some real service for his country to show (Hanoi Hilton is just slightly different than being a community organizer) and picked a DC outsider that has true exec experience and tenacity as his running mate. Your arguments, Fred, are why real voters spread throughout the country (i.e., not people in CA or NY) don’t like Obama as much as you think (and the polling data reflects that).Btw, if Palin is just a barbie doll, why is the Obama campaign so afraid of her???? I mean, she’s just a former small town mayor and gov from Alaska that didn’t go to Harvard. Right? And she’s not even running against Obama. So, what’s the deal?!?

          2. fredwilson

            i don’t know that they are afraid of her, but i sure am. she’s a neophyte who is not ready to be president. not in the least.

          3. Edward

            “I’m under 45 years old, I love the outdoors, I hunt, I am a Republican reformer, I have taken on the Republican Party establishment, I have many children, I have a spot on the national ticket as vice president with less than two years in the governor’s office.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 1900

          4. Sethop

            Why put quote marks around it as if he actually said that? In any case, Roosevelt was elected Governor of *New York*

        2. ErikSchwartz

          Murkowski was so tainted could not have gotten elected dog catcher in that primary. That victory is not particularly impressive.The Alaska governor is popular because every citizen gets a check every year from north slope oil. The state of alaska is the closest thing to socialism that exists in the US.

        3. johnmccarthy

          Actually she did not “run a town.” She was forced to hire a Town Administrator to do all the day to day stuff. This is ridiculous for a small town of 6,000 to have done; was it an act of desperation on the town’s part? And the pay-cut she brags about came about because they needed to find the $ to pay the administrator’s salary and couldn’t justify Palin’s salary given her reduced workload.Not really sure what that left for her to do aside from try to ban books and fire everyone that disagreed with her. Agreed these can be time consuming tasks, but not really what I consider to be VP training.

          1. andyswan

            Keep running against her as mayor instead of governor.Hell….just keep running against HER. I’m loving this.

          2. johnmccarthy

            Actually, I’m not running against her. But you knew that.I agree with you that simply focusing on her is not a good strategy. I expect that the next few days will see some changes in how this has been going.

          3. johnmccarthy

            And by “expect” I mean “hope”

          4. Reality Check

            You said: “Actually she did not “run a town.” She was forced to hire a Town Administrator to do all the day to day stuff.” But the fact that Obama hired a campaign manager gives him great executive experience. man, i really hope you guys continue supporting Obama with these flimsy arguments. it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. i’ve yet to hear anything that qualifies him as potus. I mean, does he have *any* policy initiatives to speak of?!?!? come on … i’m setting the platform up for you here. Anything?

          5. fredwilson

            Of course he has policy initiativesHe outlined a bunch of them in his acceptance speech.I don’t have the time or the energy to detail them for youTo suggest he doesn’t is plain ignorant

          6. Reality Check

            I’m not suggesting he doesn’t *have* policy initiatives, Fred. I’m just surprised that instead of talking about those initiatives, you’re talking about how being a community organizer makes him fit to be POTUS!

        4. khylek

          I grew up in a town slightly bigger than Wasilla. Our mayor had a second job selling furniture just to make ends meet. I wouldn’t count Mayor of a small town too strongly as qualifications for backing up the leader of the free world. Just saying.

          1. andyswan

            I wouldn’t either. I guess it’s a good thing her resume didn’t end there…

        5. Stevedowns

          Wait, I thought celebrity was a BAD thing for a political candidate?

      2. John Reeder

        There’s an inherent disconnect in your argument through some of the comments. On one hand, you’re saying that one of Obama’s chief qualifications for the job is his ability to successfully campaign for it (i.e. defeating Clinton & Clinton). However, you are not willing to extend the same recognition to the Republicans if they are able to defeat Obama. In that case, I get the sense that you think that the Republicans will have tricked the American people and that their ability to successfully campaign for the job will not carry the same weight that you are placing on Obama’s ability to do the same.Beyond that contradiction, I can also tell that there continues to be a lack of understanding from the Democratic side on the importance of fly over country. I do not begrudge where Fred comes from culturally (urban, elite, new economy, etc.), but I’m sure he knows that he is part of a minority. The dismissive nature of Fred’s comments on Palin show that he does not understand why Republicans keep nominating people who are more like average Americans. Recall that after 2004, it was the intent of the Dems to bridge their gap in that regard. They understood that they had lost because people did not view Kerry as being like themselves. So it’s a little odd to see the Dems missing it in such a big way again. I’m sure Fred would agree that all companies/organizations make mistakes and that the separation between winners and losers is determined by who is willing to learn from their mistakes. So instead of dismissing your opponent as dumb/unqualified, why not take them seriously, figure out what went wrong last time around, and fix it?

    2. Paul Lightfoot

      Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He was the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review. Not Ken Doll.

  8. andyswan

    We don’t hate community organizing. In fact, it’s an honorable volunteer activity.We’ve just never actually seen it on anyones resume.So….who was the employer? Who wrote the checks? What were your responsibilities? What were your two greatest accomplishments?And by the way Fred: excellent point that g.w. is no conservative. Goodness that’s why we were all ready to go Hillary and give the GOP a kick in the ass were it not for this emotional nomination

    1. fredwilson

      Obama is not an emotional nominationHe’s a smart guy who outlined the right way forward

    2. BillSeitz

      CCHD, a Catholic group, paid him.(Kinda ironic, given Repubs love of faith-based initiatives. And I don’t just mean “I pray I’m not pregnant.”)It sounds like “organizing” amounted to providing counseling on how to get more services/money from the govt. (Not the church. That’s what I call “leverage”.)…The CCHD also gives chunks of money to ACORN, which Obama has some history with. They sound like the old welfare-state crowd that sucked the marrow from NYC.

    3. Ethan Bauley

      It’s more about the context of his decision to do the work; he could have had any number of powerful, high paying jobs on the Street [or whatever] after Harvard Law and instead he went back to Chicago.What an “elitist”!Country first, ya know? What a crock that is; McCain’s dad was a big deal admiral that got him into the Naval Academy even though he was a terrible student, and then got him a plum fighter pilot gig after he graduated in the bottom 1% of his class.That’s where you learn to be a “maverick”; when poor decisions have no consequences.I shudder when I think about having yet another privileged person with a privileged background in the White House.Seriously, this is a technology blog, and in the year 2008 you’re going to vote for a man that has no idea how to use a computer? Whose running mate wants to teach creationism in science class? Doesn’t that scare the hell out of you?

  9. nickdavis

    I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.George H.W. Bush’s inaguaral address, January 20, 1989. Where are these “conservatives” now?

  10. Michael

    It’s a culture war and sarah palin sounds, looks, and has the interests of most women in most so-called red states. fred, you should read ‘the big sort’ by bill bishop. people tend to vote not for the candidate that supports them with their policies, but the candidate the most resembles them. so politics is all about holding a mirror up to people and showing that you are just like them, or in the case of the opposition showing how different and scary they are. it’s unfortunate that the lowest common denominator–hey, we’re all Americans–gets trumped with Palin–hey, we like to hunt and snowmobile.

  11. stevequeens

    You are acting as if these comments came in a vacuum. They didn’t. The remarks about community organization came AFTER the democrats and the press viciously attacked Palin’s experience. Obama himself repeatedly said that Palin wasn’t qualified since she had only been mayor of a small town whose # of employees and budget was smaller than his own campaign, purposely ignoring to mention that she was currently governor of a state.These attacks opened up the Obama to be attacked on his own lack of experience. Obama often discusses his role as a community organizer as one of his three major experiences (along with state and national Senate). So if he is going to attack Palin over her experience, why should he be free from a similar attack?Conservatives aren’t against community organization. They just don’t think it qualifies you to be President. Certainly not anymore than being a mayor does.

    1. Brian

      Excellent point.Obama has a glass jaw. He can dish it out, but he can’t take it.Laugh it off, Obama. When you bristle the attack rings true.If you are surprised your opponent’s VP is going to attack you, you really need to question how good a President you would be. This only happens every election.

  12. jaredran

    The below is a letter sent by and to the NASW (The National Association of Social Workers) on the morning after Palin’s nomination acceptance speech. A social worker friend in Chicago sent it to me. This friend, like Obama, graduated from a prestigious university and could’ve chosen a much more lucrative field, but instead chose to dedicate his gifts to his community, to help other people. Fortunately, my friend and the NASW as an organization feel strongly enough to speak up. Unfortunately, I can imagine another scenario just as easily: social workers and community organizers give up due not just to a lack of appreciation but outright denigration.Social Workers Respond to Gov. Sarah Palin’s Attack on Community OrganizersThe National Association of Social Workers was outraged to hear Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, one of the nation’s vice-presidential candidates, malign in a live international broadcast the work of community organizers.The social work profession takes great pride in its community organizing roots and lauds the contributions of its members, and other professionals, who commit their careers to helping residents of different communities organize their resources and take social action to improve life for themselves and their families. Small town reformers and urban community organizers have much in common.The concepts of community organizing, community building and community development undergird the premise of American democracy. As a result of these efforts, institutions and officials often deliver more effective economic growth strategies, as well as mental health, health, and family services for people of all ages.Community organizing is also the foundation of most successful political campaigns. Meeting fellow Americans in their communities and working with them to find solutions to problems that limit their potential is valuable and necessary work—with significant responsibilities.The profession of social work was founded on the legacy of outstanding women leaders such as Nobel Laureate Jane Addams, who practiced community organizing in the Settlement Houses she created for the poor and working class immigrants of Chicago. The profession also counts Civil Rights icons such as Dr. Dorothy I. Height among its luminaries. It is fitting that both women are considered two of the most influential people in American history, and are inspirations for many of our country’s finest leaders.During this election year, NASW encourages both parties to stay focused on issues of substance to the American people. We hope that instead of denigrating the lives and work of huge segments of the population, candidates will demonstrate how their plans for the country will protect and elevate the quality of life for all Americans.

  13. jaredstill

    Fred,I’ve always enjoyed your blog and have rarely expected to agree with you on political matters. This is partially one of those times. There are some points about conservatism that I fully agree with, and appreciate the link to the CATO piece.Respectfully however, I think you’re missing the entire purpose and weight of the attack on “community organizer”, and thus are misguided into following the racial red-herring of big Govt red-herring down the wrong path.The attacks are not on community organizers and their role in our countries service. In fact, it was this Pres that pushed the ideology and policy of the faith-based community taking larger roles in communities as a way to decentralize social service. It’s not the organizers or the organizations that are attacked, it’s running on being a “community organizer” as a large part of Obama’s qualification for being President of the United States!It is the Obama campaign that made the C/O role a central theme in his campaigning, until the GOP teed off on it at the convention. Personally, I think it’s laughable. I think those that keep rushing to Obama’s defense over the C/O role put their love of the man ahead of the basic “what’s he done” litmus test. In so doing, fail to understand what is being attacked.Fred, I was a community organizer for a non-profit once. I was the Anti-Human Trafficking coordinator for the Salvation Army’s Anti-H/T program. It’s difficult, inner-city grunt-work fighting the horrible injustices that befall the forgotten in our cities. It’s righteous work. It’s noble work. It takes a special kind to dedicate their lives to the work. But is sure as hell does not prepare one to lead the same task-force on a national level, let alone be President of the United States! This is the point of lines like the mayoral responsibility line. And Giuliani’s attacks. It’s not attacking the organization, the service, and especially the role of the groups in a smaller, less centralized conservatism, it’s an attack on whether it prepares you for the biggest job in the world!Fred, it was hard work and I have all the respect in the world for those that do it, but it surely doesn’t qualify me to be President of the United States. The fact that I was an Air Force officer, served in Iraq, led hundreds of men, and executed hundreds of millions of dollars in budgetary responsibility, or that I was a start-up founder, failing and flailing all make me more qualified to be President than does my time as a community organizer. And over & over, that was the point I heard hammered home. And that point that I totally agree with.

    1. fredwilson

      my point is that it’s a good part of his resume, foundational in many ways, and should not be made fun of, it should be celebrated. certainly a person who has done nothing more than community organization would not be qualified to be president. but it’s part of his resume, not all of it. and to me, it’s a lot more relevant than being mayor of a town of 7000 people.

      1. Edward

        You left out the fact that she has been Governor of Alaska for 20+ months; the largest state in the Union with +626,000 residents.

        1. themaria

          Largest state? You mean, largest state in landmass. Certainly not in population!

      2. willcole

        I agree. Community organizing is just part of a pretty impressive resume for Obama.But how exactly is community organizing more relevant than holding an elected office like being mayor? I feel like in terms of the career progression of a politician it’s more likely to look like:Community OrganizerMayorGovernor/SenatorPresidentnotMayorCommunity Organizeretc…

    2. Guest

      wow, excellent comment. Eloquent, thoughtful, perfectly analyzed, and you completely tore apart the entire argument in the blog post. I think you’re completely right, no one is saying community organizing is a bad thing, it’s just that it’s not an important qualification.

    3. Jeff Judge

      Out of curiosity, what does McCain’s resume look like and how is it that much deeper than Obama’s (aside from the obvious experience due to years served)? I honestly don’t know and would like to understand what major reforms/actions John McCain has been responsible for. I lightly Googled it and found his voting record (…, but that doesn’t tell me what he’s driven into law.

  14. ariel

    Matt Damon captures how I feel about Palin….…”if you do the actuary tables more then a 1 out of 3 chance that McCain doesn’t make it through his first term and then it will be President Palin….its like a really bad Disney movie…the hockey mom from Alaska… you know I am just a “hockey mom” from Alaska…. and she’s the president and facing down Vladmir Putin facing using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey ring”This is an embarrassing time for Americans.

    1. Reality Check

      ariel, let me fill you in on something: voters who actually turn out on election day and attend church on sunday and work hard in their jobs to provide for their families … you know … *real* americans … they don’t give a shit what matt damon’s analysis of the presidential election is. their interest in him begins and ends when jason bourne comes on the screen. you should spend time looking at voter demographics and see what the people who really elect presidents want. let me give you a hint: the majority of these folks don’t summer in europe.

      1. Jonathan

        So does that mean the actuarial statistics are wrong? Damon uses his celebrity to make a point of view known. What is wrong with that? We have a history in this country of allowing those with celebrity to have a bully pulpit…and even get elected once in a while! So what. Agree or disagree with his point of view. But don’t tell me just because I agree that I am not a *real* american. Personally, I don’t like Palin because she crosses the line between church and state. Let people make the choices that are right for them. Anyone who tells my daughters that they don’t have control over their bodies will never get my vote. I like Obama because unless we can repair how the rest of the world sees America, we only increase our risk and lose influence….and I believe Obama is capable of doing that and McCain is stuck in a unipolar world. And, by the way, I hope you really meant something like “embrace religious freedom” and not “attend church on sunday”.

        1. Reality Check

          Jonathon, that’s the most coherent argument I’ve heard (on the Obama side) in this entire discussion. In my comment about attending church on Sunday, I am merely referring to the majority of the actual voting base in the US (eg, ‘likely voters’). The far majority of them are conservative, work hard in their jobs to make lower to middle income, don’t want more taxes, and yes, they attend church on Sunday (not temple or mosque, sorry). It may not be that way in NY or LA, but those places represent a very small percentage of the voting population. And, you may not like people telling your daughters ‘they don’t have control over their bodies’ but some may look at that differently, as in protecting a child that doesn’t have a say in the matter. Either way, abortion isn’t going to decide this election and there are very few single issue voters when it comes to modern national elections, but going back to the voter demographics, I can tell you that more people will side with protecting a child than giving your daughters ‘control.’ Must be something about all of that church on Sundays … (either way, I am not here to debate abortion).I do take issue with your comment about ‘repairing how the rest of the world sees America.’ Not sure if you’ve spent a lot of time out of the country or studying history but this is a misrepresentation. America has notoriously been hated … by our enemies. Further, there are countries out there that do not like us b/c of the power and influence we wield. Even as we were liberating France, the French spat on us and said they didn’t need our help. But, we will not sacrifice that influence to appease our enemies (or France, who admits on a daily basis they need us). So, if you want to repair how the rest of the world sees America, you’re kidding yourself, because it doesn’t matter who is POTUS, the view of the US will remain the same. You’re naive to think that just because we elect Obama, the rest of the world will automatically like us. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way and it’s not that simple, which is why you’re not seeing a landslide Obama victory.

          1. Stevedowns

            Where would all you church going mid-westerners who didn’t go to the “right” schools be without us liberal elitist ivy leaguers to resent? Afterall, resentment seems to frame your whole world view. I’m so sick of this Jerry Falwell-like pervasive anxiety you exhibit…this need to respond to a troubled world by reassuring yourself that YOU represent the true America, and all would be fine if everyone were just more like you — God help us. Yes, there are churches in NY, too.

          2. Reality Check

            Wait … what?!? Wtf are you talking about? Who’s from the midwest and how the hell did Falwell come up? When I’m talking about these voters, I’m talking about facts, as in take a look at voter demographics. Look at who represents the majority of voters in this country. They don’t live in Manhattan. The Obama campaign knows this; they know the data better than anyone, and it concerns them b/c they know that rappers wearing ‘Obama is my homeboy’ t-shirts isn’t going to turn out the base of voters spread throughout the country.

          3. Jonathan

            Actually I have lived outside of the US — one stint in London with my family (where I was for 9/11) and once in Tokyo when I was single. In the last twenty years, I have traveled to every continent (well, not the Artic/Antarctic). And, yes, I live in Manhattan now — a bubble of liberalism and with a population in just my neighborhood that is larger than Alaska. When abroad I saw first-hand the feeling that we (i.e. the world) had all been attacked on 9/11 melt away and be replaced by a resentment of US self-appointed hegemony. The US Govt has made the world a much more dangerous place by their policies. I view McCain/Palin as more of the same vis-a-vis foreign policy. Maybe we had that sole-superpower status when the Berlin Wall fell, but we messed that one up. Are we safer now than we were 4 years ago?As far as single issue voters, how does that square with the massive efforts to bring out the evangelical vote by the Republicans? My perception is that is a huge group with a very narrow group of issues that are important to them. I’d suggest that this is why Palin was put on the ticket and the only reason. I have trouble with that but, hey, its a democracy.I never understood why the polls say the country is pro-choice but yet it isn’t an important enough issue to sway voters. I think abortion is horrible, but I believe choice trumps. But because I don’t want to impose my values on anyone else, I want a system of laws which mimics that (freedom to choose). We all have to live with our actions or inaction — but we should always have the choice.

          4. garth

            As someone who lived outside the U.S. (and traveled extensively) for almost Bush’s entire second term; Bush and his presidency have most definitely affected the views of average citizens across the EU about the USA. Those are people in countries we are “friends” with. If our leadership continues to be viewed as a joke by countries we are now allies with then at some point they may choose to elect leaders who will begin to diminish our influence with them.Your right about countries that are our “enemies”. Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc aren’t going to start liking us because of who is in the White house. Everyone knows that though.

          5. Mo

            If your assertion about electing leaders who will begin to diminish our influence with them is correct, how do you explain the elections of Sarkozy, Harper and Merkel in recent years?

          6. garth

            I tried to make it clear that I don’t think we’re seeing that effect yet. I think most people in Europe who are anti-Bush (where Bush’s approval rating is undeniably lower than it is even here) believe that we’ll “pull it together” and elect a president who is more “mainstream” by their standards. If we elect one or two or three more Bush presidents, they might not feel that way anymore. Only then do I think politicians might start feeling pressure to stand against us.Also, just to note you’re talking about countries that have a much wider range of serious political parties to draw candidates from so it doesn’t take the same kind of majority to elect a Sarkozy or Merkel.

      2. Keenan

        Reality Check, check your reality. The majority of *real* Americans don’t vote period. The young 18 to 24, those making less than 50k a year, blacks, and Hispanics have the lowest voting rates per group.These groups are not embraced by Republicans or Republican policy. If the majority of *real* Americans, actually voted, Republicans wouldn’t have a chance.I am over this *real* American bullshit conservatives, Republicans and the religious right spits out of it’s fucking mouth. Real Americans are everyone that has chosen to capitalize on the American dream, albeit becoming an actor (Damon), becoming a hockey mom governor (Palin), raising a family on a farm in S. Illinois or becoming a V.C., regardless of whether or not they go to church on Sunday, sit in front of the T.V. watching football, or fly their private Jet to Palms Springs. Non of these actions are the criteria for *real* Americans In case you have forgotten, America is what ever someone wants it to be. This notion that Republicans define real Americans AND patriots makes me puke.The fact that you espouse your out of touch rhetoric actually makes you more American than the fact that you go to church and “work hard”. Unfortunately, you don’t see this and not only undermine your own American legitimacy but everyone elses too. Now that is sad!

    2. markslater

      amen. nail, head.

    3. Spencer Fry

      I loved this video. Thanks for sharing.

  15. andyswan

    After reading this thread, I am now more convinced than ever that the pick of Palin was the most brilliant political move of my lifetime.Democrats are LITERALLY running Obama against Palin here. By the sheer act of attempting to knock her down, they are admitting to her power, and adding to it. What’s worse…they know it….but they just cannot help themselves.The myth of liberal-feminism is crumbling at the hands of a woman from nowhere that went to no name schools, married a no-name man, ran a no name town and then destroyed the star power of the biggest name celebrity politician in history while her opponents tried to call her names.If effective campaign decision making = qualification, then we have a winner.

    1. Stevedowns

      Don’t believe everything you see on Fox.

  16. ppearlman

    i only follow yr blog because youre hot

    1. ppearlman

      more seriously.. this is a must read from todays wsj.. rove is incredibly generous in his advice to obama and dead on…

      1. andyswan

        A perfect analysis by Rove. Even more perfect in that he penned it himself, thereby making it less likely that Obama would heed his advice. Chess. LOL

        1. Ethan Bauley

          Andy, the point is that nominating Palin is a crassly cynical political move that puts our personal and economic security at limitless risk if McCain dies on the job.~20% of all VP’s have ended up in office; if you seriously think that it’s worth the risk and want to continue campaigning on their behalf, then you really are doing God’s work. epic lulz!Anyone can do the actuarial math in their head and think, “Dang, there’s a ~30-50% chance that McCain eats it, and then Palin will be President.”That’s why everyone is freaking out and scared; because she’s a total stooge. She’ll ruin our education system and technology advantage. I doubt she knows what the Bill of Rights is or the content therein. THAT is what’s scary.Get it?

          1. andyswan

            I am comfortable that any Governor in the United States is capable ofperforming the job of President.If you have disagreements on issues or governance approaches, as I mightwith other governors, that is fine and I respect that.

          2. Ethan Bauley

            Cool, so what I’m saying is that I’m surprised to find that someone with asmuch technology knowledge as you is confident that McCain or Palin wouldmake the right decisions on science and technology policies, especiallyvis-a-vis education.I have absolutely zero confidence in them, personally.

          3. andyswan

            Well what you need to understand is that I think the president of the USA has no business setting the curriculum on any topic whatsoever.I want the person with the most disciplined view of the role of fed gov as prescribed by the constitution. McCain is the significant lessor of two evils in that regard.This is one thing that frustrates me about these conversations….it’s assumed that I don’t care about an issue when the reality is that I do care….enough to make sure I have a larger voice by insisting that the decision be a local one instead of a federal one.

          4. Ethan Bauley

            Right, and I believe that McCain/Palin will not live up to their “smallgovernment” BS and instead make those decisions at the federal level(creationism in the curriculum, national abortion ban, no investment inpublic goods like infrastructure, lack of investment/incentives that willdevelop engineering talent, etc).The fact is that the people that work in the federal government wieldsignificant power and that will never change. Personally, I prefer to havesmart people who I trust making those decisions, instead of banking onambitious, ideologue politicians to surrender power (which is what yourphilosophy assumes).

          5. andyswan

            Wooooooo! Actually discussing issues and the role of federalgovernment?!?! Instead of whether or not a GOVERNOR is qualified to be vicepresident!!! This is the sort of thing that might actually win a campaignfor Obama if he and the Dems could bring themselves to it.I’m loving it. Thank you. I’m going to sip some fine bourbon and relaxknowing that all is well on….and I’ll even concede many of yourpoints to get there :)Until another day…..

          6. Ethan Bauley

            hasta luego, amigo;-)

  17. John Reeder

    Fred – Note that the Palin/McCain attack on Obama’s history as a community organizer was a direct response to the charge that Palin’s experience as Mayor and Governor was insufficient to be Vice-President. The Republicans may have baited the Dems into having this discussion, but the Dems for their part took the bait.I don’t need or expect change from either party, but I do admire at least the styles of both of these campaigns. Obama was a rock star in the early days of the campaign and was legitimately exciting to listen to. Like a boxer, he’s been bloodied up now and we’ll see if he has what it takes to respond and win the election. I also have to respect the tactical move that the Republicans have made by enlisting Palin. Who would have thought that the Dems would get into the discussion of “Our #1 is more experienced than your #2”? This is a race that political scientists should be salivating over. There’s such a stark contrast between the campaigns, but both are bringing their A games. It’s like watching a football game between a team with great defense against a team with great offense.As long as we’re on the topic of what true conservatism is, I think you could make an argument that conservative values are best served when nothing happens and gridlock slows the steady expansion of government.

  18. nickdavis

    c’mon. that’s just silly.

  19. markslater

    why dont we all grab a gun and a bible, jump in a helicopter and go and do some ‘community work’ on a pack of wolves.

  20. Michael Bennett

    Wow Fred – your emotion really takes away from the strong merits of your argument. Reasonable people can disagree about what are acceptable forms of experience to hold the Presidency or Vice Presidency seems to me that neither Obama or Palin should be running on “experience” anyway. John McCain, as the CEO of his campaign, has a goal of winning the election. He had to pick a running mate that helped achieve that goal. Regardless of whether you find Sarah Palin worthy of the choice, it seems that John McCain has made the right choice to achieve that goal.

    1. vruz

      Reasonable people can agree on facts, reasonable people can tell bullshit when they see it.You don’t fit that description.Your rationalisation can be pretty much synthesised as: The end justifies justifies the means.Quoting Sen. Barack Obama: “enough is enough”

    2. Josh

      I agree Michael. I would also add this, Obama’s community organizing…has been implicated in numerous reports of fraudulent voter registration, vote-rigging, voter intimidation, and vote-for-pay scams during the 2004 election. Someone actually registered as TIger Woods in Ohio the other day and ACORN is implicated. That brand of community organizing is NOT conservative, Fred! Reagan would be appalled!Also, when Governor Palin was selected, she was belittled by liberals because she was once a small town mayor (Before she was Alaska’s Oil Commissioner and before She was Governor). She was absolutely righteous in pointing out to her critics in the elite media that Mayor’s have far more responsibility than community organizers. She is also right to point out that critiques of her “inexperience” are laughable when compared to the incredible inexperience Obama has. She is also correct to point out Obama has never really done anything.Finally, the inference that a community organizer is another word for black and poor is disgustingly racist. Only a liberal would draw such a conclusion as everyone must be a victim, right? The answer is no and community organizer is not solely regarded to describe poor black people, sorry. Heilemann ought to be called out for following the talking points of the day.You know what frightens me, when a presidential candidate is friends with a terrorist. When a presidential candidate has a close friend who has preached hate and discontent for 30 years. When a presidential candidate gets a deal from a fraud who is now in jail to buy land. That is truly frightening and why Obama will not be elected.Giuliani is right! “Hope is NOT a policy, just as change is NOT a destination” -Rudy

  21. Michael F. Martin

    I think you’ve confused conservativism (as least as an ism) with libertarianism. Community organizing is an essentially radical tradition, which has more in common with classical liberalism (see Friedman’s comments on the radicalism of classical liberalism in the intro to Capitalism and Freedom) than it does with any notion of conservatism with which I’m familiar. Certainly Burkean conservatives would not be in favor of new community organizations.

  22. Guest

    I just realized how pathetic this entire post it… I already regret the replies I made in the earlier comments…You’re just bitter… it’s pathetic. There’s no thoughtfulness here, just anger because you feel the election slipping away.The average non-hardcore democrat could see this his was going to happen to Obama from mile away. Everyone knew how easy it would be to beat him except for the hardcore democrats who bought into the cult-like speeches. The anger from all the democrats (not just fred) is just a cover up for regret.

  23. Tom Royce

    So I get it, if you did not go to school on the coasts or it took you longer to graduate, you are not worthy. Fred, this and the Barbie comment is so below you. Many of us fight through college and end up very successful. It may be a little harder but don’t you realize that your attacks on her education alienate many of your readers and most Americans.You may be oblivious of it living in Manhattan, as I was after attended a top prep school and college. But once I left the big city and lived in other parts of the country my eyes did open up.

    1. Derek

      I went to UMaine. Can I be VP in your world?Seriously, I would expect this kind of paranoia and hatred from Winer but am a bit disappointed to see it here. Who knew I was a stupid thug getting whitewashed all this time?

    2. fredwilson

      It’s not below meIf I said it, then it is who I am

      1. Tom Royce

        I apologize. You are correct, unfortunately it my perception of you that is taking the hit.

    3. TimWalker

      Re: “So I get it, if you did not go to school on the coasts or it took you longer to graduate, you are not worthy.”Tom, maybe I just missed it — where did Fred say anything about anybody’s schooling?[Ah, wait — I see what you’re talking about — different part of the thread.]

  24. aarondelcohen

    I hope everybody returns to this blog after the debating season has finished and after the election. I’m an Obama supporter and, like Fred, believe the campaign has been exceptionally well run. I expect Obama to win although there is no question McCain has had the better 10 days. It’s 10 days. Obama is running against a so-called Maverick who has voted with the incredbily unpopular President 95% of the time. This election should be about George W. Bush and his failures and how much McCain and Palin agree with our President.The campaign should be a referendum on Bush and how McCain and Palin will continue his legacy with respect to the war, the economy, and the environment. If the Obama campaign cannot find a way to communicate this story simply, consistently, and articulately then I’m not sure Obama deserves to win. Let’s stop complaining and start registering more voters and communicating more knowldege.Let’s get through the incredibly important debates (including Biden/Palin) and see where we stand. And let’s find out if all four candidates can stand up to the media scrutiny. It’s only September. I remain exceptionally confident.

  25. brian

    Andy Swan for Secretary of Defense in the McCain / Palin adminstration!!! Vote RIGHT everyone!!! Obama running very, very, very scared!!! Soon enough we’ll find him back in the congregation of the racist “minister” in Chicago.

  26. tpurves

    Thanks for this post Fred. As with most of the rest of the world we here in Canada sit here silently in shock and confusion that ordinary good Americans would seriously give consideration to another 4 years of Republican administration.

    1. Guest

      Sadly Obama is no better.Wish Ron Paul had been taken more seriously. He’s someone I could have voted for. As it stands I’m tempted to just write in “Mickey Mouse.” Even as a cartoon he’s a better choice then either of the individuals nominated by our broken party system.

  27. Andy Freeman

    Would it be fair to ask what Obama did as a community organizer?I know that he was on the board for the Annenberg Education Challenge. I understand that they spent $100M, but the only thing that I’ve heard is that when someone wanted to do a media piece on it, Team Obama went nuts.I’ve also found the following summary of his activities.

  28. Sadness

    From Palin’s acceptance speech, in her diatribe-of-falsehoods leveled at Obama: “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?”Besides being crass, this comment really got to me. Everyone has his/her hot(test)-button issue. For me, it’s the destruction of our rights over the last seven years. From her statement, I can only trust that Sarah Palin will bring her cross-cut shredder with her, to finish the job of destroying our Constitution and the two centuries of hard-fought struggle that gave us our rights.In contrast, here is an excerpt from Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote: “If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.”Palin and Obama have fundamentally different views of the United States of America. I agree with Obama’s.

  29. Sadness

    From Palin’s acceptance speech, in her diatribe-of-lies against Obama: “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?”Besides being crass, this comment really got to me. Everyone has his/her hot(test)-button issue. For me, it’s the destruction of our rights over the last seven years. From her statement, I can only trust that Sarah Palin will bring her cross-cut shredder with her, to finish the job of destroying our Constitution and the two centuries of hard-fought struggle that gave us our rights.In contrast, here is an excerpt from Obama’s 2004 DNC Keynote: “If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.”Palin and Obama have fundamentally different views of the United States of America. I agree with Obama’s.

    1. Edward

      I don’t know about you, but I see a tremendous contrast between “Al Qaeda terrorists” and “an Arab American family.”

      1. Sadness

        If you were working Homeland Security at the airport on 9/11 when Mohammad Atta boarded the flight, would you have known he was an Al Qaeda terrorist? As I recall, the hijakers didn’t wear Al Qaeda logo tees on 9/11.The key is the presumption of innocence and the preservation of rights.I’m speaking from experience on this. I’m not Arab American, but I have been detained, told that I had no rights, and presumed guilty instead of presumed innocent. It’s a harrowing experience. And I will continue to fight for my rights and vote for candidates who defend/reinstate those rights, rather than allow them to be dismantled under the ridiculous assumption that someone could easily distinguish between who is an Al Qaeda terrorist and who is a (previously) patriotic American simply going about his business.

  30. Keenan

    Is Palin “experienced” enough, is irrelevant. It is the wrong question. The question is, is Palin the most qualfied person John McCain could have picked to be V.P. The answer is clearly NO!McCain picked the person most qualified to help win the election not the most qualified V.P. McCain once said he we was not willing to loose a war to win an election.It appears he is willing to loose his conviction and credibility to win and election.That speaks volumes for his judgement. Not seeing “Country First” in the Palin decision. I’m seeing “McCain First”

    1. Sadness

      I agree completely. McCain wants to become president before he dies. He’ll do whatever it takes. It’s a lesson learned from W.He’s most definitely not “Country First”

  31. Dan

    Isn’t the real issue much, much simpler? The lunatics have been running the asylum for eight years, so it’s vital that people who aren’t lunatics are elected this time around. Palin and McCain are lunatics and shouldn’t be elected, end of story.Now of course the crazies will get up in arms with faux moral outrage about this kind of comment, but it’s simply the truth. Anyone who believes McCain / Palin will be good for America or the world is ignorant, delusional, foolish or corrupt, or some combination of these. Is Obama perfect? Not by a very long way, but virtually no democrat could possibly be worse than a half-dead Bush clone.Why have democrats become so obsessed with expressing phony “respect” and “empathy” for the opposing arguments? It would be infinitely more appealing to the majority of US citizens if they’d rip the creationist fanatics apart instead of pulling their punches. I give Karl Rove credit for understanding that to win you don’t give your enemy any credit for anything, but instead grind them mercilessly into the dirt. And you can’t build consensus with fanatics.The GOP has suckered people with a narrow world view and limited intellectual curiosity into buying into their myths about less government and more democracy, which simply mask cronyism, corruption and willful destruction. Those who buy it are the people who are one step away from believing the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it. They’d be the ones calling for Galileo to be executed and burning witches at the stake.What Obama needs to understand is that he’s LESS likely to win by pandering to uneducated fundamentalists. Now is not the time to give them a hug; it’s the time to stand up and announce that their time was an ugly blip in American history that is now fading into the past.

  32. kidmercury

    normally i cant stand the NY times (manufacturers of some of the finest propaganda), but i couldnt stop laughing at this onehttp://thecaucus.blogs.nyti…fred, i think it’s time you take back your barbie doll comment. i mean, she’s clearly a GI Joe figure!!!hahahahaha, gotta love american politics. at least until inflation and the police state affect people personally. then it won’t be so funny.

  33. toddsavage

    Fred, when you describe Palin and McCain attacking Obama’s experience as a “community organizer”, you should be fair and note that Obama’s campaign originally attacked Palin for being a “small town mayor”. This is politics and she was defending an attack from the Obama campaign that was trying to diminish small town mayor experience. I think we all agree that both tickets value community organizers and small town mayors and the jobs they do, it’s just that this is “high season” in politics and each side is attacking the other. It’s sad, because the citizens lose in the end.

  34. Leonard Kish

    David Brooks, The Times’ Conservative Columnist, echos these same sentiments in a NYTimes OpEd today (…. Registration Required. Well said by all. The idea of being totally independent in this day and age no longer works:”The irony, of course, is that, in pre-Goldwater days, conservatives were incredibly sophisticated about the value of networks, institutions and invisible social bonds. You don’t have to go back to Edmund Burke and Adam Smith (though it helps) to find conservatives who understood that people are socially embedded creatures and that government has a role (though not a dominant one) in nurturing the institutions in which they are embedded.”

  35. Junior Illuminata

    11/16/2008Reading this inverted logic nosense and see the supportive comments, I now believe in Collective Insanity which sooner or later leads to Collective Suicide.Remark: Hitler was for national unity; eliminate all those who do not agree with you. Then there is the inverted logic of many democrats (read socialists) that “We are more tolerant than you. If you don’t believe it, we will eliminate you”.Your pal Bill Ayers in “Prarie Fire” says that there may be as many as 25 million Americans who it would be impossible to re-educate, and it would be necessary to “eliminate” them. All in the interests of “bring people together” sans doute…To see the left embrace facism/socialism/communism with open arms is indeed remarkable. The “Dream of Socialism” doesn’t die easily… The dream of suckering someone for a free lunch is quite attractive…Junior Illuminata…