By David Keene - 09/21/09 07:52 PM EDT
This fact has been on stark display recently as liberals have dismissed anyone who questions the wisdom of President Barack Obama’s demands on our national priorities as cranks or, worse, racists. One can easily demonstrate one’s racist tendencies these days by simply attending town hall meetings or Tea Parties or coming to Washington to express views contrary to those of our president.
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Change Now, is a huge quasi-grassroots left-wing pressure group largely funded via earmarks, grants and contracts from its friends in Congress, who channel tens of millions of tax dollars to it every year.
Until recently, ACORN’s web of influence included 400,000 members, offices in 75 cities and something like 300 affiliated organizations. So close was the group’s association with the Obama administration that Congress increased ACORN funding in the stimulus package and it was announced that ACORN would play a major role in gathering the census information so essential to the conduct of fair elections.
All of that seems to be coming to an end, however, because two young conservatives, convinced the major media were missing a big story, went into ACORN offices as part of a sting they’d dreamed up and taped ACORN officials advising them on how to get mortgage and government money to run a brothel and bring young girls from Latin America to work in it.
Although most in the major media tried to ignore them, they managed to get their proof to the public, with earth-shattering results. ACORN has been revealed not to be a high-minded group of reformers, but a bunch of cynical borderline crooks who care more about money and power than law, morality or the people they claim to serve. Congress has voted to cut them off, their offices are closing and most of those who supported them hardly remember doing so.
Still, it has to be remembered that the major media tried its best to ignore the story, with reporters claiming they simply didn’t know it was out there. Andrew Alexander, The Washington Post’s “ombudsman,” admits his paper was slow to report the story, but claims it wasn’t bias, but the fact that Post reporters don’t even bother to follow what’s going on among conservatives.
The president himself says the smoking-gun videos ought to be investigated by someone somewhere, but dismisses the whole affair as neither very interesting nor important. Besides, he said on Sunday, he didn’t even realize ACORN was getting the federal funds that Congress wants to cut off. His, after all, is a presidency that thinks in terms of trillions of dollars and presumably can’t be bothered with smaller sums, regardless of where they end up or how they’re used. Focusing on such trivialities, he implies, would distract him from the important work he was elected to do.
It’s hard to believe that this is the same president who often finds time in his busy schedule to nitpickingly critique Fox, Rush Limbaugh and others when he disagrees with them.
This is the same president who toiled for ACORN as an attorney and assisted the group in Chicago as a “community organizer”; he also funneled nearly $900,000 to it during his 2008 campaign. One can only conclude, I guess, that busy as he is saving us all, he didn’t recognize the acronym this time around. After all, those things took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Fortunately, Congress was watching, and at least two members of Obama’s administration, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Census Director Robert Groves, sensed early that ACORN’s day was done. They announced, perhaps after watching Fox News and even before the Post knew it was a story, that they would sever all ties with the group.
That was good politics, good for America and a good story.
Keene is chairman of the American Conservative Union and a managing associate with the Carmen Group, a Washington-based governmental