The lamest part of last night’s festivities involved the mocking of Obama’s service as a community organizer.
Here’s the response from a group called Catholic Democrats:
Catholic Democrats is expressing surprise and shock that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech tonight mocked her opponent’s work in the 1980s for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She belittled Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s experience as a community organizer in Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago, work he undertook instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Palin said, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Community organizing is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching to end poverty and promote social justice.
Joe Klein goes further:
So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn’t know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed–job training, help with housing and so forth–from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord’s work–the sort of mission Jesus preached (as opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a “task from God.”)
This is what Palin and Giuliani were mocking. They were making fun of a young man’s decision “to serve a cause greater than himself,” in the words of John McCain. They were, therefore, mocking one of their candidate’s favorite messages. Obama served the poor for three years, then went to law school. To describe this service–the first thing he did out of college, the sort of service every college-educated American should perform, in some form or other–as anything other than noble is cheap and tawdry and cynical in the extreme.
Perhaps La Pasionaria of the Northern Slope didn’t know this when she read the words they gave her. But Giuliani–a profoundly lapsed Catholic, who must have met more than a few religious folk toiling in the inner cities–should have known. (“I don’t even know what that is,” he sneered.”) What a shameful performance.
It’s amazing to me how low someone like Giuliani will go. He performed well on 9/11, but since then he’s been cashing in on his “celebrity” giving high-priced speeches. When he ran for president he spent $50 million and got one delegate. Perhaps the American people know a fraud when they see one.
In a year where we have economic troubles with ordinary Americans struggling, the GOP decides to attack someone for doing this kind of service early in their career.
None of this is surprising. The GOP has won plenty of elections demonizing and mocking their opponents. This year, with Obama and Biden, they have opponents that will fight back.