Doctor Evil Lives!

Remember in the first Austin Powers movie, when Doctor Evil, recently thawed out from a couple of decades of suspended animation in orbit, gets hold of an A-bomb and threatens the U.N. with it? And he says he wants money to not set it off, and then he says how much, and he does that thing with his pinkie at the corner of his mouth, and he says, “One mil-lion dollars.” And the guys at the U.N. laugh at him, because these days one mil-lion dollars just ain’t that much.

I was reminded of Doctor Evil when I read Stanley Kurtz’s article entitled ““Inside Obama’s Acorn”:http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDZiMjkwMDczZWI5ODdjOWYxZTIzZGIyNzEyMjE0ODI” on the National Review Web site. It seemed he was away for a few dozen years (or maybe since the turn of the century – the 20th, that is ) and was throwing around terms like “radical” to describe people and organizations that simply don’t deserve it. Not to mention the underlying premise that to be a radical is necessarily a bad thing.

You know what? I’m as up on the news as the next guy, and I didn’t think Barack Obama had any “radical” connections. Progressive, yes. Liberal, sure. But radical? It calls forth images of wild-haired Symbionese Liberation Army troops robbing banks and engaging in shootouts.

I love the way Kurtz begins: “What if Barack Obama’s most important radical connection has been hiding in plain site all along?” My God, how utterly Manchurian-Candidate-ish. Obama is such a clever, uh, radical that he threatens the very fabric of our society with an association that’s staring us in the face.

And that association, friends, is with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN. (Though our buddy Stan insists on lower-casing everything but the A throughout his screed.) That subversive group that has the gall to theaten Peace, Justice, and the American Way with such Commie ideas as better schools, fair housing, and, gasp, equality. An organization that has the gall to do more than simply sit in their offices and lick envelopes, that actually goes out into the streets and demonstrates!

Oh, yes, America, the Democratic nominee-apparent is one of them radicals, all right.

I did find out some interesting stuff in Kurtz’s story. Did you know that ACORN is the “key modern successor to the radical 1960’s ‘New Left’”? And that it prefers to “fly under the national radar” because if it does that no one will notice they’re trying to screw with our way of life? And that ACORN protestors in Baltimore “disrupted a bankers’ dinner”? How sad that The Wire didn’t go another year. They could have followed up the drug rings and the crooked dockworkers with the bankers’-dinner-disruptors.

Sheesh.

A lot of what’s in the NR piece is based on Sol Stern’s City Journal article called ““ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities”:http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_acorns_nutty_regime.html.” (Get it? Acorns? Nuts? How droll.) Stern’s the one who posits ACORN as the successor to the New Left. And a lot of other drivel heavily spiced with terms like “undisguised authoritarian socialism” and “the road to serfdom.”

Perhaps the silliest part of the story is when Kurtz starts blathering about “an Acorn-friendly reply to Stern entitled ““Enraging the Right”:http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/129/ACORN.html.” Written, it so happens, by our own John Atlas and Peter Dreier, and appearing in Shelterforce. And get this: “the stunning thing about this supposed rebuttal is that it confirms nearly everything Stern says.”

“This,” says Stanley Kurtz, “is radicalism unashamed.”

The other guy I thought of when I read the story was Joe McCarthy. That business about saying the most ridiculous things about those who oppose you and watching some of it stick. In McCarthy’s case, it worked. Here, I’m guessing, not so much.

There are several pages of scribblings documenting Senator Obama’s every move for the past 15 years or so. If one were foolish enough, one could read them and discover that the Senator has carefully laid a radical framework for a radical takeover by a network of radical radicals.

Here’s the thing. Kurtz’s article isn’t going to make one whit of difference in the upcoming election. Most of the people who read it weren’t going to vote for Obama pretty much since they first became aware he existed. Most of the rest are people like us, who aren’t nearly dumb enough to be swayed by such a blatant, insipid appeal to our supposed worst fears.

But what if this baloney ran on Fox News? It could, you know. They could get hold of it, and let me assure you that what they put on the air wouldn’t be anywhere near as dull as Kurtz’s article. It would be “Obama hung with the radicals!” with tape of some city council takeover or other, complete with sneers and pointed looks, and no one would ask them to prove any of it because, well, no one ever does. And maybe some of the more suggestible folks in the audience would get the germ of an idea. “Oh, yeah, way back, Obama was one of those radical guys. Better not vote for him.”

We have to be on our guard over the next five months. The forces of the right will say anything to get what they want. (Swift Boat, anyone?) We have to stay on top of it all, and squash the bullpuckey as soon as it emerges from their puffy little mouths.

Which I think will happen. The Obama campaign is the best-run (at least on our side) in a long time. I think they’ll do a good job tamping down the crap. They’d better. Because if any ridiculous allegation about the Senator catches fire and encourages even a tiny proportion of voters to press the other lever, we could be in for four more years of the fall of these United States. And I don’t think this country can handle that.

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Nathan Walpow is the editor of FourStory.org, an affordable housing advocacy site concentrating on Southern California housing, transportation, and sustainability. He’s also the author of four Joe Portugal mystery novels, with the fifth, Bad Developments, currently appearing on FourStory as a weekly serial.

1 COMMENT

  1. An article Kurtz’s links to, written by Sol Stern (ironically enough, in the City Journal) in 2003 states:

    “The discrimination that the CRA sought to cure no longer exists, however. True, back when the now-defunct savings-and-loan industry provided most of the nation’s mortgages at rates capped by law, S&Ls;often avoided lending in inner-city neighborhoods, where the risks of default were higher than usual, because they couldn’t charge increased interest to compensate them for the increased risk. But today, lenders can adjust the interest rates they charge borrowers according to the riskiness of the loan, so that they can make a profit by lending in the inner city. Today too, hundreds of individual mortgages are packaged together and sold to investors as ‘mortgage-backed securities,’ whose overall default rate is much easier to predict than the default probability of any individual mortgage. Thanks to these innovations, the capital available to inner-city borrowers is now plentiful. “
    —(http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_acorns_nutty_regime.html)

    We all know how well THAT situation turned out.

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