Applying the ACORN Standard to Republicans

I’ve been kind of scared off this topic, because when the Tea Party folks talk about ACORN, they pronounce it AAACORRRNN, as if their head is going to spin around backwards like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. So you don’t dare ask what is really so awful about ACORN.

My general impression of them locally was that they were annoying. A few years ago they collected funds by having kids stand out on traffic islands begging for change. I hate that. They haven’t done that for a long time, and now the traffic islands are owned by Teen Challenge, which helps troubled youth by putting them out on the streets to beg.

I never thought of ACORN as particularly well-organized, but they seem to have done an effective job nationally with voter registration. I think this is why they drew fire from the right. They have their own internal problems, serious embezzlement and nepotism. It may be that after a full investigation it will be found that they should not receive any more federal funds. But they have a right to an investigation. Conviction without a trial is not a good standard to apply to anyone. What if we applied the ACORN standard to the Republican National Committee? We’d be claiming that they were wasting their donor’s money on inept mailings that only put the GOP up for ridicule, like in today’s ProJo…

State Democratic Party Chairman William J. Lynch was a bit surprised when [Republican National Committee Chairman Michael] Steele’s letter arrived at his Pawtucket home last month.

“Mr. Lynch, to win in 2010, the Republican Party must be better organized than the Democrats every step of the way. Today, I am counting on your help to ensure we meet that goal. Please don’t let us down,” read the letter, which also asked for donations of between $25 and $500. “Your registered census is one of a select few being mailed into Rhode Island’s Congressional District. Because of your high level of political involvement and steadfast commitment to the Republican Party, your personal input on the questions presented in your Census Document is critical to our Party’s future.”

And those College Republicans who videotaped some ACORN workers apparently giving advice to a pimp and a prostitute, having been scammed by the same wearing clever disguises. I think that bears some examination. And if it turns out that those ACORN workers were not smart enough to at least call their supervisor, and they are deemed to have promoted immorality, what do you say about Republican superstar, Newt Gingrich? His people sent affectionate letters offering intimate time with the great man himself, for a small fee, to a pornographic film maker.

Newt Gingrich’s 527 group sent a letter to porn exec Allison Vivas Wednesday telling her she’d won their “Entrepreneur of the Year” award and inviting her to an “intimate event” with Gingrich.

“You’ll dine privately with Newt,” it reads. A handwritten addendum reads, “Newt is looking forward to finally meeting you face to face — and get your thoughts on cap and trade and Obama’s tax policy.”

And then again, to a strip club owner…

Dawn Rizos didn’t need any formal recognition that The Lodge, one of the best-known gentlemen’s clubs in Dallas, was a successful small business.

But when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s conservative group named her an “Entrepreneur of the Year,” she was thrilled by the opportunity to accept the award in Washington and speak about ways to help small businesses.

That all changed, however, when Gingrich realized that The Lodge was a topless bar, not some other business in Virginia. He rescinded Rizos’ invitation to a private dinner and returned the $5,000 donation she made to his group, American Solutions for Winning the Future.

Not that Rizos probably met many in the ‘gentleman’s club’, but a real gentleman doesn’t invite, then dis-invite anyone.

So if we apply the ACORN standard to the Republican Party– is it guilty of sloppy oversight and full of politicians who keep approaching the sex industry with hat in hand begging for money? (Newt prides himself on having a valuable family, and believes in marriage so much that he’s married three women so far, so it was probably not his fault. Some hapless underling is to blame.)

Should we assume that every large organization will have some incompetent employees, make some errors, and suffer some public embarrassment? And that the organization should be judged on the whole record, the good as well as the bad? I think we better, because no one can stand up to the AAACORRNNN treatment.

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4 responses

  1. What really gripes my arse?
    Michele Bachman on Fox News spouting some lies about the US Census asking ACORN to work for them.

    That woman’s pants are on fire so bad, Glen Beck even thinks she’s nutso!

  2. Doing the census door to door is an entry-level job for many. These people are painting a target on innocent workers and obstructing their work.

  3. I did some Census work this year, and can attest that talk of political interference is garbage.
    As for the street corners, don’t forget the firefighters and youth football teams. I really hate seeing kids put at risk trying to solicit drivers stopped at lights – we’re one fit of ill temper away from catastrophe.

  4. [...] that Sarah Palin has an agenda to dismantle the Canadian health care system, or that Newt Gingrich tried to sell intimate encounters with himself to strip club owners– just because his low-level staffers sent some letters. Interesting mailing list they have, [...]

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