Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bill Hobbs Mischaracterizes Obama's Role in Chicago Politics

Frontline tonight had an outstanding look at the rise of both Barack Obama and John McCain to the 2008 run for the White House. During the analysis of Obama's pre-law school stint as a Chicago community organizer, Frontline said that Harold Washington put together a coalition of African Americans and progressive whites to beat the Daley Machine to become Mayor. Frontline contends that Obama was a part of that movement.

On their website, Frontline has comments from another Chicago political activist who supports that contention:
[From community organizing, Obama learned] The importance of one-on-one relationships, of listening and of talking to people from where they're coming from, kind of a Saul Alinsky model. And I think that's continued in the campaign, not only with Barack personally, but from what I understand in the training of his organizers. They're not trained to just go out and survey voters, but to speak to what voters care about. And I think that's probably the biggest thing that might have been learned from community organizing.

The other might be resiliency, because there's a lot of failure when you're trying to do community organizing, just as there had been historically in politics here. We lost an awful lot of races before we elected Harold Washington .... And those of us in the progressive community had a lot of other disappointments in other races before Obama won the U.S. Senate primary. So I think that kind of bouncing back from adversity is a big part of what one learns in community organizing.

Compare those assertions to conservative Tennessee blogger, Bill Hobbs, who without substantiation, makes the strange and dubious argument that in the early '80s Obama was such a part of the Daley machine that he even opposed Mayor Washington. However, repeating "Obama" and "Daley machine" in the same breath over and over again does not make a connection real.

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