During the long years when George W. Bush was President, Democratic activists constructed an all-powerful bogeyman out of Karl Rove. They imagined Rove as an evil genius, and in organizing their own political efforts, they would confide in each other that the Democrats needed to learn from Rove.
Now that the shoe is on the other hand, and the Democrats occupy the White House and control the Congress, the Republicans have felt the need to explain their own failures. They’ve created their own idea of an evil, all-powerful Democratic enemy that the Republican Party needs to emulate. In this case, that enemy is not an individual, but an organization: ACORN.
An example of the Republicans’ fetishizing of ACORN comes from the Facebook account of Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner, where faithful Republican constituent Madaline Cederle writes, “Now is the time to show your constituents that our faith in you is not in vain. Now that you have this site you can tell us what to do were to put our energies. And we need to consolidate some of our organizations to make one that can become as strong as ACORN.”
As strong as ACORN? Whenever I’ve been in a place to encounter ACORN in action, my impression has not been one of an irresistible force. To the contrary, ACORN has always seemed to me to be something of an outdated bit player that tries to portray itself as having more influence than it actually does. Seriously, is there something about ACORN that I don’t know?