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For the first time in American history, a major political party devoted a substantial portion of its national convention to attacking grassroots organizing.
Speaking Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, former New York Governor George Pataki sneered, "[Barack Obama] was a community organizer. What in God's name is a community organizer? I don't even know if that's a job."
Then former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered his own snickering hit job. "He worked as a community organizer. What? Maybe this is the first problem on the résumé," mocked Giuliani." Then he said, "This is not a personal attack. It's a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada."
A few minutes later, in her acceptance speech for the GOP vice presidential nomination, Sarah Palin declared, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."
The party of Ronald Reagan was touting government experience over civic engagement.
At a convention whose theme was "service," GOP leaders ridiculed organizing, a vital kind of public service that involves leadership, tough decisions, and taking responsibility for the well-being of people often ignored by government.