Obama's New Politics
Obama's not even President yet and he's already revealing plans to stack the deck in his own favor. Protein Wisdom reveals What's behind Obama's national service plan?:
His broader approach proposes to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots and double the size of the Peace Corps, integrate service-learning programs into schools and universities, expand service initiatives that "engage disadvantaged young people and advance their education", expand the capacity of nonprofits to innovate and expand their programs and so on.
Indeed, in making his proposal, Obama alluded to his time as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side, and his stint heading the group Project Vote -- and it turns out there is a direct angle here. Obama directed Project Vote for ACORN -- an "antipoverty" group also frequently involved in scandal-ridden voter registration drives. Obama has a long, sybiotic relationship with the group. He was their lawyer, helped train ACORN activists, and fed them grants from his position at the Woods Fund; they endorsed Obama's candidacies and provided troops for his early campaigns. ACORN has a long history concerning both election fraud and misuse of federal funds, including AmeriCorps funds:
In 1994, the ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC) received a grant from the newly created Americorps to assist low-income families at finding housing. In applying for the grant, the AHC claimed its activities were completely separate from ACORN.
But one year later, the Americorps Inspector General would testify that "AHC used Americorps grant funds to benefit ACORN either directly or indirectly." She found several instances of cost-shifting from ACORN's lobbying group to the housing entity, and also found several instances of the steering of recipients of housing counseling into ACORN memberships.
It is difficult to imagine Obama rigorously policing ACORN from using the national service program as a recruiting tool or to further its non-partisan-in-name-only voter registration drives. To the contrary, his national service plan looks like another avenue for Obama to realize his vision of creating an army of left-wing activists to push his agenda and register more likely Democrats.