Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why did it take a half-naked 20-year-old to create interest in ACORN?

ACORN's Overdue Unraveling
By Kathleen Parker
Washington Post
September 23, 2009

No one was more delighted by the recent ACORN pimp 'n' prostitute, hidden-camera sting than Marcel Reid, the former ACORN board member who was booted in summer 2008 when she tried to examine the organization's books.

"If we'd known all it took was a half-naked 20-year-old, we'd have done this a year and a half ago," Reid said from the rented desk in a church that she calls her office...

[The videos] are a long way from the Arkansas kitchen table where, in 1970, a group of impoverished mothers sat trying to figure out how to buy school supplies for their children.

That kitchen klatch was the seed that became ACORN with the help of the now-infamous Wade Rathke, better known recently for resigning from the group's board after he covered for his brother Dale, who embezzled almost $1 million in ACORN funds in 1999 and 2000.

Despite ACORN's history of corruption, it took sex to seize the attention of the nation's leadership. In the past couple of weeks, ACORN has been stripped of $1.6 million in federal funding and been dropped by the U.S. Census Bureau as a partner in conducting the nation's headcount.

Reid, who has been reviled by the left as an apostate, can only shake her head at the sudden interest. A gallows sense of humor helps her through her days now as head of ACORN 8, a group of former ACORN leaders and board members in 15 states trying to reform the community group. Their mission is the same one that first attracted Reid to ACORN 10 years ago -- to help the poor.

What pains her is that the videos that have conservatives in stitches have helped bolster negative attitudes toward those she aims to help.

"Look at those poor ladies. I was so embarrassed. You cannot be operating on any cylinder and do what they did. Unfortunately, they reinforced the idea that poverty is your fault because you're not smart." ...

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