In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) founder and Service Employees International Union organizer Wade Rathke acknowledged that the tea party movement has been more effective than Occupy Wall Street in influencing American politics.
Rathke was unequivocal about the Occupy movement, telling The DC that “in no way has it had the political impact that the tea party movement has.” Yet because Occupy organizing is “still in its embryonic stages” while tea partiers have been organizing for more than two years, he cautions that “comparing the tea party movement to OWS is apples and oranges.”
While watching ACORN implode in the United States, Rathke has thrived in his new role as community organizer to the world by remaking ACORN International, known as Community Organization International in the U.S., into a worldwide community organization with near-global reach and power. And former ACORN board members say Rathke’s remarkable global turnaround is proof that most observers completely missed ACORN’s bigger picture and its broader goals.
Rathke generally had positive things to say about both the tea party and Occupy movements. “They are substantially mobilizing individuals around a set of principles,” he added. “It’s fascinating that they’re both appealing to many of the same people.”
That’s a point on which Matthew Vadum, a conservative investigative reporter whose book-length deconstruction of ACORN hit stores in May, disagrees. His book opens with the provocative question, “How many dead Republicans does it take to satisfy the bloodlust of ACORN founder Wade Rathke?” referring to his contention that ACORN leaders planned “to kill delegates and police” at the 2008 Republican national Convention in Minnesota, before a turncoat helped law-enforcement dismantle the plot.