The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” —James Madison
First, it was the Obamaphilic gang of community organizers at ACORN generating controversy. Now, it’s the lapdogs at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). And once again, an Andrew Breitbart Web site blew the cover off. At BigHollywood.com, Patrick Courrielche, an artist and NEA grant recipient, released a full transcript of an August conference call hosted by “the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and the Corporation for National and Community Service” during which strategy was discussed with a “handpicked arts group” that had worked with Obama’s campaign, including the artist who created the ubiquitous “Hope” poster.
So what, you say? Well, Courrielche reports, “Later in the call, ‘specific asks’ were delivered by Yosi Sergant, then Communications Director of the National Endowment for the Arts,” requesting that the art group “create art on several hotly debated political issues, including health care.” They were also asked to join “United We Serve,” a public-service project led by Michelle Obama. Buffy Wicks, who oversees Obama’s national service initiative at “Serve.gov” (which directs activists to ACORN) at the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, told participants in the call, “[W]e’re going to need your help.” Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund writes, “Within two days of the phone call, 21 arts organizations endorsed President Obama’s health-care reform plan.”
To summarize, a taxpayer-funded organization (NEA) was “asking” taxpayer-funded artists to help the Obama administration enact a government takeover of our nation’s health care system. Courrielche notes, “This practice has never been the historical role of the NEA. The NEA’s role is to support excellence in the arts, to increase access to the arts, and to be a leader in arts education. Using the arts to address contentiously debated issues is political subversion. And the fact that the White House played a role in encouraging the arts to address contentious issues should also be considered a government overreach.” Indeed, to Barack Obama, every government bureaucracy is a potential campaign arm. The community organizer has now morphed into a government organizer.
After being caught red-handed, the NEA first “reassigned” Sergant, though when that didn’t work, he resigned on Thursday. The White House also pushed out new guidelines to ensure such politicization doesn’t happen again. Try not to spew coffee on your keyboard.