I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.
Teacherrefpoet said it the best:
Obama's decision to go to the trenches and work with the poor is my favorite thing about him. Palin's decision to say this solidifies the idea the Republicans could care less about the poor. (Were the poor or struggling families mentioned at all tonight?)
5.7% of families in Wasilla live below the poverty line, according to Wikipedia.
Yeah, that sounds about like Chicago's South Side. (I wonder what that number is in the neighborhoods Barack Obama worked in. 90%? More?)
Palin, McCain, and their party don't get it. This speech solidified it. Obama's choice to be a community organizer shows his values are immensely Christian. Have you noticed, Gov. Palin, how often Jesus discusses the poor? Those who value those teachings go to where the poor are and work with them. You know, in the community. Organizing it.
I think it also shows a certain amount of tone-deafness towards the sort of politics of the outside that the Obama campaign is trying to push forward. The meta-message of civic engagement is the most important thing for me right now, in terms of the Presidential race. Obama is showing that "serving your county" can go beyond military service.
So, Palin's contrast of a position of political power with a position of service is striking. Granted, people who take up the rigors of running for office and being in office are "serving," but there is a fundamental difference between what Palin did as mayor and what Obama did as an organizer.
If Palin wasn't elected, would her service to Wassila been less valuable? She seems to imply that. The Obama example shows that anyone can and should serve, not just those that win an election. Standing up and putting your shoulder to the community grindstone isn't just for those who win elections, but for everyone.