|Organizing for Action, the so-called "grassroots arm" of the Obama administration, was designed to harness the youthful and hopeful energy of its members, and bring the political energy generated during the previous presidential campaigns to help support the current White House agenda.
In the last week, however, the group itself has become a target for progressive activists who are fed up with the president's refusal to take a firm position against tar sands development in Canada and the growing threat of climate change.
Specifically, OFA has drawn ire for refusing to take a stance against the Keystone XL pipeline which remains under review by Obama's State Department. Even as its members reportedly want Obama to reject the project, OFA has followed the White House's lead by refusing to discuss the matter until the State Dept. review is complete.
“If you’re going to be a grass roots, you have to actually listen to the grass roots,” said Daniel Kessler, spokesman for 350.org, in an interview with Politico on Monday.
“I think they’re going to have to respond to calls to address these issues,” he added. “You cannot expect to have the passion of the people if you’re not satisfying what their demands are.”
Politico's reporting explores how groups like Bold Nebraska and CREDO Action have voiced regret that OFA refuses to engage in an issue that so many have clearly been galvanized by:
They’re pointing to talking points OFA has handed out to supporters and people who attend its events in which the group says that “if people believe that Keystone XL is the primary fight to be engaged in, there are many groups who have taken a position, and we are happy to make suggestions about who volunteers might work with on that or other issues.”Last week, Buzzfeed obtained a "climate change fact sheet" put out by OFA to its regional leaders and members. In part, the circulated talking points come with a warning: “Volunteers from Credo Action or other organizations may attend your planning session and want to demand that we work on the Keystone XL pipeline."
As Buzzfeed noted, CREDO Mobile had called on its 3 million members to attend OFA planning sessions “to make sure stopping Keystone XL is part of the conversation.” In that story, Buzzfeed also interviewed 350.org's Kessler who said the memo talking points showed a “real anxiety within OFA — and maybe at the White House — that their supporters want a rejection and that in some way they need to be held in check.” […]
Climate activists were initially heartened by OFA's decision to tackle their issue, which has remained in the background in Washington since Congress failed to pass cap-and-trade legislation in 2009. But the organization's failures to address Keystone, an issue that's been at the core of the environmental advocacy movement for years now, signals an identity crisis for OFA as it seeks to emphasize its grassroots credentials.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—Ahmed Chalabi Gets a Night-time Visit:
|If it were not for all awfulness in the news coming out of Iraq, it would be almost impossible to suppress some glee at the fork-tongued Ahmed Chalabi’s current predicament. With a host of enemies in his homeland, and Bush allegedly telling King Abdullah he could “piss” on him, Chalabi now has to contend with armed searches of his house in the dead of the night.
As a result of the raid, Chalabi says he has cut off relations with the U.S.-guided Coalition Provisional Aurhority. "I am America's best friend in Iraq;” Chalabi said, and “if the CPA finds it necessary to direct an armed attack against my home, you can see the state of relations between the CPA and the Iraqi people."
Uh-huh. And I have a bridge over the Euphrates I’d like to sell you.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin confirmed that the political world froze in place in the middle of last week, so we looked elsewhere for news not involving unfounded comparisons to Watergate. After a brief detour into the Umbrellacaust, we reviewed more context on the IRS, from Garance Franke-Ruta's (and yes, I know I mispronounced archetype!), David Cay Johnston, and Stephanie Mencimer. Off on a tangent, Keenan Steiner's unexpected story of a retired detective who somehow became the biggest campaign donor in the US. Back to guns, the tragic story at Hofstra U., and a fascinating look at the concealed carrying teachers of Utah.