Skip to main content

I think it is fascinating. Watching this dance between the upstart, now President, and the party machine.

Obama and Kaine will now thread the needle. Many Indies, more "unenrolleds" and some Republicans will not gather under a donkey flag. Since they put the "swing" in the swing states, a new construct must be assembled.

The organization, known internally as "Barack Obama 2.0," is being designed to sustain a grass-roots network of millions that was mobilized last year to elect Obama and now is widely considered the country's most potent political machine.

The prospect of a president being able to guide a service or relief agency outside the framework of his government is a unique development.

Though the campaign-style organizing network would be operated through the Democratic National Committee, the new service organization is envisioned as a separate nonprofit. Obama recently appointed his friend Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as chairman of the DNC and his campaign battleground states director, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, as executive director.

Some top Obama organizers, such as former deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand, had argued that the grass-roots machinery should be kept separate from the DNC to avoid alienating Republicans and independents who were inspired by Obama but could be turned off by a close association with the Democratic Party. But those organizers are not part of the inner circle drafting the plan.

Obama's presidential campaign generated a database of 13 million e-mail addresses and tens of thousands of phone bank volunteers and neighborhood coordinators. Strategists believe these assets can grow in the years before Obama runs again.

Concerns about Obama's ambitions are coming from state party leaders as well as from Capitol Hill.

Barack Announces Organizing for America

Organizing for America will continue the work of the largest grassroots movement in history. Volunteers, grassroots leaders, and ordinary citizens will drive this organization and help bring about the changes we proposed during the presidential campaign.

"Right now all 50 of the state chairs are on pins and needles," said Oklahoma Democratic chairman Ivan Holmes. "It's possible they could undo in one year what it's taken four years for Dean to do if they don't embrace the 50-state strategy financially, and let the chairs have input on who they hire and what their duties are."

A larger concern expressed at the Winter Meeting is that the DNC could become — in the words of one state party executive director — "too Obama-centric."

The plan to fold Obama's campaign apparatus into the DNC — creating a shop called "Organizing for America" that will use tools like an enormous email list to promote the new president’s policy agenda — has some wondering where that leaves the rest of the committee.

Originally posted to SGS on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 10:19 AM PST.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  It is not just Red States... (3+ / 0-)

    but also red districts in Blue states such as CA, NY, NJ, IL, MI, WA, OR that would lose attention and we can make even more gains...

    Obama/Biden'08 Delivering Change he Promised

    by dvogel001 on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 10:22:34 AM PST

    •  I don't entirely understand (0+ / 0-)

      Obama wants to start a non profit?  What?  Doesn't he already have enough on his plate?

      •  "Organizing for America" (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, lineatus, baudelairien, SGS, rossl

        We'll see what they do with it but I have a few educated guesses:

        1. Pressure: When Congress balks at a priority piece of legislation, this will be the vehicle to organize the bases to flood the problematic members of the House and Senate with phone calls, emails, letters, visits and pressure through the local media. I anticipate that Immigration Reform may be the first test.
        1. Training: I'm fairly certain that "Organizing for America" will begin a permanent cycle of training people in the skills of community organizing, taking off where Camp Obama and the campaign "Fellows" program began.
        1. Disaster Response: If something like another Katrina hits, this will likely be the vehicle to organize volunteers not only to donate relief funds but go in and assist with the physical rebuilding.

        These are the kinds of things that can't be effectively done through the DNC or the government.

        In affect, it will continue the Community Organizing Renaissance.

        •  I don't like that first one (0+ / 0-)

          A tool for the White House to push its agenda through ordinary people?  That just makes me uneasy.

          •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The Earth's 23.44 degree axial tilt in relation to its orbital
            plane is the REASON FOR THE SEASON.

            by karateexplosions on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 10:43:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The peoples' interest and the president's (0+ / 0-)

              are not always aligned.  I think it's more important for the people to be organized in their opposition to those in power than for them to be organized to support those in power.

              •  I Understand That But (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                highacidity, lineatus, The Field

                theoretically, if you disagree with Obama on an issue, you don't have to do anything.  But if you agree with Obama on many issues (as one assumes you would, if you donated to him, volunteered for him, signed up for his email list, or voted for him), then having this helps coordinate Obama's message with regular people who share his values or positions.

                The Earth's 23.44 degree axial tilt in relation to its orbital
                plane is the REASON FOR THE SEASON.

                by karateexplosions on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 10:47:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, Obviously... (5+ / 0-)

                ...there are some things the Obama organization can successfully mobilize people to support and others that would be more difficult.

                I mentioned immigration reform before because in 2007 Rush Limbaugh and the extreme right successfully flooded the US Capitol with calls, caused the phone system to shut down, and rolled many senators, including 13 Democrats, into opposing the bill. That's going to be a huge battle and it cannot succeed without creating an equal and opposite counter-weight.

                There are other issues - say, support for Wall Street bailouts - that no matter how hard they might try they wouldn't succeed in getting massive grassroots support in that way.

                In all cases, we, the people, will always have the final word of whether to join in such an effort or not.

                What you describe - "people organized in their opposition to those in power" - looks good on paper and works in other countries but in the United States the left has completely failed to do that effectively (I've made a life study as to why that is) whereas the right has succeeded.

                It was the long absence of a strong social movement outside of government that created the vacuum that Obama filled with an electoral movement. If he doesn't do something like "Organizing for America" that will go back to being a vacuum because "the left" in the United States still largely has its head up its ass, mistaking "activism" for "organizing." The two are world's apart, and the former fails as a way to change much of anything.

                •  Hmmmm... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Marshall Ganz had a knack. Where did it do wrong?

                •  I see what you're saying, (0+ / 0-)

                  but I'm still uneasy.  Obama's interests and the left's interests don't always coincide.  Just look at his votes on the PATRIOT Act or telecom immunity or TARP.

                  •  Nothing prevents you (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    highacidity, lineatus, baudelairien

                    ...or anyone from going out and organizing outside of that apparatus.

                    What US activists tend to do instead is call a meeting of people who already agree with them and hold protest marches instead of designing campaigns that involve knocking on doors, phone banking, talking to and recruiting everyday people to act on behalf of attainable goals.

                    It's been the absence of real organizing like that which created the opportunity for Obama to do it in an electoral campaign and, now, from the White House.

                    The only way to prevent him or anybody from filling a vacuum is to fill it ourselves.

        •  Turning up the heat (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man, baudelairien

          From the LA Times cited above:

          One key difference, however, is that the Republicans used their network to target Democrats and win elections, whereas the Obama system will be used at least in part to influence members of the president's own party.

          "You can pretty much target the list to people who haven't always voted with Democrats," said a House Democratic leadership aide familiar with the plan.

  •  I'm afeard, I'm afeard...NOT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, Nowhere Man


    Two groups should be...

    Republicans may be crushed by "Obama 2"...


    Democrats that don't inherit "Obama 2" when his 8 years are up. Whomever he leaves O2 to will be our next President. He will guarantee his legacy by whom he "backs." Democrats would be committing suicide NOT to vote for the guy Obama wants to leave O2 to.

    The MAN is so far AHEAD of the curve - where he is - space is just a straight line to victory after victory.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site