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What we REALLY need is an "OFM" -- Organizing for Michigan


Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

A LITTLE HISTORY
My involvement with Obama for America/Organizing for America/OFA go back to the spring of 2008. From the very first meeting with local Obama fellows leading up to the house meeting we held in our living room later that month, I was fully "in". I assumed a leadership position quickly and both my wife Anne and I spent every available minute from then on working to organize locally to elect Senator Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

Because of my involvement, I was invited to the first "Legacy Conference", a two-day conference with 100 Regional Field Directors, 100 Field Organizers and 100 grassroots volunteers (or "super vols" as they called us), put together to help chart the future of OFA as it transitioned from a presidential campaign to its next phase. I, along with my organizing partner in crime and close friend Tad Wysor continued to stay organized locally. An organizational meeting we had in Dexter where we live was written up by the Boston Globe who even featured a picture of Anne on the front page. We held a training right before Christmas at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti that featured Ponsella Hardaway from the MOSES group in Detroit and Mike Kruglik, a Gamaliel Foundation organizer from Chicago who was the person who hired Barack Obama to organize on the city's south side when he was fresh out of college.

AFTER THE 2008 ELECTION
Throughout the spring of 2009 and into the summer when OFA finally got back on its feet, our local network still functioning and actually doing things, we fit right in with OFA's new goal of helping President Obama enact his agenda. We worked to ensure passage of the Stimulus and, most importantly, getting health insurance reform passed, along with other things along the way including the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

When the 2010 midterms came around, although we had far less resources since it was a non-presidential elections, we still worked hard to get out the vote and I, as the volunteer coordinator (aka "regional lead") in Ann Arbor, worked with volunteers all across the area on what turned out to be a bloodbath for Democrats at the polls. Shortly after that election, Tad and I were elected as co-Vice Chairs for Precinct Organizing for the Washtenaw County Democratic Party (WCDP.)

I continued to work for OFA as a volunteer leader through about 2011 when my blog and my work with the WCDP began to take up all of my spare time.

I tell this story because it shows just how important OFA has been to me over the past five years.

OFA 3.0
OFA has now transitioned into a new organization, Organizing for Action. A 501(c)(4) group, they will no longer be able to work for candidates and part of what OFA volunteers will be doing is raising funds since they won't have the luxury of a presidential campaign to do that for them. They will be focusing primarily on national issues and helping President Obama continue to get his agenda passed in Congress. One of the things they have done that has angered many Democrats across the country is to shut down their version of the Voter Action Network or "The VAN". Although the VAN is used by Democrats all over the America, the OFA version of the VAN was a souped-up version that benefited from all of the data entered by OFA volunteers from 2008 through the 2012 election. That data is now in the possession of OFA who have chosen not to share it with state Democratic parties but will, instead, use the lists of names and addresses and volunteer IDs and volunteer history for their national efforts.

The state Democratic leaders are in some ways quite justified in the anger that OFA has left town with the data. However, it's also fair to say that this data was never theirs to begin with. It's also true that they weren't exactly shooting the lights out in terms of grassroots organizing before OFA came into town so they haven't lost much because, frankly, they never really had much.

The OFA model, where their monster database that allowed them to microtarget voters with emails, phone calls, mailings and all manner of voter contacts, has set a path for our party. Over the last year I attended both the Netroots Nation and RootsCamp conferences and a significant proportion of the sessions were on the smart use of data and transferring the national OFA model do the state and local level. Organizers around the country are working hard to apply the lessons that OFA has taught us to all manner of political organizing.

Not only that, OFA has left behind a corps of trained grassroots organizers, organizers that, if they are provided with the right tools, can accomplish miraculous things, things that counter the incredible influx of money that our Republican opponents spend every election cycle to influence voters, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Unfortunately, state parties are a disadvantage when it comes to harnessing that organizing potential. They don't have the lists and the information about these local organizers because OFA has them. Additionally, they will now be competing with OFA for volunteers; OFA asking folks to work on national agenda items to help the president and state parties (as well as other progressive groups) reaching out to them to work on state issues. So, while what OFA did has angered many Democrats, it has also forced them to up their game to be competitive for these volunteers. If they don't offer something compelling to interest grassroots activists, those activists will take their knowledge and networks and training to groups that do. One impressive sign that this is already happening is that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has, for the first time, hired a national field organizer.

WHY I WON'T BE WORKING WITH OFA ANY LONGER
Here in Michigan and in other states that are majority Democrats but run by Republicans, we simply do not have the luxury of working with OFA on national issues. Don't get me wrong: I still support and endorse OFA 100%. It's just that, while I would love to be working on avoiding the devastating sequestration cuts or ensuring that sensible gun control legislation gets passed, we have much more important issues to be working on in our state. From now until Election Day in November 2014, our single-minded focus must be on electing Democrats at every level. We have no other priority. We control nothing in our state:

  • Governor
  • Lt. Governor
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of State
  • House of Representatives
  • Senate
  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeals

At every level of our government, Republicans are in control and this is despite that fact that we voted for Obama by a 9-point margin and Senator Stabenow by a 20+-point margin. We have to fight back against the gerrymandering and the potent impact of huge amounts of money being spent by corporations and wealthy individuals with a severely right wing, pro-Big Business agenda that is working to crush unions, privatize our public services, and roll back gains made in civil rights and women's rights, particularly women's access to safe and legal abortions. Every single thing we do between now and November 4, 2014 must be geared toward executing the biggest midterm election GOTV operation ever seen in this state. Between now and then, we will use issue organizing and everything else at our disposal to assemble our teams and networks and to rebuild the VAN database in a way that will benefit our state and that will STAY in our state.

My wife and I have taken to calling it "Organizing for Michigan".

Because we have access to the VAN through the Michigan Democratic Party and we have local organization already in place through our County Parties, we are already partly down the road to accomplishing this. Couple that with the fact that many local groups are still organized and still organizing, much like Tad and I did in late 2008 and beyond, and we have a powerful nucleus from which to build from and to organize our state into the future.

So, while I love and admire and respect OFA and all they are doing, until we can regain control of our state from the drunk-with-power, conservative Republican ideologues that have seized control, we just don't have the luxury of working with them right now. I look forward to the day when we do.

If you are in Michigan and want to stay active, please consider reaching out to your local Democratic County Party organizers and find out how you can play a role in organizing locally. If you are in the Washtenaw County area, please give me a call.

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Motor City Kossacks and Michigan, My Michigan.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (188+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, theKgirls, commonmass, zitherhamster, Leftcandid, LI Mike, Horace Boothroyd III, dkmich, ban nock, Egalitare, Brainwrap, ScottAC, Mentatmark, DWG, Glen The Plumber, Vatexia, 2thanks, pamelabrown, Supavash, zerelda, Amber6541, Dobber, ccasas, Smoh, SteveLCo, Cedwyn, Heart of the Rockies, kerflooey, remembrance, mungley, Yoshimi, leonard145b, mr crabby, sensetolisten, jfromga, FrY10cK, Sybil Liberty, puakev, scooter in brooklyn, Bronxist, We Won, Joieau, wasatch, wader, Quicklund, luckylizard, TriangleNC, NewDealer, MKinTN, snowman3, DeminNewJ, calebfaux, Its a New Day, MJ via Chicago, semiot, princesspat, avsp, hulibow, pierre9045, HappyinNM, tb mare, howabout, Dave in Northridge, wu ming, filkertom, Alma, NedSparks, Lujane, annan, FG, ffour, Lorikeet, No one gets out alive, ZenTrainer, NYFM, serendipityisabitch, TheDuckManCometh, a2nite, The Knute, RLMiller, cyncynical, Stephen Daugherty, MRA NY, Its any one guess, Aquarius40, mslat27, high uintas, ontheleftcoast, Wolf10, hamjudo, GwenM, quill, ChemBob, bleeding blue, camlbacker, sfarkash, tmservo433, Sean Robertson, Railfan, Virginia Victory, CornSyrupAwareness, jds1978, MPociask, cpresley, sebastianguy99, ichibon, Meteor Blades, Hammerhand, kurious, ArchTeryx, ivy redneck, eeff, eagleray, NMRed, 2laneIA, JoeEngineer, doingbusinessas, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, jediwashuu, nirbama, firemage, Cady Brownell, bkamr, myrealname, surelyujest, science nerd, Rogneid, greenbird, greengemini, Chitown Kev, slowbutsure, blueoasis, fladem, JVolvo, Sandy on Signal, DisNoir36, jennifree2bme, la58, BusyinCA, Sylv, joynow, cocinero, helpImdrowning, Christy1947, TiaRachel, earicicle, Turbonerd, confitesprit, monkeybrainpolitics, possum, Taget, Larsstephens, Chaddiwicker, legendmn, Eddie L, political mutt, Anne was here, Susan from 29, Dumbo, gauchiste, Hubbard Squash, Little Flower, renbear, bluesheep, tofumagoo, OIL GUY, mumtaznepal, jeannew, DuzT, Odysseus, Puddytat, stevenwag, LakeSuperior, newpioneer, BachFan, gizmo59, JanL, cfk, urnumbersix, also mom of 5, RiveroftheWest, KenBee, maybeeso in michigan, mideedah, kingneil, daeros, samddobermann, Oh Mary Oh

    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
    -- Dr. Peter Venkman


    Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

    by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:10:08 AM PST

  •  Your priorities are exactly right... (69+ / 0-)

    And by getting Michigan back, you've done more to advance Democratic causes than anything you could do with OFA.

    Go get 'em!

    First the thing is impossible, then improbable, then unsatisfactorily achieved, then quietly improved, until one day it is actual and uncontroversial. ... It starts off impossible and it ends up done. - Adam Gopnik

    by theKgirls on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:19:00 AM PST

  •  I don't quite understand why OFA and state (30+ / 0-)

    and county Democratic parties cannot share this data. Did I miss something? Why can't the national agenda and the State agendas coexist? There would be a great deal of power in focusing on both. OFA certainly could do this.

    By the way, it was great to meet you last year at NN 12 and I was delighted to see you and your blog informing a segment of Maddow last week.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:23:03 AM PST

    •  I think part of it is a consent thing. (35+ / 0-)

      It's been 6+ years now since I signed up for the barackobama.com email list, so I don't remember it all that well, but I don't recall there being a checkbox authorizing Obama for America (then) to share my information with other Democratic campaigns or organizations.

      An organization signing their mailing list subscribers up for other organizations' mailing lists is generally not smiled upon.

      Now, what OFA could do is send out an email to Michigan OFA members asking them to sign up or opt in to the Michigan Democratic Party's list... I don't know whether they've done that or not, but from the sounds of it it sounds like the answer is "not."

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:33:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's more to the VAN (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        myrealname, cocinero, KenBee, daeros

        than the e-mail list or even voting histories.  It logs contacts, survey responses, and has modules for support scores for different canddiates based on a wide variety of factors, all of which represent significant work product.  How these are transferred and valued so as not to exceed contribution limits to state parties raise significant concerns.

        There's nothing stopping Organizing for Action from being involved in local issues.  I'm not sure how the change in structure affects what OFA can do for coordinated campaigns, but anything to keep the new volunteers engaged is good.  That doesn't even depend on state parties but rather NTLs and CTMs, but it's also a two-way street, and not all local parties are on board with a data-driven, or decentralized approach.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:47:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's all about the money (24+ / 0-)

         The mailing lists are used to raise funds and get people involved. Most people don't have enough ready cash to donate to all the groups that email them. If an organization shares its fundraising list, they are sharing those potential funds. OFA wants the first shot at that money. The states can then scramble for the leftovers.  

    •  He said it above: competition for volunteers. (28+ / 0-)

      I'm fully supportive of OFA chapters that are making a difference, but as soon as the Obama Administration & OFA weighed in on our Colorado Senate primary against the more progressive candidate (who won state party convention support, but lost the election) I was done.  OFA isn't receptive to the grassroots; they see the grassroots as a resource to be used, & thus there is competition for the resource.  

      This shouldn't come as a shock, but it is so Not Change that it can't help but disappoint.  And OFA even has a useful mission coming up--retaking the House--that dovetails perfectly with retaking state Houses.  What will they do?  Will they coordinate campaigns, or...?

       

      Sometimes I can't believe it; I'm movin' past the feelin'...

      by Leftcandid on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:42:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Based on my talks with upper level OFA folks... (22+ / 0-)

        ...they will be pulling back during election years and directing their vols to work to elect Democrats. It is, at the end of the day, in their best interest to do so. This is based on conversations I've had in the last two weeks.

        "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
        -- Dr. Peter Venkman


        Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

        by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:18:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is it chance that OFA becomes a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rick Aucoin

        non-electoral org as soon as Obama has gotten re-elected?

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:27:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not chance, logic. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD
          •  Not logic, but a deliberate choice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mrkvica

            Obama had the option of rolling it back into the national/state party system. He chose to make it a non-partisan, non-profit corporation.  

            I've never been able to understand his thinking on anything, so his motivation in making that move is puzzling to me and to other Dems as well.

            It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:14:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He can be baffling at times, but I've learned that (0+ / 0-)

              sometimes it's me who doesn't get it.  Like on the recent debt limit standoff, who would've guessed what ultimately happened.  Not one pundit got it right, to my knowledge.

              This move makes sense to me.  Until the 2014 campaign season heats up OFA is going to work on the agenda of the administration they got elected, then go back to working on the elections.  Just it did like from 2009 to 2011, btw.

              This doesn't preclude people from working on whatever they want.  I hope they do.  And there will be many more of them to make that choice, thanks to OFA's great recruitment work.

              (ignoring the "corporation" slur)

              •  DNC can accomplish more than OFA.3 (0+ / 0-)

                without the limitations of being a legally defined non-partisan organization.  

                It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

                by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 02:46:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Go gettum DNC, then. (0+ / 0-)
                  •  Since Obama is in charge of the DNC (0+ / 0-)

                    that's the difficult part, not impossible, though.

                    DNC members need to appeal to Obama & Biden to allow the rest of the party to replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz with someone who is accountable to the rest of the party, not just our leaders in DC.  If they don't agree to do that, a coup may be necessary.

                    We need to push our state party members begin pressuring Obama, Biden, Reid, et al to turn the party back over to Dems, to return its focus to the entire party, not just the leaders inside the DC beltway.

                    Funny, I just clicked on the link to the DNC web site.  I haven't visited in years, precisely because of this problem.  I really miss being able to go there every day to be involved in our party.

                    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

                    by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:13:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  dear god I can't stand that woman (0+ / 0-)

                      when I look at the crop of rising Dem leaders in the House it makes my Congressman, Van Hollen, look like Churchill.

                      He is a good Congressman, for the most part. Seems to be willing to follow Obama down the fiscal policy bunny trail, though.

                      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:13:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

              ...look, everyone can see that we have an opportunity to move the country back to the left in the next ten years or so, especially in 2020 when the next redistricting occurs. Until then, it will mostly be public opinion that we have a chance to shape, but that is certainly important too.

              Right now, the center of public discourse (which is much different than the center of the electorate, of course) is right where Obama sits. As he's said over and over, if the Republican party still had any sane members left, he would be a moderate Republican. And every single time a member of the press proposes some kind of compromise between Democrats and Republicans, the plan looks exactly like what Obama has already proposed. They don't admit that, of course, but that's how it always turns out.

              Obama thinks he's the perfect centrist. The press thinks so too, they just don't realize it.

              He has a very large organization dedicated not just to political activity, but to sucking the air out of fundraising and volunteer scraping activities by any other Democratic and/or liberal organization. In 2008 we heard over and over how OFA was going around telling people not to donate to any other groups. I've heard statements that they are being less aggressive about this now, but not that they've stopped entirely.

              He obviously believes that his position is the correct one. Why would he NOT want to prevent the discourse in this country from shifting significantly to the left, just as much as he wants to prevent it from shifting to the right?

      •  OFA is a top-down organization (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NewDealer

        It's a corporation, not a partisan grassroots political one.

        Just as the GOP is struggling with the Tea Party, we Dems are going to struggle with OFA.  

        It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:11:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you, my friend. (11+ / 0-)

      First of all, please accept my most sincere and heartfelt condolences. I hope you're finding some peace in your mind and in your heart.

      That database is literally a goldmine and it was created by some very smart people who spent an enormous amount of time, energy and resources to do so. It would be foolhardy for them to simply give it away. My suspicion is that they will, eventually, lease its use to Democratic organizations and progressive groups, much like the VAN does.

      There's also the issue of competition for volunteers and it's understandable, to me at least, why they aren't conceding their position on that by giving everyone else the same access to those lists.

      Thanks for your kind words. I do appreciate them.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:25:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Campaign finance implications, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eclectablog, saluda

      as well as issues with ensuring that the VAN is actually used effectively and by good candidates.

      The neighborhood teams don't need permission to carry over, but local parties need to do a better job of engaging them.  In my work with OFA, I found some of those to be good, but others more interested in turf fights and doing things "how they've always been done."  

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:42:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are several issues with data sharing (0+ / 0-)

      In most cases, it's not as straightforward as just sharing data.  Campaigns and action groups may not be equipped to handle the data once they receive it.

      More than that, many groups protect their data not just for themselves but for the safety of those that donate.   This prevents those names from getting into the wrong hands; not every democrat who runs should just get their hands on the lists ;)

      Finally, a lot of the data just tells you some information, not all.

      We have become too data driven.   It's easy for people to trash email, throw away snail mail.    The fact is, we need to continue a focus on the direct, person to person communication - from knocking on doors to setting up booths at grocery stores/farmers markets/anywhere.

      Talking to people directly is real interaction.  Anything else is easily disposed of.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:35:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree with this entirely BUT! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkor7, JVolvo, Odysseus

        That person-to-person interaction you are talking about was driven almost entirely by the data OFA had. They knew very specifically where the sporadic voters were, people they knew would vote for the president IF they got to the polls, and that was almost entirely where we spent our time calling and knocking for the last month heading up to Election Day.

        It was that smart use of data the made all of the difference and, in that sense, I completely disagree that we've "become too data driven". On the contrary, that is the great equalizer in terms of fighting back against Super PAC money and Koch brothers money. It is also the wave of the future if the panels I went to at Netroots Nation and RootsCamp are any indication.

        "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
        -- Dr. Peter Venkman


        Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

        by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:52:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I shoud have restated this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo

          In the end, data is of course a crucial factor in determining how to lay out resources.

          However, one of the problems we have with a lot of data reliance is that it makes it difficult to turn over elections that shouldn't be turned over.

          In the past decade, I've worked numerous contests where the odds told us that (per the data) they could not be won.  The demographic numbers simply told us there weren't enough democrats in a district.   The way to win is to flip republicans.

          With gerrymeandering and the like, this is important.  Changing demographics are important.

          The issue that commonmass was linking to (in my mind) was voter lists and donor data.   This is important, but again, there are rules and laws about how they can be shared.

          Meanwhile, demographic change lists can tell you trends within a district that aren't visible.  It can give you ideas on how to flip a district or if it can be done.

          This is where we get stuck.  There are a lot of moments where Democrats (and Republicans) completely write off a district because donor and registration data doesn't support it.

          But part of the factor here is changing the basic concept of the math; many of those districts stay red or blue because the demographics haven't been challenged, and as a result, potential voters on both ends just stay home.

          That's when later we get surprised.  

          So, when I say "too data driven", I mean that we take certain sets and we use them to replace work.   What you're talking about is merging together multiple data with effort.    :)

          The data itself is not the end tool.  It's a starting point.

          Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

          by Chris Reeves on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:20:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Because OFA has never been about (0+ / 0-)

      anything other than very particular individuals within the Democratic Party. See, for example, Central Florida circa 2010, where OFA was nowhere to be found.

  •  We are in the same position in NC. (30+ / 0-)

    While in the rest of the country progressives are celebrating a leftward move in the voting public, we in NC are watching the State go back to the plantation system and are helpless to do anything about it. It may be that the conservative cabal's focus on individual states is what stalls progressive progress more than anything.

    "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

    by stellaluna on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:44:45 AM PST

  •  I don't understand Obama not giving MI access. (18+ / 0-)

    If they follow through and allocate our electoral votes, he and all future Ds will lose the whole damn place.  

    Thanks for your hard work.   I really hope MI kicks some ass.   Oakland's Dem Party is meeting in Novi.   That isn't even close to central.   Maybe somebody will give them a clue, too.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:51:22 AM PST

  •  Good Luck with your elections in Michigan (8+ / 0-)

    sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Oh, and I should also take the opportunity to thank you and any others who read this for working to pass the ACA. I believe that one piece of legislation was one of the most important things done in decades.

    I understand why OFA hung on to it's data base. They aren't the Democratic Party although their goals were often the same. During the 2010 midterms, our state was flooded with OFA staffers, and we used the data base and someone made a web site very similar to Obama's and OFA's for our democratic underdog senate candidate,,, and we won.

    For now I'm sitting things out, "assault" look alike rifles just aren't that much of a crime issue and gun control is a net loser here. But I know that come election time OFA's organization will somehow be involved. They make our county and state Democratic party look like they are stuck in the last century.

    I'm not sure what form OFA will eventually evolve into, but I do know it hasn't died or even stopped evolving.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:08:25 AM PST

  •  Republished to Motor City Kossacks. (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks, Chris.

    2

  •  Since the coup (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10

    of 2008 when all the progressives were kicked out OFA has been the enemy of anything progressive and liberal. Nothing good can come from any offshoot of this abomination.

    One day I hope that you will see the damage that you personally did as one of the the prime movers in the smash the Dkos as a solidly progressive/liberal institution as one of OFA's loudest supporters.

  •  You do need an OFM. (10+ / 0-)

    Remember, OFA is about national issues.  All that stuff going on in Michigan need its local resources and boots on the ground to tackle that horrific state legislature and slimy governor.  In other words, replace all their asses.

    •  They have one, it's called the Michigan Dem Party (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NewDealer, dfarrah

      OFA has sucked resources, money and volunteers from state and local Dem parties, leaving them in the dust.

      Now OFA is a 501 c 4, unable, as the diarist notes, to campaign or work for individual candidates.  Other than taking volunteers, sucking up money and stealing data, what purpose does OFA serve for Dems?  None.

      OFA is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 c 4.  By law and by design, they're not aligned with any political party.  Who needs them?  Dems don't.

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:53:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two things (4+ / 0-)

        (1) The MDP was hardly doing a bang-up job of field organizing before OFA rolled into town so it's arguable that OFA didn't really keep them from accomplishing much since they weren't doing much to begin with. I wouldn't go quite that far but I wouldn't go as far as you have either.

        (2) In blue states where Dems have fewer electoral battles to fight, giving folks there an outlet to help President Obama and the Dems in Congress achieve their goals is a good thing and absolutely DOES help the Dems.

        "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
        -- Dr. Peter Venkman


        Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

        by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:05:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like MDP needs it's MI OFA folks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dfarrah, DuzT, maybeeso in michigan

          to help them get organized. Your expertise is sorely needed there.  In addition, it's so much easier to have an impact on your state party than on a non-profit corporation, which only reports to its board of directors and major donors.

          It's a mid-term election, Obama's not running for office. These are the times when the state party goes into high gear to get the job done.  

          Once you get involved, you'll find it just as rewarding as OFA, if not more.   It gives you a hands-on experience where you see immediate results in your own state and community.  The friends I've made working with state and local Dems, both elected and volunteers, have been my most lasting friendships.  

          Local and state candidates are much more accessible and are truly grateful for any assistance you can offer.

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:21:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  We attempted to create an offshoot (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    puakev, Quicklund, FG, MRA NY, MPociask, mrkvica

    of OFA after 2008 with little success.  The issue I think with many on our group's list (which was quite large) was that they originally signed up to support Obama, not a bunch of local candidates.

    I wish you luck.

    •  To put this another way - what we wound up with (6+ / 0-)

      is the cult of Obama, not growth in the Democratic Party.  If anything OFA has starved the Democratic Party for nutrients and sucked may resources away.

      •  OFA was about getting the President elected (11+ / 0-)

        and reelected, and now about getting national issues recognized and dealt with.  But I think the diarist makes a good observation:  It's time state Democrats look at OFA as a model, not as the organization to depend on.  It's not a state level organization.  If the Democrats at the state level don't start doing their own organization, then all of the changes occurring under Obama will be undone with the next president.

        "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

        by anonevent on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:55:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's utterly ridiculous (7+ / 0-)

        You sound like a Republican. Here's Dave Agema just last week, responding to Sen. Ted Cruz calling Obama the most radical president ever:

        "I couldn't agree more," Agema wrote on his Facebook page. "It's starting to look like Germany-people just blindly following a charismatic sick leader."
        Same sentiment you're professing, albeit without the Hitler reference.

        "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
        -- Dr. Peter Venkman


        Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

        by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:10:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that's fair, Eclectablog. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MRA NY, Wolf10, MPociask, dfarrah, DuzT

          Really, a lot of people were pretty damn sick of the state and federal stunts the democratic party was involved in, especially when showering their support on dino incumbents against their progressive (and popular!) primary opponents.  A lot of people well and truly did join OFA to help Obama specifically more than the Democrats in general.

          I love the DKos mantra - more and better democrats.  [more] AND [better].  The regional democrats are very focused on [more] and [protecting their own].

          “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” - Fran Lebowitz

          by Aramis Wyler on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:21:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was referring to the insulting comment about... (10+ / 0-)

            ..."the cult of Obama" as if those of us that supported his candidacy were too blind and stupid to have a realistic understanding of what he represented.

            "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
            -- Dr. Peter Venkman


            Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

            by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:48:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Talk to your local and state Dems (0+ / 0-)

              I'm sure they don't feel that way.  

              It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

              by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:25:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually all of the state and local Dems... (5+ / 0-)

                ...that I work with, and I work with a LOT of them, are big fans of Barack Obama and all that he has done for this country.

                We share different realities, you and I.

                "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
                -- Dr. Peter Venkman


                Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

                by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:38:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Great! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mr Robert

                  So you shouldn't have a problem becoming one of them.  In our state and county, its like the local Dem family, and I mean that in a good way.

                  The difference is that the focus is turned to the state/local Dem community.   The national stuff is always there, but until the day after election day 2014, the national stuff is on the back burner as far as activism is concerned.

                  Going to the big rallies is exciting, but there's no greater sense of accomplishment (IMO) than when you're out there on the trail with local candidates, going to the pot-lucks, town halls, candidate forums, bingo nights, etc.  

                  Time to get busy, the fish-fry season is upon us, then there's the St. Pat's parades, then the county fairs, hot dog & chips fundraisers, parade season....lots of good memories.  I remember getting one of my candidates in 10 local parades one Fourth of July, back when mapquest was the only logistics tool.  Fun times, don't miss out.

                  It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

                  by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:10:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Why is this so offensive to you? (0+ / 0-)

              Do you deny that there are a lot of people who were attracted to Obama by his personal story, his personal charisma, his personal magnetism? That many of those people who volunteered for him then went back to their volunteer-free existence because they didn't really feel connected to the Democratic party, just to Obama?

              Nobody's accusing you of being someone like that. It would be insane to. Nobody's even saying that this was a majority of people. But you're reacting defensively to a statement about a segment of people that you aren't a member of, as if this were an accusation against you personally.

              I voted for Obama. I volunteered for Obama. I really didn't like Obama much at all as a candidate in 2008 and I honestly don't like him much as a president now. But I volunteered next to quite a few people who adored him, many of who still adore him, and who I know I will never see volunteering (for a candidate) again after Obama left the scene. Because OFA is not trying to recruit them for local races at all, and because when they got engaged in Obama Obama Obama, there was no crossover into engagement with the Democratic party.

              So are you saying that these people just don't exist? Or that they barely exist in most places, say, and my anecdotal evidence is just that, mostly-invalid anecdotal evidence?

              Or are you saying that sure, some of these people exist, but you aren't one of them, and there are plenty like you too?

              If it's the latter, then I just can't understand why you seem to be taking this so incredibly personally. (Honestly, if it's the former, I still don't. But that's just me.)

        •  Obama is a moderate republican (self described). (0+ / 0-)

          So I guess you're giving a compliment here?

      •  You'll be needing that "cult" from here on out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eclectablog

        Don't be so dismissive of that cult for it looks like the future of the country. You will need it to win elections at every level, unless you are not a Democrat in which case you are either a Republican, or electorally irrelevant.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:37:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We will see how it all shakes out. (23+ / 0-)

    The problem with OFA, and I've been very critical of it outside of election years, is that it isn't designed for the Democratic Party or even a set of Democratic ideas. It is designed for Barack Obama as president. That's why OFA was so ineffective in 2010. It isn't designed for Democrats. When Obama goes away, OFA will too.

    So I don't expect much to happen on the local party building front because Barack Obama has never done anything for the Democratic Party except use the moniker for his own ends. Party building is just not his thing. Furthermore, his top operatives are not movement Democrats or grassroots activists. They are Washington or Chicago based typical political consultants. Given those realities (and the huge potential money to be made for said operatives), I suspect you'll see OFA spend a lot of time on corporate fundraising and whipping up support for the president more than anything else.

    However, there are PEOPLE. People like the diarist. And people can do whatever they want with the things they learned from the Obama Campaign. So if people want to rebuild the party from the bottom up rather than spending any more time on what will soon be a lame duck president, then that's a good thing. Democrats should welcome it.

    But I wouldn't bet too much money on OFA being a factor past 2016. We will have a new Democratic leader by then and that person will have their own organization. Lets just hope that organization is the Democratic Party rather than a personal feifdom.

    •  I understand the assessment of OFA being (11+ / 0-)

      an organization created primarily to help the Obama presidential effort, but to say Obama has never done anything for the Democratic Party is pretty extreme.

      For example, Barack Obama has increased the number of people leaning Democrat and undoubtedly has played a major role in decreasing the number of people who identify with or lean Republican over the past number of years.

      Also by registering 1.8 million new voters in battleground states, Obama for America has expanded the Democratic electorate.

      And in terms of the many important legislation that have been passed over the past 4 years, such as expanding Pell grants and other civil rights legislation, these were not passed by Republicans they were passed by Democrats.... This is owing to the influence of Barack Obama.

      •  Those statistics cite the expansion of HIS (13+ / 0-)

        electorate. Those are 1.8 million Obama voters, not 1.8 million Democrats. Now will Democrats benefit from this as a side effect? Certainly. In that since he has been helpful. And both he and the First Lady set good examples of modern, positive faces of the party. They make it attractive to be a Democrat.

        But that isn't the same thing as party building. On THAT front, President Obama has been an out and out disaster as Democrats have been decimated across the board even in states reliably blue. And at the worst possible time. Michigan, Wisconsin, and even Pennsylvania. States that went heavily for Obama, but everybody else downticket went Republican. How's that workin out?

        There are some signs I've recently he's now going to do a little tiny bit of the work of a party leader: recruiting candidates, learning district concerns and making his administration lean into it, raising money for Governors, Mayors and state parties. And putting in place the financial infrastructure at the DNC so that it can seed state parties intelligently. It wont be a 50 state strategy, and its 4 years late, but something is better than nothing.

        Still its sad the bar is set so low. President Obama could transform the Democratic Party if he wanted to. So far, he's just not interested.

        •  Not wanting to turn Eclectablog's thoughtful diary (5+ / 0-)

          into a debate on President Obama as party leader. I have to say that you've softened a bit from saying "Obama has never done anything for the Democratic Party." To be honest, my attention was just drawn to the extreme nature of that statement.

          In terms of Obama winning at the top of the ticket and Democrats losing down-ticket races, obviously a lot more is needed in local organization efforts, which is exactly the point Eclectablog is making. Beyond the President, there has to be concentrated efforts placed on local candidates and local elections by local organizations.

          Obama and the Democratic Party had record months of fund raising in 2012, and in some cases beating Republicans, but, despite this, some Democrats still lost their local contests. Did the Democratic Party use their resources effectively? Perhaps not, I can't really say. Still, this goes to the need for local efforts.

          The President, who had been involved with a fierce battle against Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and Sheldon Edelson perhaps can be blamed for not focusing much more attention on local races, but I suspect most would consider that a hard argument to make.

          Just one more thing concerning the registration of 1.8 million new voters, you may consider these voters to being merely Obama voters, but it has been shown that voters who register for one party usually tend to stick with that party:

          Barack Obama's victory over John McCain came in large part from his near-unprecedented support from America's young people— 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 69 percent of first-time voters cast their ballots for Obama in 2008, compared with 53 percent of the population overall. Despite getting trounced in the midterm elections last month, the Democrats have maintained their edge with young voters, holding on to 58 percent of the under-30 set, according to exit polls.

          A newly released study suggests that the echoes of Obama's youthful appeal could continue to reverberate through 2012 and beyond, simply because voters who register for one party keep casting ballots for that party for years after. The first-time voters who were caught up in Obamamania when they registered are likely to stay Democrats well into the future.

          http://www.slate.com/...
          •  We are all local Democrats (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LucyandByron

            by definition.  We are self-identified Democrats who live in cities, towns and states that are managed by  governments run, in part, by our fellow Democrats.  Our fellow Democrats appear on our ballots for non-national offices thanks to the work of our local fellow Democrats.

            When we self-identify as Democrats, we become part of our party, including the local level.  It's up to us to become active and fight the battles at every level, not just in the national arena.

            For those new to Dem politics, it's very rewarding to complete the process and become fully involved in the Dem community and with all Dem elected officials and candidates.  

            It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:41:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The real question, however, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eclectablog, mrkvica, Egalitare

            is will they vote for Democrats? You know...show up at the polls for a special judge election? Because that's what tells you if you've got a healthy party apparatus or just an apparatus for one guy.

            That was the question I got pummelled for in 2010 when I questioned OFA's effectiveness when Obama isn't on the ballot. Turns out the results spoke for themselves. Liberals voted, those Democrats who will vote Democrat no matter what any time of year. But those Obama voters, the new folks, they're the ones who didn't show up in the off year despite OFA having all their info. So, yeah.

            Lets see what they do next year. The proof is in the pudding. With GOP approval ratings being what they are and Obama's machine being what it is said to be, shouldn't be difficult to flip some state houses and county commissions. Otherwise, I think we can safely say that OFA is a campaign all about Obama and when he's gone, it will go with him.

            •  I definitely agree with this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              brooklynbadboy

              It's the job of us as Democrats to turn these folks into lifelong Democratic voters. If we don't, we will have squandered an opportunity.

              I will say that Dems in Michigan are notorious for not turning out in midterm elections and we got pummeled by higher-than normal GOP turnout due to the tea party wave.

              I actually believe the lack of resources OFA had in 2010 vs. 2008 since it wasn't a presidential election year had as much to do with its lack of impact as anything. The ground game in 2010 was a shadow of what we had in 2008 and 2012. Instead of the vibrant GOTV staging locations we had in the presidential election years, it was basically me sitting in an empty rental house by myself and probably a quarter of the volunteers working with us.

              "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
              -- Dr. Peter Venkman


              Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

              by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:33:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And that's the point isn't it? (5+ / 0-)

                With all that is going on in Michigan, it isn't much comfort to you I'm sure that Obama won Michigan. I mean, yes that's a good thing. But what happens when there's no more Obama? You're stuck with a psychopathic state government.

                Here in New York we needed just two seats (IN NEW YORK!) to win back the State Senate. With just a tiny smidgen of Obama organization, we could have done it. Not to mention throw out a few upstate Republicans and maybe hold on to Kathy Hochul. But since we had no competitive national election, the Obama vote just didn't bother. And so, we still have a GOP Senate.

                This is the sort of thing I mean by party building. Any Democrat running for dog catcher should be able to rely on a strong PARTY based GOTV effort.

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

                  ...At the state level, I'd put it more on the state party apparatus and that's been wanting (to be nice about it) for quite some time. I don't doubt Michigan will always vote for the Democratic presidential candidates. The statewide vote is easy. The gerrymandering is what has killed us at the Congressional level on down and that's a direct result of not having control of the legislature in 2000 and again in 2010. 2000 was actually worse. They just tidied up a few loose ungerrymandered ends in 2010.

                  "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
                  -- Dr. Peter Venkman


                  Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

                  by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:11:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  NY's state senate is still (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NedSparks, brooklynbadboy

                  controlled by Republicans, because that's the way Andrew Cuomo wants it.  The problem is not due to a lack of effort from OFA, but a lack of effort from Cuomo.

        •  Except (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eclectablog, NedSparks

          that OFA has absolutely helped state candidates, particularly in 2012.  See, for example, the gains in the Senate.

          Obama's GOTV effort was absolutely critical in some states - ask Tim Kaine about Virginia.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:29:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, he hasn't helped the State Parties much at all (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mrkvica

            I can speak for  Tennessee, we lost  many elections because "our boots on the ground folks" were sent to North Carolina.  At a time when we needed to fight our minority status, we ended up with Dems in super minority status.  OFA hurt us big time.  Other states bordering battleground states,  saw the same thing,  the 2012 election diverted important local resources to the Presidential campaigns.  

            One of my friends out west told me she felt the OFA hated the state races.  I never forgot her words and it seems I have to concur with her.  Talk to folks who ran for the legislatures and hear what they have to say.  I live in what used to be a blue state and is now one of the reddest in the country. We've been decimated.

            •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eclectablog

              Here in Michigan, we supported other races within the state and when it seemed as if we'd be doing well enough for Obama, we directed our volunteers away to work on state level campaigns which needed help. In the end we had a coordinated campaign with the unions and the State Rep. While we were perfectly willing to support local candidates and the ballot proposals, it was the others we were working with who sometimes had a problem supporting our issue, which was re-electing the President- they appeared to be mainly after free access to the VAN.

              Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

              by jennifree2bme on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 05:59:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  This is exactly the mindset... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sandy on Signal

            ...that is part of the problem.

            Your Senator is not a damn 'state candidate'. Senators are Federal candidates. They're part of the Federal government.

            The problem we have is that we don't control many state governments! And because of that, we don't control the House, and we won't control it until 2022 at the very earliest. And we won't be able to pass any national legislation until then.

            And OFA says, 'sure, we do state races as well. Why, we helped a lot of Senators with their reelection campaigns.' No. No no no. That's not a state race. And OFA did nothing anywhere regarding any state campaigns except sucked a bunch of cash and volunteers out of them that could have made a huge difference.

        •  We often agree, but not on this one. Obama has (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eclectablog, NedSparks

          transformed the electorate so that it now leans towards Dems almost as much as Reagan did the other way.  He's reduced the Southern Strategy to a loser's game that the other side can't stop playing.

          Progressive complaints notwithstanding, we've come a long way, and we've got a good long run of success coming.  As long as we don't blow it.

          •  Only for the White House. (5+ / 0-)

            In local races, nada. We're completely uncompetitive in about 30 states and a whole bunch more counties. That's not coming a long way. Might surprise you to learn that our Senate candidates outperformed Obama in competitive states.

            So if our focus is just the White House and the Senate, well sure...Obama's been fabulous. But on the state legislative level on down to school boards and county commissions, we're just getting pummelled.

            Even here in New York the Senate was up for grabs and just a little bit of Obama organizations could have sent the GOP packing. But since New York wasn't competitive for him, we got zilch. So now we have a GOP Senate again.

            This is the sort of thing I'm talking about.

            •  You may be right. Probably are, in fact, cause (0+ / 0-)

              you've been watching this closely.

              Both levels are more complicated than Obama or not Obama, of course.  For example the big Repub donors have been targeting downticket & state races for awhile.  Dems have not been so good at this -- winning is a new Democratic habit -- and so we do have WI & MI & NC, for example, going the wrong way.  NY too, as you point out.

              The current "movement conservatism" Repub machine's been a-building for, say, 40 years.  1972 was arguably a turning point.  They're fully operational at many levels, with many targets, many networks, magazines, think tanks, infinite money, tv networks, many different actors and constituencies & messages. Obama & OFA have been taking this on for no more than 6 years.  I'm not sure comparisons are as simple as they might seem.

              So while it's true that OFA hasn't yet achieved the mulitlevel traction of the Right, it's also a bit unfair imo to use the current imbalance as a criticism.  They (OFA) has done spectacularly well of late, to all of our benefit.

              We should imo be cheering them on & joining in.  We've got a long way to go and they're the most successful game going, for our side.

              •  (head shake) (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sandy on Signal, mrkvica
                We should imo be cheering them on & joining in.  We've got a long way to go and they're the most successful game going, for our side.
                The point of this diary is the opposite of that. We should'nt be "cheering them on" because they only cause they are cheering for is Barack Obama, who could care less if some nutcase is on your local water commission. Cheering for OFA, who could care less about that, will make no difference.

                Right Michigan has an extreme government far out of step with the electorate. Cheering for Obama wont fix that.

                •  Sorry, I forgot that "cheer" was a buzzword (0+ / 0-)

                  on DK.  I should have said "celebrate it's successes."

                  No, but of course not.  Electablog is right on target on this.  We have to tend to our states & regions, as he says, and his state is in crisis.  But I also notice what he does not say, that the local & state losses are somehow due to OFA.  

                  Sort of the definition of a false dichotomy.

                  Would you really expect a 5-year old almost-entirely volunteer organization to attend to all political levels in all states at all times?

                  So yes, I do think we should be celebrating its successes, while expanding its reach & range and working on whatever arena needs us most, from within or without.

                  Again, I don't see the conflict.  What counts is that our side continues to actually get out there & work, in larger and larger numbers.  Personally I'll be working for Markey and OFA this spring.  

                  Our job here will probably be easier than electablog's in MI.  Best of luck to him and his team.

      •  One could easily (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandy on Signal

        argue that the repubs and their odius antics/policies caused the shift.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:59:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Another group that was ineffective in 2010 (0+ / 0-)

      Daily Kos. Fundraising was way down, as was the quantity of candidates officially endorsed. And damn near all of it went to Senate races in Kentucky and Arkansas. John Boehner didn't have better friends than us that year.

      Obama Did Not Kill the Public Option http://tinyurl.com/7d48qzw Schneiderman: “Sometimes people on the left have to take yes for an answer."

      by CornSyrupAwareness on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:34:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And where are the Kerry people? The Gore ppl? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      Those folks are going to evaporate. It is up to candidates to get us to follow them. When President Obama goes away, we'll all be free agents so to speak. This is how it should be.

      President Obama earned his organizational following in a way no other has done before him. The person that follow hims must be worthy as well.

      This is why I believe we need a vigorous primary. If we go handing the nomination to anyone for whatever reason, then do not expect the same level of participation and passion because it will not have been earned throughout all of the coalition.

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:45:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I got a glimpse of the power of the VAN (5+ / 0-)

    database and dialing software while working with a local non-profit group in the Fall of 2012.

    I only got a glimpse, but it was used to good effect here in NH. I don't understand enough to know whether the issues in this diary will affect them, but I do plan to do more work with this citizens alliance. Very local. That's fine with me. I'm glad Obama got elected and his family is beautiful.

    But fuck his robotic killing machines and horrendous staffing and cabinet selections. Fuck Jay Carney and Fuck Robert Gibbs.

    Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

    by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:14:44 AM PST

    •  I think Carney and Gibbs have done bang up jobs (9+ / 0-)

      I like 'em both.

      And, yes, the VAN rocks. Fortunately Michigan was an early adopter, thanks largely to our outgoing Michigan Democratic Party chair, Mark Brewer.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:21:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When asked about the Sandy Hook massacre, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dump Terry McAuliffe

        Jay Carney said, "Now's not the time to talk about gun policy." He was right. It was way too late.

        When asked about the 16 year old American boy killed by a drone strike while looking for his father in Yemen, Robert Gibbs said, "Boy should have picked a better father."

        Come on assholes. Be human beings first and politicians second.

        Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

        by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:28:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you're suggesting that these two men are... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity

          ...imperfect, then we agree 100%.

          "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
          -- Dr. Peter Venkman


          Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

          by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:39:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the poster (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sandy on Signal

            may be suggesting that the men are completely amoral.

            That's a long way from imperfect.

            Your dismissiveness about the comment about the boy is nauseating.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:04:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's because Gibbs didn't say that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              highacidity

              He said this:

              I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.
              The "you" he's referring to isn't the boy but the group who was upset by the drone attack. FrY10cK paraphrased it and did so in a way that completely mischaracterized what Gibbs meant.

              By the way, there's a good chance I wouldn't respond to anyone who uses language like this:

              Fuck Jay Carney sideways with the broken stock of an AK-47. Robert Gibbs too who recently said of an innocent 16 yr. old boy killed by a drone, "Boy should have picked a better father." Paraphrasing.

              These are Democrats? Where the fuck do I go to vote for a liberal? Jesus fucking christ on a hood ornament.

              That's not the type of person I typically choose to have a conversation with, much less a debate. It sounds like a 17 year old, actually.

              None of this is to say I support our drone policy. As someone with relatives in the military in Afghanistan, I am ambivalent about it. But I'm not going to debate it with people who resort to hyperbole and mischaracterization.

              "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
              -- Dr. Peter Venkman


              Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

              by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:04:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  By the way, the 16 year old boy in question (0+ / 0-)

                was a high school student from Pennsylvania I believe. Had a facebook page and everything. U.S. born and raised.

                What was that part in the bill of rights again?

                No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
                Yeah, there's more than one person out there that's a little angry about this. And Robert Gibbs dismissive attitude guarantees there will be more civilian casualties, more mothers who watch their children's arms blown off, more children who watch their mother's faces blow off (see the Getty photographer's pictures of the little girl who survived the slaughter of the rest of her family in their car at a Tal Afar checkpoint) and more blowback against U.S. militarism.

                Oh by the way, I may be a DFH now, but I spent ten years in the USAF. I am not uninformed. The more you know, the more angry you get.

                Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

                by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:20:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  "The girl from Tal Afar" (0+ / 0-)

                  The photo is probably hard to find now. I believe the photographer (well known, can't remember his name though) is dead now.

                  I'll bet lot's of people in Iraq, Pashtun tribal areas, and the Arab world  have a copy though. Blowback is coming people. I wish it wasn't so.

                  But hey, It was only one 16 year old boy Robert Gibbs was referring to. No need to get angry right?

                  Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

                  by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:26:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Not Pennsylvania. Denver. (0+ / 0-)

                  Whatever. Fifth Amendment? Torture? These are quaint notions. Let's not get too upset about their passing.

                  Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

                  by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:38:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  You're right. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm expressing anger (some of it justified) at men who have (or had) much tougher jobs than I do.

            The Robert Gibbs comment was quite nauseating though as is Obama's necessary obeisance to Wall St. without which he could not govern.

            I believe he and his staff are doing what is politically possible in the current political climate.

            For a an incisive, I would say brilliant, one page summary  of how we got here as a nation, please (I beg everyone) to read Juan Cole's one page summary here: http://www.juancole.com/...

            It's maddening but it concisely explains how the U.S. got to where we are: 5% of the world's population consuming 30% of the world's energy, 40% of the worlds resources, and pouring uncountable (literally uncountable because of black programs) down the military toilet. We follow footstep for footstep in the tracks of the former Soviet Union. Read Dmitry Orlov if you don't believe me. He's a Russian expatriate who lived through the collapse and writes about it extensively as it applies to the U.S.

            And we can't even talk about cutting our insane military spending to put people to work teaching children and upgrading infrastructure. So yeah, Robert Gibbs comment really pissed me off. He was probably really tired and harried at the time he made it.

            Apologies to him, Jay Carney, and anyone else I've offended. Now please go read Juan Cole. One page. Please. http://www.juancole.com/...

            Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

            by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:11:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  One more apology for the violent language (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eclectablog

              cited by Electablog. Not an excuse and not a disclaimer for the Secret Service. Just an admission that I didn't like that kind of language in high school, in the military (There were marching ditties worse than that) or the house I grew up in.

              I'm putting a sticky note on my screen right now:

              Do not post when drunk.

              Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism is the solution.

              by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:04:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's fair. (0+ / 0-)

                And I must post my obligatory "It's 'EClectablog', not 'Electablog'" comment.

                "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
                -- Dr. Peter Venkman


                Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

                by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:27:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh! Eclectablog .... That's cool! (0+ / 0-)

                  But I insist on pointing out how badly off the rails our government has gone and how this has not been acknowledged by administration officials.

                  I certainly hope the VAN database can be used constructively in the future. But our ground-breaking First Family (I wish Michelle Obama's organic garden got more press) is on a slippery slope and I hope people who support them will keep tabs on how bad things have become.

                  http://www.rollingstone.com/...

                  And to reiterate redundantly again over and over, this is how we got here: http://www.juancole.com/...

                  Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

                  by FrY10cK on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 04:43:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  VAN in the Ring of Fire (5+ / 0-)

      As a data director for the 'Ring of Fire' region (counties surrounding Allegheny - Pittsburgh - in SW PA) I can tell you that the OFAPA version of the VAN was pretty incredible.  It was easier to work with in 2012 than it was in 2008, and it saved an incredible amount of time for our short supply of canvassers.  We would occasionally do canvassing runs with groups of people hitting every door, but these were more for a PR purpose (letting people know we were active for Obama in the area) than for actually convincing or reinforcing supporters.  When we were out to convert people to Obama or to reinforce existing supporters, those lists let us hit the 3 houses on a street that needed convinced/reinforced and not spend time arguing with staunch republicans or even died in the wool democrats for that matter if we were doing the conversion parts.

      It let our groups reach much larger areas than they could have otherwise.

      My only problem with the OFAPA VAN was in it's use - our regional coordinators would often have us canvassing and phoning the same groups, and towards the end they were reprinting the call lists so often that the data people couldn't get the old data in fast enough and people would get multiple calls.

      “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” - Fran Lebowitz

      by Aramis Wyler on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:32:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My perception in Florida (0+ / 0-)

        was OFA directed its resources better in 2012 than in '08.  This was partly out of necessity - we did not have as many resources.

        The ability to direct canvassers to the homes that matter is, as they say in technology, a killer ap.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:31:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can it be duplicated? (0+ / 0-)

      No doubt it can. My husband and sons work in this area, they do it all the time.

      We should make it a priority for the national and state parties to build a better VAN that all the Dems can use. It's probably not as difficult as some folks think, especially since its been done already.

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:30:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The State and County Democratic Party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer

    are lower case democratic organizations. With the list and volunteers you developed you could turn things around.

  •  Keeping the info in VAN (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask

    to themselves forces everyone who wants to campaign to come to the Obama camp for help.

    of course, one could replicate the labor, I suppose. It's not like this hasn't been done before--DFA, Wellstone Action, Kerry's old org KAP have all done versions of "not strking the tents after Election Day," and using the labor, infrastructure, and information gained through campaigns for future campaigns (both issue and electoral). Obama just did an advanced version of the same thing, souped-up with not only political expertise but also a big wallet.  There's no reason we have to let OFA monopolize everything. In fact, there's every reason not to. But taking action on this matter would require a level of honesty about power within the Democratic party which is unlikely to do anything except cause a flame war.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:26:24 AM PST

  •  We have the same problem in Ohio and (6+ / 0-)

    frankly, as a local county Democratic Party for the last 4 years + we have chosen not to compete for resources with OFA but rather to help them.  We've fed them volunteers and provided resources on the proposition that by doing so in the long run we were building a stronger Democratic Party.  

    But now it appears all those volunteers we pushed their way they regard as proprietary information, not to be shared with the very people who help them build all that in the first place.

    And still I get daily e-mails asking for money and additional support for their agenda.  But its not a two way street.

    I for one have decided my pocket book is NOW CLOSED to OFA and my energy will be directed locally.  And I fear the long run consequences of all this to the long term strength of the Democratic Party.

    -4.63,-3.54 If the people will lead the leaders will follow

    by calebfaux on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:46:43 AM PST

    •  Actually, I feel posts like this mean the party is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eclectablog, calebfaux, hamjudo

      growing.

      I fear the long run consequences of all this to the long term strength of the Democratic Party.
      Actually, I think dependency on OFA makes the party weak.  Obama showed that it could be done, but if we don't have stuff in place at the state and local level when he leaves, it will be undone by the next Republican president.

      "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

      by anonevent on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:59:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (5+ / 0-)

    Don't have time to delve deeper into this because I really need to get some work done but had to say thanks for all your reporting. As a former Michigander I still follow the politics even though it's very depressing - and proud to see you as a continued source for Rachel Maddow, keep up the good work you do.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:51:26 AM PST

  •  I'm glad OFA kept the GOP out of the WH... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer

    two elections in a row.
    Good stuff.

    But can someone describe OFA's animating purpose post-Obama II?
    Transcend politics? Bridge the partisan divide?

  •  I'm a huge OFA booster (3+ / 0-)

    And I think every Democratic sympathizer needs to acknowledge that the 2016 coalition will need to be built from scratch.  As exhausting as that may seem.

    And by all that is holy, I hope we're able to claw some territory back in 2014.

  •  PA is in much the same way. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MRA NY, Rick Aucoin, MPociask, NewDealer

    I'm curious though, why you want to build up a new Organising for Michigan group rather than empowering the Michigan Democratic Party?  As near as I can tell you're a member of the MDP, but what?  Are the leaders failing to the extent that another organizing group is required?  Are they turning volunteers away or maybe are unwilling to utilize them?

    Here's to getting Democrats in control of our respective states, and reducing rampant gerrymandering.

    “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” - Fran Lebowitz

    by Aramis Wyler on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:11:10 AM PST

    •  I'm not suggesting that they... (6+ / 0-)

      ...be two different things. On the contrary, I want the MDP to be the home for "OFM". From my post:

      My wife and I have taken to calling it "Organizing for Michigan".

      Because we have access to the VAN through the Michigan Democratic Party and we have local organization already in place through our County Parties, we are already partly down the road to accomplishing this. Couple that with the fact that many local groups are still organized and still organizing, much like Tad and I did in late 2008 and beyond, and we have a powerful nucleus from which to build from and to organize our state into the future.

      We have new leadership at the MDP as of last Saturday. Lon Johnson, our new chair, is married to Julianna Smoot, the Deputy Manager of President Obama's 2012 presidential reelection campaign. He gets this stuff. Big time.

      And, you know what? I wrote this piece primarily with him as my audience. I'm just lettin' all y'all read it, too : )

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:53:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In advance, my apologies...there's no excuse... (4+ / 0-)

    ...in the past, organizations behaving strictly for their own benefit within the Party, such as OFA and  their (solely self-interested actions) actions would not have been so readily dismissed, as they are in this post. There was a time--not too long ago--when national Democratic volunteer and fundraising lists and databases were a LOT more readily available at the local level. Apologizing for this greater truth, which this diarist is doing to some extent--simply doesn't "flush."

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:24:49 AM PST

    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      How dare a presidential campaign dare to try to get their candidate elected as President of the United States? Those self-interested sonofabitches.

      /sarcasm

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:29:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? Obama is running for a 3rd term? (0+ / 0-)

        I'll alert all those in the Party that are active in federal and state and municipal races over the next couple of years, that were hoping to gain access to--but were denied--the OFA d'bases and spread the news. That'll change their attitude!  "Oh...wait....!!!"

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 04:01:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It Is Unclear To me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    How these are mutually exclusive, but of course you are correct about our need to focus locally.

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:29:11 AM PST

    •  Well, there is a finite universe of volunteers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hamjudo

      As the co-Vice Chair for Precinct Organizing for the Washtenaw County Democratic Party, I and my co-Vice Chair spent a lot of time coordinating with our local OFA folks during the 2012 election, and sending folks to them to get the best bang for their volunteering buck.

      I won't be doing that any longer because we need to focus ALL of our attention on Michigan. If I were in New York or California, it would be entirely different. Then I would have the luxury of spending more time on national issues. We are literally in crisis mode in Michigan at the moment and need all hands on OUR deck.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:56:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the midterms, you don't have to (0+ / 0-)

        It's time to work on state and local races, the national stuff is on cruise control right now.  None of the OFA folks should feel conflicted about this, its how we've been getting Dems elected for decades.

        That's the way the cycle works in political activism, you switch focus every couple of years as the election calendar requires.  During midterms, you switch gears to state and local races, along with any of the Congressional seats that are up.

        At the state and local level, it's called "coordinated campaigning".  Party leaders have systems for coordinating and supporting all the races in their area, from judges to governor to members of Congress.  They coordinate to share volunteers, media time, web sites, social media and other resources across all the campaigns.   It's tricky, but these people are experts at juggling it.  You'll like it.

        It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:38:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One caveat (0+ / 0-)

          As always, primaries can be bumpy, but once the party makes their own endorsements, everyone usually makes peace and starts moving on with getting everyone elected.  If the endorsement process is an issue for you, then run for a local party seat and participate in the process.

          Overall, be loyal to the party and respect boundaries - don't get in the midst of political scraps over primaries for candidates if its not your district, county, community, etc.  unless there's a severe problem with a candidate that could impact other Dem races.

          You're a Democrat first and foremost, regardless of whose campaign you've worked on in the past, or at least that's the way I've always looked at it.

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:45:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  To me - their fundraising (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Aucoin

    has diminished their moral authority.

    I had my name removed from their list.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:56:49 AM PST

    •  Wait, what? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev, Vetwife, sebastianguy99, hardart

      If they raise money, they have no moral authority? Dude, if they don't raise money, they aren't even in the damn game.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:08:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dude.....Do you agree with this? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dump Terry McAuliffe, Mr Robert
        The New York Times reported on Saturday that wealthy donors who give $500,000 or more to OFA can join the group’s “national advisory board,” which allows them to attend quarterly meetings with the president and other meetings at the White House.
        If you listen to what is being said and compare it to what is happening - it appears as though OFA, our President and almost every elected official is bought and paid for.

        If you think that's OK - that's up to you - to me, it's not.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:57:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Until there is a level playing field... (0+ / 0-)

          ...either through an effort like Move To Amend's constitutional amendment or an overruling of Citizen's United, that is our reality. Being all self-righteous about wanting money out of politics means electoral losses until that playing field is leveled.

          I'm not a big fan of political powerlessness and irrelevancy. I'm sitting in the front row of it Michigan and the ways it's hurting people in our state are heartbreaking.

          "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
          -- Dr. Peter Venkman


          Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

          by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:09:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe -but if this is acceptable (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mr Robert

            then what's the difference between a Republican and a Democrat when they all are on the payroll of the same people?

            I'm not being obtuse - I understand the current rules and how the game is played - but accepting this means the people will always lose.

            When OFA was all about the $10 donation - I was there - but once you start selling access at $500K a pop - it's all gone bad and is now poison.

            The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

            by ctexrep on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:32:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The difference is as clear as day (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hardart

              It's in the value systems that we hold. Democrats wield power from a set of values that I agree with. It's as simple as that.

              By the way, there have always been big donors to OFA. Always. Just as there will always be small donors. That hasn't changed.

              One other difference between us and the GOP is that people at the grassroots level actually do play a role in the decision making that happens. As much as it is run top-down, folks "on the ground", including small donors, contribute valuable feedback to the top that is used for making decisions.

              "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
              -- Dr. Peter Venkman


              Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

              by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:43:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  OFA is now a non-partisan organization (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mr Robert, LucyandByron

                by choice.  

                It's being funded and run by wealthy people who have agendas.  Whether that is different from the GOP depends on who donates enough money to call the shots in the organization.  As a volunteer for an organization like that, you have no input.

                It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

                by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:56:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You'll have to pardon me... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sviscusi, highacidity

                  ...when I ignore the patronizing pontification of someone like you that hates OFA and has never worked with them or at least hasn't recently and defer to the direct conversations that I have had with the people who actually run the organization.

                  Particularly since you clearly have no clue about the matter.

                  "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
                  -- Dr. Peter Venkman


                  Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

                  by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:03:18 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't hate them (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mr Robert, LucyandByron

                    I've met many of them and worked with them locally. They're nice people.  But I've worked through my local and state party for much, much longer and I see the differences between the two.  I'm not accustomed to working in an environment where a corporate leader is directing my work.  I'm accustomed to being directed by people who work for my party, whose loyalty is to the Dem candidates who are on our party slate in any given time period.

                    I'm a loyal Dem who is interested in getting all Dems elected all the time, whether its a county judge or city council member or congressperson or POTUS.  

                    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

                    by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:18:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  No, it doesn't have to be that way (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mr Robert, LucyandByron

            Soliciting and taking money from big donors is one thing, but giving them a role in setting your agenda and running the organization is a world apart.  

            Sure, there are groups that do it, but that makes them something very, very different than a grassroots organization working to help good politicians get elected to office.  That's a group of fatcats looking to advance an issues agenda for their own benefit.

            It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:53:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yowza! No, that's not good (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert, LucyandByron

          That's more like ThirdWay, DLC, Club for Growth or the Tea Party.

          Non-partisan 501 c 4 non-profits are a whole different animal from partisan political organizations, especially if they're not involved in specific issue advocacy.

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:50:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Win the local races (3+ / 0-)

    Win the statehouses
    Win the city councils.
    Win the school boards.

    These are areas where you build candidates for the future to sit for the senate, house and later president.

    If we don't start fighting for state representatives, you're going to see more madness like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Arizona.

    We have to start recruiting and winning LOCAL races

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:32:19 AM PST

  •  Unclear about OFA-VAN (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eclectablog

    Great post, EB.  As a fellow precinct-ops vice chair, I share your perspective and your views on this subject.  At the general level, transitioning volunteers from campaign activity in one year to on-going committee activity or another year's campaigns is always a challenge.   But as others have said and as you are showing, it's a challenge that we are going to have to address from the grassroots party level up, not count on it to be handed to us from OFA.   It's really another "crashing the gates" moment, and every county and state party will be different.

    One specific question about data-sharing with OFA.   As you know, but others may not, there are two sides to the VAN.  There's the "My Voters" side which tracks registration, voting history, and canvassing information, and the "My Campaign" side, which is for managing volunteers.  I'm not sure if the "souped-up" OFA VAN you are talking about is only the "My Campaign" side, which has not been shared any more this year than it was in 2008, or the "My Voters" side - or whether you are referring to the micro-targeting data that - to the best of my limited knowledge - was never kept in the VAN, but was rather housed in Chicago, in the NARWHAL system.   Again, I wasn't an insider on these matters, but I gather that the reason that ALL the turf was cut in Chicago and sent to us in the field was because the micro-targeting was being done in the back office and then pushed out through the VAN.

    So...if I'm right...there are three kinds of data in OFA's possession that would be helpful to Democrats.   The data from canvassing and phone banking surveys DID go back into the "My Voters" side of the VAN and - at least here in Virginia - we appear to have access to it.  That is - I'm seeing the results of the Obama 2012 canvassing ("2012 Candidate:  2012 Obama ID") in my "survey questions" section of each voter file, and the "Likely Party" ID appears to take the results of those surveys into account.  (Sorry to be so nerdy and in the weeds, but I don't see another way to be specific.  VAN-heads will understand).  If you don't in Michigan, that is a definite problem and means that these deals were cut state by state with the party committees.  

    The volunteer data in "My Campaign" would be golden, but I'm not shocked that OFA isn't sharing that.   Few campaigns, in my experience, have actually shared that side of the VAN.   Again, here in Arlington, we were well enough integrated with OFA that most of us know who the key OFA volunteers were - since we were working with them directly.  But this is unlikely to be the case in every county of the country - and frankly - it is the counties that do not have a strong standing committee that need to be able to tap the OFA volunteer base the most.  But we'll have to see.

    Finally, there's the NARWHAL data back in Chicago.   Obviously, this would also be pure gold - but - since it's not in the VAN (no fields for it, for example), was (I believe) mined from commercial and other databases, and was not actually generated by the volunteers for the most part, I very much doubt that any outsider (including Democratic campaigns and committees) will ever get access to that without having to pay OFA.

    •  I'm not an expert AT ALL! (0+ / 0-)

      I actually shied away from learning how to use the VAN and let others who liked it take that part. I have always been more of an organizer type.

      What our state chair told me is that we still have the "Obama voter IDs". Everything else is gone. I'm not even savvy enough to know what, exactly, that means but, after reading your most excellent comment, I know more than I did ; )

      Thanks.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:00:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  after 2008 I keep my own lists (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eclectablog, Mr Robert

        I was horrified to realize after 2008 that none of my volunteer info was in my state's My Campaign.
        starting over in 2009 hurt us in 2010. Plus we weren't a slick as OFA so people didn't trust us as much.  Add the lack of news cycle info and people just didn't get how important off year elections are.
        I talked about what would happen if Republicans redrew our districts till my head hurt.
        No national support, No OFA support at the state levels that I saw.
        And ugly horrible republican redrawn districts later, here in NC we have 3 Democratic and 9 Republican US House members from a state that went 49% for Obama.  

        Last year I kept my own copy of volunteer lists and tried to get lists from others to put in My Campaign. But there is no code for them and the data entry will take forever once I get that part fixed!   Still working on that one.

        "Eating your seed corn is not a good business model." - FishOutofWater

        by saluda on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:48:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for your work Electablog. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eclectablog

    I think everyone should think local-outward. This is an essential part of any 50-state strategy.

    I live in the South and can tell you the Democratic Party infrastructure is in tough shape. Here in Texas, Dems were already making progress. The larger cities are continuing to go blue, and soon, with help, the state will go purple, then blue.

    In Georgia, OFA stayed on the ground even though Georgia was not a contested state. Many local Democratic offices have been rebuilt or will be thanks to the efforts of OFA who provided logistical support.

    I'm not claiming OFA is anything close to perfection, but any imperfection it has is not an excuse for not continuing to stay on the ground and build-your-own.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:59:18 AM PST

  •  Why not work with your state Dem party? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer, Mr Robert, Sandy on Signal

    It's a bottom-up organization, inherently a grassroots operation.  They have the goal and experience of electing Dems to state-level offices.  Like every other Dem organization for the last 100+ years, you can work with your own state party on it's goals and agenda and still be loyal to your national Dem leaders.  That's the way the system was designed.

    Take some time to learn how your own state party organization works at the state and local level.  Get involved there. They need you.

    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

    by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:01:56 AM PST

    •  Here's a link to their web site (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, Sandy on Signal

      Michigan Democratic Party

      Looks like they have a lot of stuff going on.  Link

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:04:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I feel like you're patronizing me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ivy redneck, highacidity

        I spent the past three weeks covering the race for Chair of the MDP, interviewing both candidates and covering their local public appearance. You can find all of that coverage HERE. It's about the only in-depth coverage that was done, in fact. I also live-tweeted our statewide convention last Saturday.

        In other words, I am quite familiar with the MDP.

        "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
        -- Dr. Peter Venkman


        Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

        by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:22:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is EXACTLY what I am proposing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      saluda, highacidity

      From my post:

      My wife and I have taken to calling it "Organizing for Michigan".

      Because we have access to the VAN through the Michigan Democratic Party and we have local organization already in place through our County Parties, we are already partly down the road to accomplishing this. Couple that with the fact that many local groups are still organized and still organizing, much like Tad and I did in late 2008 and beyond, and we have a powerful nucleus from which to build from and to organize our state into the future.

      Also, I am on the Executive Board of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party, which is one of the 83 county parties under the MDP unbrella, where I am the co-Vice Chair of Precinct Organizing. In other words, I already AM working with the MDP. Closely and exclusively, in fact.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:17:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure I understand (0+ / 0-)

        If you're already part of the state Dem Party, why the need to set up a separate campaign organization?  I'm not criticizing, just trying to figure out what more you can do in a separate organization that can't be done through the state & local parties.

        If VAN is your biggest concern, it seems that train has left the station.  Perhaps the best solution is to collaborate with other state leaders and the DNC on a new version of VAN.  The only other option would be taking legal action against OFA to gain access.

        IMHO, any system like VAN should be available to all Dem organizations, national, state and local.

        It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:05:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not suggesting that we set up... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jennifree2bme

          ...a separate campaign organization. I'm suggesting the MDP starts doing this themselves. They, and pretty much all other state Dem Parties that I am aware of, currently aren't doing this.

          The VAN is available to all Dem organizations that are willing to pay for it. The MDP was an early adopter, in fact. What OFA did with the VAN and in conjunction with the VAN was dramatically new and improved. We need to learn from that and to recreate it as a state party so that it stays here with us no matter who the candidates are.

          "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
          -- Dr. Peter Venkman


          Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

          by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:13:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the explanation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LucyandByron

            I agree.  It sounds as though Dems are going to have to take the data they have and build on it.

            Not impossible, but it will be a lot of work.  As someone said in another comment to your diary, don't place too much emphasis on data.  I've seen Dems use it to ignore districts and cities that could be turned to favor Dem candidates. I'm sure you've heard that before, but it bears repeating.

            Some OFA folks have the mistaken notion that the Dem Party apparatus at the state and local level was a vast wasteland before Obama.  It wasn't.  Howard Dean had really put the party back on track and, had he not been pushed out, we probably would have a national database similar to OFA's.  

            Obama isn't the first Dem officeholder to hoard data and resources and he won't be the last. Fortunately, they're rather rare, usually people who are very focused on machine politics.

            We'll survive.  

            It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:36:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Yep. All part of a 50-state strategy... (6+ / 0-)

    ...or, as I prefer, a 200,000-precinct strategy across the nation.

    Terrific diary, sir.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:08:09 AM PST

  •  Great to see someone fighting for MI (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saluda

    I'm done with this state.  Eventually I'll move to someplace cool, but for now I'm content to watch these rednecks reap what they've sown.  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:14:16 AM PST

  •  Think global, act local. Sounds like a plan. (3+ / 0-)

    Go get 'em !

    "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

    by New Rule on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:17:24 AM PST

  •  I'm in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eclectablog

    There was a lot of dissatisfaction with the OFA organization in the 2012 election among the people I worked with anyway.  Some political leaders in my township have talked about starting work on the 2014 election and I'm planning to work with them.  I would really like to talk to you about what you are doing and see how we can coordinate our efforts.  I'm in southwest Wayne county and know a number of active volunteers in this area - we should talk.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    I liked working with OFA. We don't have a lot to donate, so I did data entry and made a metric crapton of phone calls. It was always a positive experience talking to supporters, and the worst of the non-supporters always got me fired up to call a whole nother packet. I didn't ever fudge my data like some people did, either.

    I'd love to stay involved locally, but on the county and state pages, the only events are pricey fundraisers. So I guess there's nothing for people like me to do.

    Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

    by jennifree2bme on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:06:18 PM PST

  •  Living in CA I ended up not doing much with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal

    OFA because the organizers refused to help our Dem House Rep it a tough fight with the GOP.

    As we are seeing now, losing the House in 2010 has ended up blocking Obama's agenda from moving forward.  Just think what it would be like if the House had a Dem majority?

    Congressional elections have consequences!

    by Cordyc on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:30:44 PM PST

    •  They didn't refuse because they were dicks (0+ / 0-)

      They refused because they weren't allowed to. It was a presidential campaign and they weren't allowed to spend their funds on other races or they would have violated campaign finance rules. The only exception is work done through the "coordinated campaign" apparatus.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:34:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eclectablog

    even Florida are states whose grassroots volunteers should be focused on state wide issues simply because the aim of the Koch brothers, etal, is to nationalize the gains they have made at the state level.

    It is far more important to regain control of your state and roll back the agenda that they have implemented than it is for you to work on the national agenda. If we lose the states, we lose the nation.

    Only in the darkness can you see the stars - Martin Luther King, Jr

    by Susan Grigsby on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:37:27 PM PST

  •  I gave up on OFA a long time ago, (0+ / 0-)

    but for different reasons.  Unsubscribed, sent them a nasty email, all that.

    Supporting OFA seems to provide a rationale for the Whitehouse to triangulate to the right because, well, "Just look at all the lefty types supporting us!  Now we can tack to the right and get everybody!"

    All of which defeats the purpose of joining an organization like OFA.

  •  after scanning a lot of this thread (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal

    i have to say that on this evidence alone, obama seems to be about obama, not about change for all of us.

    my experience with ofa was not good.

    just my experience with a lot of others chiming in.

    the van should be shared.  it is a no brainer for anyone who really wants to get the ds to win.

    i met a local candidate in 2009 who was complaining about this very thing.

    the idea that there are legal reasons doesn't wash with me.  people could easily have been asked if it was okay with them and/or ofa could have contacted its list once and asked them to hook up with a secondary list.

    if this is the best we can do with the biggest upswelling of my 6 decades, we are toast.

    people really wanted to act 4+ years ago.  i met and organized with a lot of them.

    Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

    by BlueDragon on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:43:50 PM PST

    •  NGP VAN is a company just like any other (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      They aren't a Democratic charity. You pay to use it. Period. If you go to Netroots Nation or RootsCamp, you'll see a VAN booth and likely VAN panels/sessions. They are a business with a product that they sell, not something that they "share".

      Here's their website: NGP VAN.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman


      Join me, Anne C. Savage & LOLGOP at Eclectablog.com.

      by Eclectablog on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:37:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  please explain this from your (0+ / 0-)

        diary above:

        One of the things they have done that has angered many Democrats across the country is to shut down their version of the Voter Action Network or "The VAN". Although the VAN is used by Democrats all over the America, the OFA version of the VAN was a souped-up version that benefited from all of the data entered by OFA volunteers from 2008 through the 2012 election. That data is now in the possession of OFA who have chosen not to share it with state Democratic parties but will, instead, use the lists of names and addresses and volunteer IDs and volunteer history for their national efforts.
        Who owns this business and who owns the data?  I will follow the link, but it would seem that those that collect the data, i.e. the volunteers, on behalf of OFA means OFA should own the data.  And anyway, we entered our own data a lot, swelling the list.  

        Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

        by BlueDragon on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:35:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Go LOCAL or Go Away ... p.s. supporting Neolib (0+ / 0-)

    agendas can go to hell, anyway.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:59:01 PM PST

  •  Obama is throwing the party under the bus (0+ / 0-)

    if he doesn't share it with the entire party.

    http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals!

    by daeros on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 01:09:19 AM PST

  •  We have to play the long game (0+ / 0-)

    That's what the Republicans have done, work from the ground up under cover of darkness.  The only thing that has hampered them somewhat is the inevitable overreach resulting from them being so batshit crazy.

    -9.00, -5.85
    Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

    by Wintermute on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:08:05 AM PST

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