Organizing for America, the arm of the Democratic National Committee has become the full-time political and policy advocacy campaign for the Obama Administration according to a report released by TechPresident’s Ari Melber. Having taken control of the 13 million email addresses acquired through willful engagement in his president campaign, OFA has become the “behind-the-scenes” grassroots voice of the White House. This experiment in grassroots organizing by an Administration enters into a new realm of presidential politics…the jury is still out as to whether or not this is effective or even worth the effort.
“Governing with public approval requires a continuing political campaign.” – Patrick Caddell, pollster for President Jimmy Carter and Democratic strategist.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt employed breaking technology, the radio, to convey his message to Americans. By the mid 1950s, half of American households featured a television enabling politics in to the home. In the 1990s, the internet started growing, thanks to Al Gore, and Americans engaged themselves in the digital medium. Now days, we have internet + cell phones + social networks + real-time lifestyles = ALWAYS CONNECTED.
A common theme was the attempt to engage the electorate. It was commonplace for individuals to campaign and lobby their elected officials, but the effort most commonly happened on the local level. As technology progressed, the form of engagement progressed, but now days; this effort is in real time. The Obama White House is utilizing “its technology” like never before to “organize the citizenry With staffed offices established in every state and a talented crew assembled in its headquarters in Washington D.C., the comparisons to other grassroots experiments shows that OFA the most expansive and well-connected form of organizing we have ever seen.
With such an expansive effort of coordination between the White House and the DNC, one must inquire as to whether or not this merely a façade for executing a 4-year reelection campaign. Again, Caddell clearly states that governing with public approval, what is needed to win reelection, requires a continual political campaign.
Is OFA merely the reelection campaign of Barack Obama? I say yes…look at the other side of the coin.
The Tea Party, I contend a grassroots voice for the right, yet its actions, mainly protests, have been decried by Congress and the Democrats and President Obama has even labeled them “Tea Baggers.” Actually, the Tea Party is more grassroots oriented considering its funding is not attached to one of the major parties. Why the blatant double standard in characterization from the majority in Congress? I have my suspicions, but I willfully digress in order to let you devise your own analysis.
In conclusion, I deem the efforts of OFA as noble in its attempt to engage the general electorate in the policy debate, but I think the Administration is playing the most dangerous of political games in striking a divisive tone against the Tea Party, a grassroots organization as well. If the White House and the DNC continue to fund their national effort under the guise of OFA, then they must accept and positively engage the Tea Party followers to a fact-based policy discussion instead of merely discrediting their efforts. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration is able to maintain this support in order to re-activate the base in its most vulnerable time – the 2012 President Election.
Do you think the castigation of the Tea Party by the White House and Congressional Democrats is hypocritical considering the immense resources and coordination with OFA?