Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:57 PM
ellisonz (26,574 posts)
Obama's Permanent Campaign: Can He Use His Reelection Playbook to Change Washington?
By Molly Ball
Jan 29 2013, 7:30 AM ET 25
No president has ever pulled off what Obama now hopes to do -- move Congress by mobilizing a standing grassroots army.
And supporters will only stay engaged as long as they believe OFA 4.0 is true to the principles they believe in, pointed out Howard Dean, the former DNC chairman, who has his own experience refashioning a presidential campaign apparatus under a new acronym: Democracy for America, the heir to the 2004 Dean for America campaign, still exists as a supporter of progressive causes.
Dean believes OFA 2.0 "fell apart" when Obama backed off of the public option for health-care reform, dispiriting his progressive base and making them reluctant to rally to his side. If the president doesn't hold fast to the "inspiring" promises he made in his second inaugural, Dean said, his supporters will fall away once again.
Dean also worried that if OFA 4.0 accepts corporate dollars, it will undermine the president's ideals. And by being separate from the DNC, he said, it could siphon needed donations away from Democrats, weaken the party, and create resentment among allies.
"Lots of presidents have tried to rally the public on an ad hoc basis," Dean said, pointing to Ronald Reagan exhorting Americans to call their members of Congress in support of his tax proposals -- a ploy that worked. "But I don't believe any president has ever maintained a standing grassroots army .... Obama built the best grassroots campaign I've ever seen by a mile. Nobody has done this successfully before, but if anyone can do it, he can."
DFA more than still exists - DFA raised $8.3 million in the 2012 election cycle, has trained thousands of activists and candidates in grassroots politics, and continues to help get progressive politicians elected.
If OFA ignores the DFA model it will do so at its own peril - change comes from the bottom up, not the top down.
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