Archive for July 19th, 2009
There is no question that Barack Obama‘s campaign for president broke new ground in many ways and started a movement that eventually turned into an overwhelming victory. While the process was similar to past presidential campaigns, the way it was executed was different. Utilizing the internet and an overwhelming amount of on the ground paid staffers, the Obama team was able to deliver their message quick and effectively. It was clear, the voters responded.
In fact Obama’s movement was so successful that even Republicans are attempting to use some of it’s tactics. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has recently copied Obama’s Facebook style social networking tool to help recruit volunteers for his campaign. It is something Democrat Creigh Deeds (who has the support of Obama) has not even developed yet.
Generally these political organizations, created by candidates, are handed off to their political parties after the candidate heads to the White House. But once they are no longer shepherded by their creators, the political parties somehow lose the essence of what made the strategy effective. This is something Barack Obama (and in particular, his chief strategist David Axelrod) does not plan to let happen.
While the President has offered many of the same tools he used during the campaign to the DNC and its new Chairman Gov. Tim Kaine, the organizational structure itself still belongs to Obama. That structure is filled donor lists, e-mail addresses and willing volunteers. Volunteers that are committed more to the man and his ideas than any party affiliation.
Obama’s team strongly believes that they can use the momentum built during the campaign to push his agenda and his political brand while he is an office. That is why they transformed “Obama for America” into “Organizing for America”. (In fact the new “OFA”, as it is referred to, can be found on the internet at www.BarackObama.com) Just like Team Obama put boots on the ground to round up votes and cash in key battleground states, this new version of OFA is on the ground rounding up support for his initiatives. That effort will be front and center tomorrow at an event in Richmond.
Local Del. Jennifer McClellan will lead a press conference at the Fan Free Clinic to discuss the current state of health care and its impact on Richmond. They will also make the case the the President’s proposed health care reform measures be passed. The event looks very similar to an Obama campaign event, with a local dignitary speaking about an important issue and community members impacted by the issue offering their support.
But the comparisons go even further than that.
Just like during the campaign the event will be orchestrated, behind the scenes, by full time paid OFA staffers. These individuals aren’t paid by the White House, but this independent political organization. All around the country, particularly in battleground states, there are similar people who have full time jobs working to convince you that the President is making the right moves. It is an unprecedented political tactic.
Can the Obama team duplicate the excitement of an historic presidential race and apply it to a dry debate over health care reform? Your chance to find out is tomorrow in the Fan. Details on the event are after the jump.