As he launches his second term, President Obama may get help from an ambitious new political organization being built out of his reelection campaign, a group that could reshape how future presidents harness supporters to press their White House agendas.
Run by former Obama campaign officials, the advocacy group will seek to leverage the campaign’s sophisticated organizing tools and rich voter database to support the president’s policy objectives, including raising the debt ceiling, gun control and immigration reform.
And why am I shaking? Because of this:
A similar effort fizzled after Obama first won the White House. In 2009, Obama campaign organizers also hoped to use its database, millions of email addresses and a corps of trained operatives to help push White House goals. But Organizing for America — then housed within the Democratic National Committee — played a limited role during the bitter debate over Obama’s healthcare overhaul, which barely squeaked through Congress.
Obama’s volunteer network was remobilized in the 2012 race, when the campaign used social media and other technology to connect supporters to their neighbors and friends.
…and got significantly less votes across the board than it did in 2008, lost two states back to the Republicans, utterly failed to take back the House, and toppled precisely one incumbent Republican Senator (who, God love him, was a special election winner in a deep-blue state). I’ll concede readily that President Obama’s organization is wizzo at winning Presidential elections for Barack Obama; a real damned shame that they can’t do that anymore, huh?
PS: Yeah, yeah, yeah: to paraphrase Roger Zelazny, Barack Obama’s seven feet tall and farts fire. I got told that in 2009, too. Just before we decimated the Democrats in Congress.