“Barack Obama’s online army quietly gears up”

Hi guys,

Enough gloom. 🙂 Here’s a very encouraging story, from Politico if you can believe it. Read it, it’ll make you feel much better:


President Obama’s aides have quietly turned the key in the engine of the massive campaign-in-waiting that’s been operating under the name Organizing for America for the last two years, and will begin his re-election with the sort of online and field organizations most presidential campaigns would be glad to have 16 months from now.

The leadership of the field organization – with hundreds of employees, tens of thousands of volunteers and massive online assets (primarily, a giant email list) – is shifting from the Democratic National Committee to the new campaign in Chicago. And in mass emails and in a quiet series of one-on-one meetings with volunteer leaders, the group is resetting its relationship with its supporters.

And while many Democrats have complained that Organizing for America’s vaunted abilities began to sputter once Obama became president, people watching the organization closely say it has succeeded in what may have been its central mission all along: building an unparalleled re-election organization while staying under the political world’s radar.

“Nothing like this has ever happened this early or this big,” said Natalie Foster, a former DNC new media director.

Obama’s re-election campaign may lack the novelty, and the purity, of his first campaign. Aides hope, though, that any enthusiasm gap – which they believe will close as the race begins to take shape – will be made up for by the sheer scale and capacity of the newly re-tuned organization.

Obama’s campaign will “give a little on the enthusiasm, but they gain a lot on the fact that they’re starting with this huge set of resources they didn’t have in 2008 ,” said a Democrat closely watching the ramp-up.

That Organizing for America remains very much a political powerhouse to be feared may come as a surprise to some who have bought into the popular narrative that group has floundered since the 2008 campaign. And early in Obama’s presidency, OFA did suffer from being wildly over-hyped: it was to be a juggernaut that would transform legislative politics, sending members of Congress of both parties running headlong in fear.

The group, to the dismay of some of Obama’s key supporters, never attempted to bring the “movement” feel of the campaign to a truly independent new organization. Its website remained BarackObama.com, and – after an early foray drew complaints from Capitol Hill – it shied away from doing anything that could get the president in trouble with his less trail-blazing allies in Congress.

But despite the fact that OFA did not live up to admittedly unrealistic expectations, it did play a role in keeping Democrats on board during the protracted health care fight, mobilizing on a large scale despite a sour national mood and skepticism of the bill, even among Democrats. The group’s 2008 breakthrough had been linking the online organization with offline action, and the organization’s leaders last month detailed some of their results in a Huffington Post article, writing that in August of 2009, more than 34,000 OFA members attended 410 town hall events to back the bill, and that 65,000 supporters paid in-person visits to members of Congress.

Now Organizing for America begins where many presidential campaigns would be glad to finish. Leading Democrats say the group has more than 400 staffers around the country – many with two or more years of experience in the organization – thousands of local volunteer leaders, a list of a million people willing to volunteer, and an email list insiders say has grown since the campaign ended, and stands at well over 10 million names. (An Obama campaign spokeswoman, Katie Hogan, said the campaign will not be giving out the exact numbers of staffers, though they become public in occasional filings.)

The central question, of course, is whether those millions still care, and whether the tens of thousands of active 2008 volunteers are ready to engage. In interviews, some volunteer leaders said they’d begun to see signs that supporters, who had dipped in and out of engagement on specific issues, were returning to the organization.

“I see people coming back – it’s very thrilling actually,” said Cathy Johns, a secretary and volunteer in the suburbs of Toledo, Ohio, whose number was provided by a campaign aide. “I’m really looking forward to it, to seeing some of the old gang.”

A Philadelphia volunteer, Jim Walton, acknowledged that governing had been hard on the organization.

“Every time President Obama made a compromise, you lose people who feel very strongly about these issues,” he said. “I think it’ll come back – people are now being faced with the real choice, and you’ll be able to see the contrast between what the president is offering and what the other side is offering.”

The online operation, intrinsic to both field and fund-raising operations of the re-election campaign, has also been quietly gearing up. An email message and no-frills video from campaign manager Jim Messina earlier this week returned the messaging to its successful roots in wonky, direct, gimmick-free, and openly political discussions with core supporters.

The structure and leadership of the online side of the campaign have yet to be announced, but two people involved said Joe Rospars, a consultant who headed the 2008 campaign’s wildly successful internet fundraising and communications, will likely occupy a similar post this cycle.

// snip

And the online organization will operate with new tools. Facebook integration, for instance, will offer the campaign “a much sharper scalpel” for slicing its email list – still its key online asset — into segments based on all sorts of personal details.

Leaders of Organizing for America seemed to have learned the lessons of the past and have spent less time in recent years hyping the group’s scale and accomplishments. That’s a pattern, insiders say, that’s likely to continue.

But Obama is relying heavily on the unparalleled organization in what’s likely to be a very different 2012 campaign, and his supporters would like nothing more than to take the GOP by surprise with its scale and ferocity.

“If you’re the other side I would not be sitting hoping and praying they can’t get it moving again. That’s a big mistake,” said Democratic consultant Joe Trippi. “It’s going to be moving .”


The WH still did not upload PBO’s fantastic speech from last night in Miami, but you can watch it over at the equally fantastic The Obama Diary. Please, please, give yourself a weekend present of 30 minutes and watch this speech, and try to make others watch it too. This should have been a national address.


Weekly Address:

Good one by Charles Blow:

Silliness and Sleight of Hand

// snip

…Donald Trump is still playing to suspicions of President Obama. And it’s no longer theoretical. It’s theological. For the detractors, truth is no longer dependent on proof because it’s rooted in faith: faith that American exceptionalism was never truly meant to cover hyphenated Americans; faith in 400 years of cemented assumptions about the character and capacity of the American Negro; and faith that if the president doesn’t hew to those assumptions then he must be alien by both birth and faith.

This is how the moneyed interests — of whom Trump is one — want it. That is how sleight of hand works: distract and deceive. They need this distraction now more than ever because the right’s flimsy fiscal argument — that if we allow fat cats to gorge, crumbs will surely fall — is losing traction

It’s losing traction with voters as the Supreme Court continues its crusade to put corporate interests above those of citizens. Just Wednesday, it ruled that there is a way for businesses to keep consumers claiming fraud from banding together in a single class-action lawsuit.

It’s losing traction among workers. Gallup reported this week that a majority of Americans worry that they won’t have enough money in retirement. And that worry is well founded. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey released last month, 56 percent of American workers said they have less than $25,000 in retirement savings and investments. Twenty-nine percent of those said they have less than $1,000. At the same time, the average Wall Street cash bonus in 2010 was nearly $130,000, and the Republican budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan seeks to dismantle Medicare and lower taxes on the wealthy.
It’s losing traction among young people as it was reported last week that the unemployment rate for workers ages 16 to 24 reached a record high last year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, last summer, student loan debt exceeded total credit card debt for the first time, and the Republican budget seeks to slash Pell grants.

It’s losing traction with families as the national average price of a gallon of gas is nearing $4, while oil companies are reaping record profits while taking billions of dollars in government subsidies.

(There’s something immoral about giving handouts to entrenched corporate interests with armies of lobbyists while seeking to cut those to hungry children, struggling families and frail seniors.)

It all loses traction as more Americans begin to see the far right for what it truly is: a gang of bandits willing to sacrifice the poor and working classes to further extend the American aristocracy — shadowy figures who creep through the night, shaking every sock for every nickel and scraping their silver spoons across the bottom of every pot.

// snip

This is not to say that all Republicans are tolerant of this behavior. Far from it. But the party has taken the strategic position that in some cases its politically advantageous to allow demagogues and xenophobes, sectarians and homophobes to not only see the party as a sanctuary but as a place to rise to its top.

In the last several months, Republican state lawmakers and party officials have said the most reprehensible things about Hispanics, gays and blacks.

State Representative John Yates of Georgia compared the state’s threat from illegal immigrants to the threat from Hitler in World War II and suggested that border agents should be allowed to “shoot to kill.” State Representative Curry Todd of Tennessee compared pregnant illegal immigrants to multiplying rats.

State Representative Larry Brown of North Carolina suggested cutting off financing used to treat people with H.I.V. and AIDS because they are “living in perverted lifestyles.” Brown also drew criticism in October for an e-mail he sent to fellow Republicans in which he used disparaging terms about gays.

And David Bartholomew had to resign as the Virginia Beach Republican Party chairman after forwarding an e-mail that joked about someone taking his “dog” to the welfare office and saying: “My Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English” and has no clue “who his Daddy is.”

In 1965, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described how the strategy of separating people with common financial interests by agitating their racial differences was used against the populist movement at the turn of the century, explaining that “the Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow.”

He continued that Jim Crow was “a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.” He called this “their last outpost of psychological oblivion.”

But the right, with a new boost of energy from Trump, is reaching for new frontiers. The language and methodology are different, but the goal is the same: to deny, invalidate and subjugate, to distract from real issues with false divisions.

Trump is helping the right shape new weapons from old hatreds, forming shivs from shackles, all the while patting himself on the back and promoting his brand.

But his point of pride is the right’s mark of shame.


Have a great weekend, everyone.

60 thoughts on ““Barack Obama’s online army quietly gears up”

  1. People continue to underestimate our president at their own peril. There are a lot of us out here and we will make this happen for a president who’s been to the mat for everyone in this country.

    And on an OT, everybody, I graduate today with my master’s in social work. It has been a long road, but I made it. Some of you might remember me from the other place and probably got to read my first and only rec’ed diary when I lost my job back in December 2008.

    I decided to go back to school and do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. Today at 2 p.m. I will graduate, and hopefully find a job soon. I had a job offer that I really liked but did not accept due to contractual issues. I plan to go to the facility and volunteer any way, as soon as I get settled in a job. I’ve got some other prospects, and hope they materialize soon.

    Have a great day everybody!!

  2. Thanks, BWD!!

    And thanks for this space. Hopefully now that I am finished with school I can comment a little more. But there’s never a day that goes by that I don’t come here for my fill of intellectual discourse.

  3. Yeah Africa you go girl. So Proud of you and your ability to keep fighting for your goals. Enjoy your day, make sure you do a little sway when you walk across the stage you deserve it. LOL!

  4. Dems really need to find a messanger to counteract the GOP’s race-baiting plan to try and separate those with similar economic interests, dividing them by race. We can’t let this strategy work again.

    Once Governor Strickland is finished battling the anti-union bill in Ohio when it comes up for referenum vote, I think he’d be ideal for this. He has a very compelling story of growing up very poor in rural Ohio, and has a very populist appeal to him – somebody that could be tapped by the DNC or the Obama Administration to send out around the country – his story and voice would be new to anybody outside of Ohio and would be very effective I believe.

  5. Mitt Romney is going to hang the misery index around Obama neck. Lets see if he get away with that statement.

  6. Facebook page asking Lil Jon to denounce Donald Trump

    Lil’ Jon should make a public denouncement of Donald Trump during the Live finale of, “The Celebrity Apprentice”, and quit the gig!

    If Lil’ Jon makes this heroic move, then we, as fans of this Facebook page, will pledge to donate exactly $1 each to Lil’ Jon’s charity of choice, that he picked to support and donate to with his winnings from ‘Celebrity Apprentice’.

    Most Celebrity Apprentice competitions have been to compete for $20,000 towards their charity. So, this Fan page is pledging that the first 20,000 people to ‘Like’ this page will pledge $1 to the charity that Lil Jon supports within 1 week from the date Lil Jon makes his public denouncement.

    Why Lil’ Jon over the other contestants?

    Because Lil’ Jon has played really well and authentic on the show thus far.

    Lil’ Jon is smart, and sophisticated enough to make an intellegent and progressive stand against pompous propaganda such as trump’s.

    This page is categorized as a book so it hopefully will get more face time. ‘Books’ are represented with an icon, and in fewer numbers than ‘Music’, and we have less than a month to build enough support to empower Lil’ Jon to take advantage of his position without the risk of jeopardizing his commitment to his charity. Its about the Reciprocity. WHAT HAVE WE DONE FOR WE LATELY, anyways.

  7. More Kudos to you, africa! I’m tickled that you “made chicken salad out of chicken shit” by deciding to do what you wanted to do, despite hardships. I made a similar decision about 6 years ago, and it led me in directions I’d never have dreamed were open to me. I hope you end up as pleased as I have been.

    I love reading about Obama for America. My sense all along has been that the heavy lifting was going on at OFA, despite what the carpers carp about. The only way to keep this election clean and honest is to have boots on the ground. Millions of them. Our President knows exactly what he’s up against, and he’s a long-term thinker.

    I haven’t commented much on the birth certificate mob fuck because I tend to think it’s a good thing he decided to release it at this time. Trump isn’t even pretending to hide his racism, nor are the hard-core birthers. This will hurt the Republicans more than you might imagine. They have a small coterie of dedicated believers who will tolerate anything they spew, but the majority of Americans aren’t in that category. What’s happening now is so offensive to most of us that the birther-enablers in the party are all going to pay the price.

    It was necessary to make it clear to the whole country that the Republican Party depends on racism and general xenophobia to keep it’s base motivated. It’s been true for decades, but has never, until now, been truly clear to the average voter. I greet each new spew with a certain amount of joy – The crazier they are, the better for the rest of us.

  8. Congrats,Africa! What a great day for you. And how wonderful to be graduating with good prospects in front of you.

  9. Today right here in P’cola, but sorta bitter sweet. My mother is seriously ill in the hospital in Maryland. Depending on word from my sister, I may fly up there tonight. I already have a 6:15 flight booked.

    On the bright side, my nephews and brothers and my dad, all of whom were in the refugee camp for nearly a dozen years, and now live in Baton Rouge, drove down to be with me and my husband and my son.

    Thanks everybody for the well wishes. I am signing off now, getting stuff done before heading downtown.

  10. Oh, Africa, I am so proud of you and offer my sincere congradulations on your achievement!Congradulations:)Go make the world a better place and do even MORE good things.

  11. Hi Africa,
    CONGRATULATIONS! As our President says -“there is nothing we cannot do”. May your new path be blessed.

  12. Rep. Adam Smith of Washington State would be another really great voice out there for the President. I wonder why they do not use him more.

  13. Gooood morning BWD and everyone in the TOAITR family !

    BWD, what a great way to begin the week-end… Very uplifting articles indeed !

    I watched the speech twice, and I think I’m going to watch it a third time. The last part was… poignant.

    Like zizi said in the previous thread, President Obama was sending a response to the racists out there. He obviously has been hurt by all the hate, but I think what has hurt him the most is the pain all of this has caused to ALL people of minorities.

    What I find so impressive is how President Obama always elevates the debate. He never attacks directly the “haters” , never stoops to their level, but instead responds with aspirational language centered on dignity, respect, justice and love. He makes the haters look small. So small.

    Big, ENORMOUS thanks to you BWD for keeping our spirits up !

    I can’t wait for tonight’s speech at the Correspondant’s Dinner…

  14. Congratulations Africa,

    I wish you the best and know that you will find a rewarding career in helping others.

  15. Yes, Thanks BWD!
    It was a terrific speech, this president is soooo Gifted, as he said our diversity is our strenght NOT a weakness. Thank you mr President.

  16. Have a great weekend, too, BWD!

    Love the photos of that skinny kid with the funny name (those are his words, not mine!).

    Also was glad to see in the OFA story that Joe Trippi is commenting about the campaign organization, mostly because I like Joe:

    “If you’re the other side I would not be sitting hoping and praying they can’t get it moving again. That’s a big mistake,” said Democratic consultant Joe Trippi. “It’s going to be moving.”

  17. When Boycotting doesn’t work.

    Make slips of paper that read:
    Trump line of clothing made by young girls chained to their tables in China.

    Leave the slips of paper on the displays of his clothing line when many shoppers are around. Every once in awhile, the note just might encourage someone to look elsewhere in the store.

    Take a small post-it note and write:
    Eau de Racist

    When the fragrance counters are busy, put the post-it on the tester bottle of his fragrance. It won’t be there long, but if even one person sees it, then a lesson may be learned.

    Guerrilla shopping tactics. They’ve worked before.

  18. Congratulations! That is truly an achievement to be proud of. Best of luck to you in the job search as well. I’m sure you will hired in no time. Intelligent, caring people like you are an asset to any organization and someone will see that very soon, I am sure.

  19. Good Morning BWD and family here. Thanks again, BWD for the beautiful start up. You work so beautifully for this post. Being a senior, I just enjoy all of you all so much. You continue to give me hope and joy in my heart to see you all working together in such a respectful manner. And oh the blessings of seeing you all so intelligent with your thoughts, your hard research technique of reaching out to share, wonderful my sweetheart. Thank you for allowing this senior to participate in my small way. I love you all, and I want you all to stand together, ok.

  20. Mitt Romney has joined the racist crew and no matter how much he tries to walk it back it is there for the world to see. Disgraceful is the GOP.

  21. I think the release may be one of those things that are very painful to go through but lead to some good things (all too common in life–I vote for skipping to the good things!) The first good thing is that the media started using the word racism in connection with Trump and birtherism in general, so that when he pivoted to the college transcript he looked even more ridiculous. I even think the media’s defensiveness, as ridiculous as some forms of it took (this subject is kept alive by Obama? Really?) is a sign of something good. You’re only defensive when you feel bad about yourself.

    AMK posted this in a previous thread, but I’m doing it here too, because it’s utterly hilarious and we all deserve a good laugh:

  22. I am listening to the miami speech and I love this man. He talks so much truth, so genuine and he is above everyone. My heart is filled with determination and wanting something better, something stronger.I love the line “Defeat your own doubts” that is a powerful line.

  23. Yes, congratulations Africa. May you day be a wonderful one, and may your heart’s desires be met. God’s blessings continue to be with you and your family.

  24. africa, congratulations. We will be thinking about you this afternoon, and wishing you a great day. Social workers top my list of people who, through their jobs, touch the lives of many
    who need guidance.

  25. Congratulations, you absolutely did the right thing.

    After getting my masters I was able to get my “dream job”. When I was driving to school at night for 5 years I thought I was crazy, but now I know it was the smartest thing I ever did.

    Keep us posted so we can share in your success.

  26. Smiling, I too like Adam Smith. He is not my rep because I live in Seattle, but I do like him.
    I think he would do a good job of bringing on more blue dog dems and independents.

    Strickland would be great with the more liberal dems. We have to bring them both on board.

  27. Time for a few more inspiring words from our President

    “But no matter what we argue or where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made those liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.”

    “This sense of responsibility – to each other and to our country – this isn’t a partisan feeling.It isn’t a Democratic or Republican idea. It’s patriotism.

    The sound byte of the day

    Obama Budget: I still believe the American Dream is alive


    pass this along, we need to hear it over and over

  28. tulips, I have tried to find the thread moment that referred to Hominy’s statement. Can you help?

  29. Thanks for posting the article on OFA from Politico of all places. I admit there were some slow times on that blog after the election in 2008, but many of us hung in there and continued our outreach. If not for OFA during the mid-terms, the shellacking could have been much worse. The outreach was not limited to just political issues. The ragtag team in Phoenix did great things like helping Wounded Warriors pack boxes of cookies, candy and necessities to every single soldier serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. What the media missed was the grassroots interaction with ordinary people on many issues. I love that they are finally noticing the stealth operation. Republicans have not figured out that actions speak louder then words.

  30. Thanks for posting the OFA article. We have always know OFA was working behind the scenes.
    PBO entire election was under the radar because OFA members were just doing their jobs and not shouting from the rooftops.

    Congats Africa. Enjoy your ceremony.

  31. I don’t know where everyone is from – I’m from Boca Raton, FL – for any of you who live close to me please join the Boca-Delray-Deerfield 4Obama group on the OFA site – we were very active during the 2008 campaign, kept things going for the health care debate and will be very active again for the 2012 campaign. We’d love to have you join us!
    If you live somewhere else it is a great idea to be a part of an OFA group – if there isn’t an active one where you live, since you all are great Obama supporters I suggest that you start one!

  32. I think it is imperative that some “white” voices are at the fore front of this as well.
    We are not going to tolerate the attempts to divide and marginalize any of our citizens.

    The RRR(rich, radical and racist) formerly referred to as the GOP is not going to have their way with our America.

  33. Government’s Disaster Response Wins Praise From Those Affected.

    In Alabama, as in other affected states, the Democratic White House was winning early praise from state, local and Congressional leaders of both parties.

    “I like what we’re doing thus far,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, a Republican.

    “They seem to be taking this very seriously,” said Representative Robert B. Aderholt, a Republican from northern Alabama. “They have been very proactive and very reactive to our requests.”


    Mr. Obama and his emergency management team have, in turn, commended the state and local response.

    On Friday, Mr. Obama quoted Tuscaloosa’s Democratic mayor, Walter Maddox, as saying the destruction had brought people together. “Politics, differences of religion or race, all that fades away when we are confronted with the awesome power of nature,” Mr. Obama said. “And we’re reminded that all we have is each other.”

    That being said, the Obama administration has taken pains to emphasize that state and local officials are in charge of the tornado recovery efforts, with FEMA playing, in Mr. Fugate’s words, “a support role.”


    State and local leaders have not complained that the task of recovery, however big, is beyond their management. But with Alabama facing serious budget shortfalls, Mr. Bentley and Mr. Maddox made it clear that they would quickly require hundreds of millions of dollars in federal reconstruction aid.

    Asked what his city most needed from the federal government, Mr. Maddox answered in one word. “Revenue.”


  34. Great speech — I wish it had been nationally televised. This is the Obama we love. This man is a champion of the next generation.

  35. “…building an unparalleled re-election organization while staying under the political world’s radar”.

    Sun Tzu again: win first and THEN start the battle 🙂

  36. Wonderful!! I am sooo happy for you. Congratulations. It does my heart good to hear about your accomplishment. I wish you the best in finding just the right job.

  37. I have NEVER laughed so hard in a long long time. OMG. That was the funniest shit ever! Obama and Seth Meyers KILLED it and the White House Corresondent Dinner. Too many great lines – you have to watch the replay. Somebody on Twitter said Obama and Seth should take that show on the road.

    Man, that felt great to see Donald Trump get bitch-slapped!


  38. Congratulations Africa on getting your Master’s Degree in Social work. I hope you find work soon.

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