Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama 2.0

Barack Obama from DC Examiner
The most fascinating thing about Barack Obama 2.0 as described in yesterday's LA Times is the scope of the program:
Though the plan still is emerging, one source with knowledge of the internal discussion said the organization could have an annual budget of $75 million in privately raised funds. Another said it would deploy hundreds of paid staff members -- possibly one for every congressional district in certain politically important states and even more in larger battlegrounds such as Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina.
I witnessed the campaign firsthand in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Berkeley. Each city's organizers were trained to handle the volunteers differently. The cities volunteer was dramatically different despite the Times' description:
... The full-time staff is likely to consist primarily of the presidential campaign workers, many in their 20s, who served as the local points of contact for the campaign's vast network of neighborhood volunteers.
Minneapolis' volunteer based centered mostly around U of M students. Indianapolis was much broader, with volunteers fitting all ages and career vocations coming in from out of state to join local staff. The Indiana is such a big state and teams focused on the urban centers and college towns, while Berkeley's volunteers were typically older, white ex-hippies and African-Americans excited about the prospects of a Democratic president and a black one, at that.

A permanent campaign is already in the works. Colin Powell and the transition team held a press conference last week to launch, and I've been receiving emails with local volunteer opportunities ever since. It's the next step in the call-to-duty many, especially myself, felt when they first volunteered for the presidential campaign. Last night I contacted Just Cause with a volunteer inquiry.

change in presidential politics this represents, but I think Drum said it best:
After all, what congressman is likely to buck the boss if the boss can offer — or withhold — hundreds of thousands of dollars without batting an eye and mobilize — or withhold — hundreds of thousands of phone calls and telegrams depending on how closely you toe the presidential line? Every president has a certain amount of power he can bring to bear against holdout legislators, but Obama's organization brings this to a whole new level.

If this turns out to be right, Congress is going to learn pretty quickly that the ballgame has changed. Should be fun to watch.

It should indeed be fun to watch and participate in.

h/t Kevin Drum
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Johnny Cash - I Still Miss Someone (Unreleased Bonus Track)

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