September 9, 2010
POLITICS: Unorganized for America
That was then:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
You have to stay at the seat at the table of democracy with a man like Barack Obama not just on Tuesday but in a year from now, in four years from now, in eights years from now, you will have to be engaged.
This is now:
The outfit that put upwards of 8 million volunteers on the street in 2008 - known as Organizing for America - is a ghost of its former self. Its staff has shrunk from 6,000 to 300, and its donors are depressed: receipts are a fraction of what they were in 2008. Virtually no one in politics believes it will turn many contests this fall. "There's no chance that OFA is going to have the slightest impact on the midterms," says Charlie Cook, who tracks congressional races.
...By the time they realized they needed more troops, says longtime consultant Joe Trippi, "their supporters had taken a vacation from politics."
TIME blames administrative neglect, which of course is always a plausible explanation where Obama is concerned, but of course there are other reasons why the kind of people who changed their middle name to Hussein and collected heroic unicorn art of their Leader have lost the thrill:
Not even sorcery may be able to rekindle the excitement many first-time voters showed back then. "The popularity of the President with these voters is not a transferable asset," says Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist. "I don't think it's realistic that they would ever be able to replicate the unbridled enthusiasm. It's like a first kiss: you can never experience it twice."
Ah, the perils of treating politics as a substitute for religion. George W. Bush never had that problem; nobody really came to politics for the first time in 2000 because they thought voting for Bush would make them feel personally fulfilled, would end politics as we have known it, would end the nation's racial divisions and make the world love us, or that he would pay their mortgage and car payments. Bush got elected because he seemed like a guy who could be trusted to do the job. And of course, that's before you get to Obama's actual job performance:
WHY, asks a Democrat leading a training session for fellow activists, doesn't "Yes we can" work as a slogan any more? "Because we haven't," a jaded participant responds.
TIME notes that the Obama team is now trying to rebuild OFA in time for 2012, but that's cold comfort for Democrats across the country who never did have Obama's personal glamor.
Election Day is November 2. There will be no unicorns.
"It's like a first kiss: you can never experience it twice."
That's really the best analogy for the whole thing. Any voters who came in with those lofty expectations were bound to be disappointed. The liberal dems have the same type of problem that the conservative republicans had when McCain won the nomination - making sure your disappointed base votes on the logic that the alternative is much worse.
And is it really just liberal dems who are disappointed? I can't find any democrat who is not disappointed. I guess he still has a 20% strongly approval rating so they must be out there somewhere. Just now where I live in the Midwest.
If this entry gets Crank an unusual number of page views, it's because I keep reading it over and over and laughing myself silly.
Hippies fail, tears follow.
Still, it cannot top this one, which I call Birkenstocks in the Snow:
Howard Dean: I saw it in a college student in Pennsylvania who sold her bicycle and sent us a check for $100 with a note that said, "I sold my bicycle for democracy."
I nearly bust a gut the first time I read that and it's still good for a chortle. Silly hippies!
per14 - I think the difference is, ordinary Democrats - like the ones who voted for Hillary in the primaries - didn't have the same level of expectations for this guy.
Its really fascinating talking to Dems about 2008. You keep asking them how could you think voting for a person with no experience or accomplishments was a good idea...and all they will do is talk about Bush-who couldn't run and Palin who wasn't the Presidential candidate. They will never argue about Mc Cain vs Obama-they realize now they were led to believe a whole host of things about Obama that turned out to be complete BS.
dch, you can thank the media for that, of course. They were able to frame the race as Obama vs. that horrible Palin person and the dimwits fell for it.
So instead of Palin in the "warm bucket of spit" position, we get Sheriff Joe. We sure dodged a bullet there, eh?
"they realize now they were led to believe a whole host of things about Obama that turned out to be complete BS. "
"you can thank the media for that, of course."
Well, for the progressives, the media is a non-issue, as they were never going to vote for McCain/Palin anyway. Most of them are disappointed in Obama because he was not as progressive as his campaign led them to believe, and also because their own expectations of what he could achieve were completely unrealistic.