What Does Obama Want Us To Do?

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 23:08

During 2007 and 2008, and Obama campaign sent out around one thousand action alerts. Time and time again, Obama supporters were encouraged to donate, register voters, talk to neighbors, hold house parties, knock on doors, phonebank and vote early. Millions responded, including over four million campaign donors, and even more people taking some sort of action for the campaign. Barack Obama's calls to action were regular, convincing, and clear. Millions answered.

Both during the election and afterward, there were regular implications that these same supporters would be called upon to act after the election, as well. In a post-election survey sent out to Obama activists, "pass legislation through grass-roots efforts" was one of the four activities supporters were asked to rank. During the campaign, Obama regularly spoke of change "from the bottom up," and made it clear that such change did not end with the election.

Given all of this, I feel compelled to ask: what does President Obama want his supporters to do now?

Should we be making calls Republican members of Congress, asking them to pass the stimulus bill?
Should we be calling Democrats in Congress, asking them to compromise more with Republicans?
Should we be pushing for right-wingers like Mitt Romney or Jim Cooper to become the new HHS Secretary, as the Village clearly desires?
Should we be holding cocktail parties and / or dinners with Republicans in our neighborhoods, as President Obama himself is doing?
Should we be shopping more?
Should we be conserving energy--and, if so, how?
Should we be buying American?

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: What Does Obama Want Us To Do?

What, exactly, does President Obama want his supporters to be doing? Even though millions are still willing to take action on his behalf, the calls to action have gone completely silent.

There is a major leadership vacuum right now. For the past two years, there was a consistent implication that Obama's grassroots network would play some sort of role in helping President Obama govern. So far, however, they have played no role whatsoever, and been asked to play none. This is even though the Senate is about to vote on a stimulus package that is supposedly designed to help the American people get out of an economic free fall.

What does President Obama want his supporters to do? For that matter, what does President Obama want the American people to do? We are in the midst of a major crisis right now, and shown time and time again that we are willing to take action to help remedy the problem. Millions, tens of millions, of people feel incredibly frustrated, trapped even, and are unsure what to do next. While they are ready to act, someone needs to make the ask. Right now, the person to make the ask is President Obama, but he isn't doing it.  What does President Obama want us to do? The silence is deafening.

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dsfs (1.00 / 4)
You're a supporter? 90% of your screeds have been anti-Obama. Not sure how you're a supporter.

well (4.00 / 1)
He does have a button....

Chris is a supporter, but he is not an Obama democrat so he generally expects things from Obama that Obama has not provided nor promised to provide.  In this case, Chris has a point though.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

[ Parent ]
... (4.00 / 1)
Chris does have a point, but so does dsfs.  

Obama has been in office for two weeks.  He's wrangling with Congress on both the stimulus and his cabinet.  

He doesn't know yet what the bill will be when it does pass and he doesn't yet know all the players of his cabinet who will administer whatever it is that passes.

I am shocked at the lack of counter campaign coming from the administration to the prattling of the attention hungry Reps and the attention deficit media which goes somewhat to Chris's point but since Obama doesn't know yet the parameters of what he'll be working with it might be a bit premature to sic the hounds on we don't quite yet know who.

Patience is not a virtue in this country but I admit to itching to get back to the process myself.

As it sits now, maybe we can placate ourselves by calling our elected ones with instructions to loudly counter the lies that keep creeping out of the corners the Reps are sitting in.  The whole process will start again, but not until we know what it is we're fighting for and who specifically we're fighting against.

Just a thought.


[ Parent ]
Is it somehow wrong (4.00 / 10)
To expect things of the President of the United States?

[ Parent ]
Obama's entire (4.00 / 1)
presdiency is based on getting us out of this depression.  a bad stimulus bill would harm that task, and impact greatly on his Presidency.

He put bipartisanship first, but did not get it.

I expect Obama to lead.

My hope is that he is starting to do so.

He needs to address the nation in an evening economic address.  Democrats, inlcuding Landrieu need to support the president.

[ Parent ]
Expecting something of him is one thing (0.00 / 0)
but I don't know what you're expecting of him, you haven't given him a chance, you've been criticizing him since the moment he was elected.

I think we need to take a step back and think what should we expect from him vs. what is realistic. If you are able to watch C-SPAN all day, like I am now in my unemployment, you'd realize half of Congress is still living in 2002. Half of Congress and the media is belching that we are spending too much money already on the stimulus package when we both know it isn't enough. The media and the powers that be have successfully done everything they can do to isolate the progressive left...and they did it by keeping public opinions from moving radically in that direction. We are not a Center-Right country, but we are a Center-Left country and Chris, you, Sirota, Stoller and everyone here are left of center left. Therefore it should not surprise you that our government, our media and our country as a whole seems right wing to you.

President Obama can't move mountains although we'd like him to. He has to govern where the country wants him to govern, not where Chris Bowers wants him to govern. In the meantime, we could spend our time helping him by moving the country radically to the left and pushing back against the media's attempt to return us to the Reagan era. Instead, we are helping them destroy our President.  

[ Parent ]
sdf (4.00 / 3)
I think some of the problem is that the left spends too much time attacking the left. I thought that the Republican party was going to kill itself after its loss and no such thing happened. We have been attacking ourselves more than the other side has been attacking itself since the election. And, while we're doing that, the right is attacking us too. Something to consider.

[ Parent ]
It could be because this isn't about the left (4.00 / 4)
This is about the left and the centre, and the controversy as to which one of those groups is in control of the ship of state.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
True, but when two dogs struggle, the third one gets the bone.. (0.00 / 0)
so, sure, this is a fight about the right direction, but there's a real danger that neither side will win and instead the rethugs will successfully exploit this. This shouldn't be allowed to happen. Before letting this detoriate to a point that a still liberal bill isn't passed, it's better to reach for a compromise. This doesn't mean letting the BlueDogs get away with the bone without a fight, of course. But the bone has to be defended against the Red Dogs, too!

[ Parent ]
We on the left (0.00 / 0)
don't know how to build coalitions and work in groups for the greater good...for that matter, the right can't do it either.

Monumental change does not happen on the far left or the far right...sorry, it doesn't...it happens in coalitions that include the far left and the far right.

I think Obama is right trying to work across party lines. The problem here may be that the people he's working with aren't the ones he should be working with. Maybe spending more time working with the Mary Landrieus and Brad Ellsworths and less time working with the Eric Cantors...but he's not wrong.

[ Parent ]
Well I guess (4.00 / 13)
Well, I guess that voting for Obama twice, canvassing my neighborhood twice, donating money to the campaign, helping to raise tens of thousands for the campaign, running my own personal ads against McCain in several media markets, running an SEO ad campaign against McCain, and registering a few voters doesn't have any bearing on my level of support for Obama. It's all about the tone of my writing.

[ Parent ]
sdf (0.00 / 0)
That could have been all motivated by wanting to defeat McCain, not some special fondness for Obama. That, coupled with your anti-Obama rhetoric would support the conclusion that you're not an Obama supporter as well.

[ Parent ]
give it a break, (4.00 / 9)
man. since when does support = blind faith?  the best support obama can get right now is the active encouragement to do the right thing. in this case: communicate with his base, however high-maintenance or no-maintenance we might be.

[ Parent ]
the "right thing" (0.00 / 0)
is in the eye of the beholder. i'm sure I have difference with you on what the "right thing" is and Obama isn't taking my calls.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, (0.00 / 0)
nor is he calling!

[ Parent ]
Not pure enough for you? (4.00 / 3)

[ Parent ]
sdf (0.00 / 0)
Purity has nothing to do with it. I don't run a site blasting Obama 90% of the time then and then holding myself out as a supporter.

[ Parent ]
or expect him to listen (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Then why are you posting? (4.00 / 2)
If you don't like the content- leave!

[ Parent ]
Busy (0.00 / 0)
I know some will think I'm just being an apologist, but I think it's important to point out that these are real people, and they've just taken over the most powerful government on Earth. They are new. They're facing a severe economic crisis. They're trying to get people into the cabinet. They've got a bazillion things to do. It's going to take some time to set up that network.  

It's too late... (4.00 / 11)
...we've totally lost the spin war on the stimulus and the momentum for progressive change has really stalled big time...  I do blame a lot of that on Obama's obsession with "inclusion" which elevated the stature of Republicans, but they had the help of an activist media trying to derail the program...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
It has nothing to do with elevating their stature (4.00 / 2)
The media did it for them. Trust me, I know, I just got laid off from ABC after five years.

The stories I can tell you. The stories.  

[ Parent ]
DOOM DOOM DOOM! (0.00 / 0)
It's been two weeks. I think we're all frustrated, but that's the nature of life. Nothing happens overnight.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
the network already exists (4.00 / 6)
That's the point. He just has to get Axelrod or someone to record a video asking his supporters to call their senators or whatever. So why not do it?

[ Parent ]
The problem is precisely that they're not new (4.00 / 9)
Everyone he brought in is a long-time Washington insider, each of whom has deep relationships with long-time Wall Street and CoC insiders.

What we're watching is the slow-motion implosion of the old order, the old ruling class. You saw some of that happen with the messages in Obama's campaign that people responded to...quite a bit different than the DC zeitgeist of the last 30 or 40 years. But there are still a lot of mythologies out there about markets, how the economy works, etc., etc.

I don't know if you surf the econ/financial/political economy blogs that much, but in the space of four months pretty much every dominant theory of how the economy works has either been completely trashed or is undergoing major modification. The educated class in the country at large woke up one day and realized "the sky really isn't blue". I've never seen anything like this. This feels epochal.

The only place where everything is still "quasi-normal" is in the corridors of power: the nexus of DC and Wall Street. Its becoming apparent that these guys couldn't change if they wanted to.

Obama has plunged into this immense crisis, and everyone he has chosen to trust is part of the establishment...part of the problem. He's trusting the addicts to educate us on how we can stay drug-free.

The best thing we can do for Obama is to "throw the emergency brake." Barack's got the goods, but he's listening to the wrong people (by just about any measure), and their ideas will destroy him if he doesn't cut them loose.

And do so very quickly.

[ Parent ]
glacierpeaks (0.00 / 0)
I like your comment - particularly this part.
"the sky really isn't blue". I've never seen anything like this. This feels epochal.

Would love to read more.  Can you recommend a couple of blog links?

[ Parent ]
Wonderful comment (0.00 / 0)
100% on point. Well done.

[ Parent ]
excellent (4.00 / 1)
questions all. i've been asking myself much the same thing for the last week or so.

It's time:the albany project.

Yeah I don't understand this post (4.00 / 2)
I just got an Obama email yesterday telling me to submit questions to Tim Kaine and host or attend an Economic Recovery House Meeting.  

He assured me that I can "help restore confidence in our economy by making sure your friends, family, and neighbors understand how the recovery plan will impact your community."

Silence doesn't sound so deafening to me.

[ Parent ]
So what Obama wants me to do... (2.00 / 2)
... is get myself into his database so he can ask me for money?  

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
This blog organized people to call House members in support (4.00 / 5)
of the transit money. But that's a much smaller list than Barack Obama has.

Barack Obama has a huge list...why isn't he mobilizing it to call targeted Republican Senators and wavering Democrats to support the the passage of the stimulus bill.

What's he saving it for?

Are there some legal impediments..we have not been told of?

The folks running barackobama.com and now his new site had been very technologically savvy.  I find it hard to believe there are tech problems.

What is the problem?  Why isn't he unleashing them to get this most necessary bill passed?  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
House meeting (4.00 / 2)
I've gotten the house meeting memo as well as million others...

With the Senate now debating the Recovery bill, can house meetings produce any feedback in time to get the results into the bill?

I think it's a case of too little too late... a bone to keep fido busy until the next round.

We might do well posting legislation on line, and allow public comments and consultation for a bit of time (depending on urgency). While the comments are being read by the legislators, they take notes on things that should be in or out, etc. and only after consultation time is closed, does the House begin its finalization of the bill... etc.

Hong Kong is has this "public consultation period" that can go for a short time, or several months before the matter is even taken up by the legislature.

There are clever methods for such system to be on line with pro's, con's, by the public, and with multi-ideological professionals providing analyses.  

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.


[ Parent ]
you are missing point (0.00 / 0)
organizing takes time and its as much about building relationships, showing up and how one commitment leads to another.

there is a definite method to the strategy and its not mainstream political organizing--that's being done by move on and seiu and others.

OFA is approaching the problem of governing by facilitating involvement, relying on pure organizing principles and by taking it slow.

take it or leave it the obama organizing train has left the station. its an exciting time.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, three days after the bill passes the Senate (4.00 / 8)
He wants you to host a house meeting asking questions about the bill, three days after it passes the Senate.

How is that an action? I don't see it.

[ Parent ]
Take action (4.00 / 5)
I think he said "Change doesn't come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up" at least 1,001 times.

I hope we all know what that means. Let's organize, it was good that you posted some action alerts on transit earlier in the stimulus fight. Quick Hits don't get seen by nearly as many as the frontpage though.

Sure, it'd be nice to have a little more defined goals. But we can't only do stuff when OFA asks us.

If it matters, I think Obama wants us to stop writing meta blog posts and call our members of Congress, get involved in a local campaign or community organization and make a difference.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Point of order (4.00 / 2)
You just wrote a meta comment about not writing meta blog posts.

And "I hope we all know what that means" is a phrase that has started more wars than can be counted.  

[ Parent ]
OK (0.00 / 0)
Change: to become different
Doesn't: does not
Top Down: controlled, directed, or instituted from the top level
Bottom Up: : progressing upward from the lowest levels (as of a stratified organization or system)

That makes perfect sense to me.


-Use it or Lose It 08
-Searching for John McCain
-Transit funding tracking and action alerts
-Legislation project
-Organizing service event
-Running for office
-Getting involved in your local party and taking it over

I could go on and on. That make a little more sense?

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Take Action... Organize (4.00 / 2)
The point is well taken. Nevertheless, nobody wants to spin their wheels writing, calling, etc. without feedback. Also effective action to move Congress requires an incredible broader base. They've been known to ignore petitions with millions of signatures... such the the popular demand that they DO NOT give immunity to the Telco's that had participated in the illegal wire tapping.

Effective action also depends on a fair understanding by the public of the particular legislation being contemplated. I've read the entire 800 or so pages, and haven't had time to digest enough to support it completely if at all: For example, Sub-title B-Small business, which appears to be addressed at funding businesses, make many references to the Small Business acts of the past. We know the SBA hasn't been much help to small businesses... and the inclusion of "lenders" means the same banking apparatus will be counted on to participate in loan distribution... How can I believe this will really cause businesses that were forced to close due to inability to obtain loans will be serviced by either the SBA or the financial community without exorbitant interest rates or terribly slowed up by SBA red tape?

The point is that one might have expected the Administration itself to set up a real blog, with monitors that sort the information, and gives public feed back and gets real answers to questions, etc. So far, it's been a one way PR to keep supporters and dissenters pacified under the illusion that their words are being heard.

During the time that http://change.gov/ was active, there was a link to the directory of transition personnel... but there wasn't a single name, nor contact information. Now much of the stuff happens at http://whitehouse.gov/ and there is no contact information for any of the people one would expect to be able to write to, so the information gets to the right ears, and some rational response is received that addresses the issues one has written about, even if bulk answers to type of questions is sent.

On Jan 29, the President was shocked to have that day have read news about executive bonuses paid to TARP recipients companies; as if he hadn't seen that the topic has been brought up more than 6 weeks earlier at the change.gov site. That means, he's isolated to the point where no one in the site will pass the information onto him.

So there needs to be a "place" where action can be discussed, and be coordinated. If that place doesn't show up soon, and become real active, then, we might just have to start one here.

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.


[ Parent ]
Send support for the stimulus bill to your Senators (4.00 / 3)
Doesn't matter if they're D or R, staunch proponents or opponents. Emphasize the need to support public transit or whatever else you think is important. Call them, email them. Everyone needs to do this.

This matters more than you might think - until the last day or two, conservative have been bombarding congress. Balancing this out will make a difference.

See the TARP debate for an example, regardless of what you think of the bill - when calls started evening out in favor after the House GOP tanked the first vote, it changed the perception of where public opinion was on the bill.  

Does Obama hear his supporters or the general public for that matter? (4.00 / 6)
To echo and reinforce Chris Bowers' comments, one has to wonder if what his supporters and/or the public comments left in the various sites is ever read by or summarized for the President.

During the campaign, one could post something to Senator Obama's site, and one would eventually hear a comment in his campaign speech that at least suggest that he had in some way been in contact with the information.

After the election, the hot line was http://change.gov/. There were requests for comments, and questions, and request for participation. However, nothing ever came from the President to give direct answers to the concerns of the people writing. We got the answers from the transition team in warmly presented video clips, with generalities about how the input was appreciated and how the administration was listening. However, direct questions were never address anew. They were paraphrases of campaign speeches, and many issues weren't even addressed.

Now we have whitehouse.gov which has come front and center. The discussions have disappeared. "Contact us" allows 500 characters. Since we don't see other inquiries, we have no idea whether any of these "contact us" comments have ever been answered either through direct response or through actions or words spoken by either the President or any of its administration people.

Discussions at change.gov continue open, but they ground to a virtual halt. There are no discussions at whitehouse.gov. What appears an afterthought, there was an appeal to home meetings across the nation on the Recovery package, but this came out of my.barrackobama.com; and comes just as the Recovery Act is in the Senate, much after the fact... and comments coming out of the home meetings throughout the country aren't likely to change the legislation after it passes, anyway. As Chris asks, what does Obama want us to do? Where is the bottom up...

We tend to excuse Obama that he's too busy with this that and the other, all of which are more important and pressing issues. But I put it to you, what is more important than the citizens knowing that they can communicate to government, and an assurance that government is listening, and shows it by addressing those issues?

A discussion site can be put together in a few days with existing software, and with excellent sort and search capabilities, (not the stifled "intensedebate" system used in change.gov). A handful of monitors and administrator can easily sort and categorize the posts, and get real time information of public attitude, and give meaningful answers to the public that isn't just public relations blather.

There is some value in the sites, because it posts news about government actions. However, much of the same information is first seen in the media, including the weekly address, before it's shown in whitehouse.gov.

The rest is tantamount to one way propaganda to keep the public believing that their interests are being looked after, and are predominantly a repetition of campaign promises, reworded for a presidential stance. The function of the debates become no more than group therapy... with predominantly the same participants talking to each other as if they were carrying on a private conversation, at a group therapy session.

Nothing is changing in Foreign Policy... only window dressing and talk, not different from what we've heard before. Nothing is changing in the economy. Everything is subject to the financial community's approval to make sure things fit into the existing mold. No indication we'll have a systemic shift; only more tweaking, which will in fact cause any remedial action to take years. For anyone reading the entire 800 some odd pages of the Recovery Act, it's easy to see that in subtle and not so subtle ways much of the process of money distribution is going to depend on the unchanged financial community that has already shown it's reticence to follow the law, and report what it does with money.

We continue to show incredible deference to million dollar salaried executive who have failed and and betrayed us... and we're even considering creating a "bad bank" to buy toxic assets! Yes, that's it; we'll cover their losses with our taxes, and they are put back to normal. No talk about reimbursing the millions and millions of Americans who have lost more than 60% of their 401 retirement...

We continue to hear the government mantra about "saving the financial markets," and the government continues to believe that the public really believes that the financial markets have any real value to them and their future. The only value from the financial community or their financial market is the software and hardware infrastructure (we like our ATM's and getting basic money services)... not much else...

But this will end soon when voters will vote with their money, and stop waiting for real honest action from legislators and administration who appears to be beholden to other interests than the public interest.

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.


Obama's in a state of cognitive dissonance (4.00 / 4)
Maybe so maybe not. But think about it - he surrounded himself with an economic team that told him what needed to be done right off about the economy. They shaped this stimulus bill. Obama committed sometime in October-November to the idea that the stimulus needed to be planned by experts, and picked the experts he was going to trust.

Now the stimulus he put out isn't satisfying anyone: the Republicans turned up their noses, the liberal/progressive economists say it's not big enough, the conservative economists say there's nothing the government can do anyway, and most of the country is just pissed that wall street is getting money while they lose their houses.

Either 1) Obama still trusts his economic team, and thinks this is another time when calmly riding out the storm will get the job done; or 2) Obama is hearing the complaints and losing faith in his economic team, but has too much committed to shift strategy quickly. I'm hoping it's 2, but I kind of think he's still at 1.

He is listening, though - witness the cap on executive salaries. But he still hasn't fully appreciated how much he needs to turn things inside out: we don't want him to cap salaries, we want him to fire the executives, clean out the shareholders, and take control of the banks.

Executive compensation is a side issue (0.00 / 0)
The real issue is the two trillion already committed*, with no transparency and no accountability. And the trillions to be committed next.

Executive compensation makes faux populism easy, and the stories are easy for the lazy press to right, but if Obama is really listening, health care and housing would be on the front burner, too -- and framed, along with the "stimulus package," as part of the recovery plan.

* Of which TARP is only a part, and, believe it or not, the most transparent part.

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

Absolutely (4.00 / 1)
I can't escape the feeling that most of the complaints about executive compensation have more to do with jealousy than principle. Basically, I care as much about what a bank CEO makes as I do about what Michael Jordan used to make.

At least Michael Jordan put on a good show.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
Who cares what Obama wants us to do? (4.00 / 1)
When Obama actually makes his calls for us to do something, I'm sure the OpenLeft front pagers will tell us all about it. :-) Then, every individual can decide on a case-by-case basis whether his call for help or support is worthy of our time and efforts.

In the meantime, it should be obvious that the US government is still nowhere near as responsive to human needs, and the "milk of human kindness", that it should be. Obama may be many things, but Mother Teresa he is not.

Why not take Obama at his word about "change comes from the bottom", even if it turns out that that wasn't completely BS that Obama spouted to get elected? It a huge mistake to wait around for guidance "from above" (i.e., Obama), when the change is really going to come "from below". For one thing, that's rather illogical!

One way to grow the progressive movement is to use Obama's conservatism as an example about how change is very much a chimera when the real centers of power are still firmly ensconced in the top. I say, grab hold of the Obama-catalyzed enthusiasm for populist politics by 1) showing it's limitations and 2) reaching out especially to the young and his followers.

The trick is not to offend his followers by coming off as just angry or some sort of crypto-Republican with a hidden agenda. Instead, what's needed is coming off as persistent, truthful, optimistic, and with a completely open agenda that clearly shows up Obama's now numerous chimerical or marginal changes (some of them costing us dearly, financially, and the worst is yet to come). Nothing personal, just (civic) business.

The motto for reaching out is "Not change enough - let's take Obama at his word."  (By his "word", I mean his schtick about change coming from below.)

Because the economy is so screwed up, it's highly likely that even if Obama was a Mother Teresa and an Einstein wrapped up in one, the unraveling economy would still make it likely that he will be a one term president. Why not use this unfortunate set of circumstance to give Obama (as well as Congress) something to think about in terms of getting re-elected? In doing so, you just might force him to do enough of the right things that he will get re-elected. Not to mention the Democrats, as a whole, who are at risk of becoming a minority party, especially if the Republicans re-invent themselves in the next 2-4 years.*

This point should also be made when reaching out to Obama's fans.

* If they're dumb enough to keep blaming "tax and spend" liberals for everything, when both parties bear responsibility for deregulation, "free" markets, selling out the country to corporations, etc., that doesn't count as re-inventing themselves. They have to change their message, even if they're not really going to change their agenda. I could see a Republican party in the mold of Lou Dobbs (or convincingly posturing as Lou Dobbs wannabes) beating the Democrats in 2012. Hell, if Obama keeps bailing out the fatcats, I may vote for a Lou Dobbs, myself.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

We been p3wn3d (4.00 / 1)
In other words, "change" was a hustle, but we can start organizing for real change. How about trying to get someone to fund those laid-off 50-state DNC organizers if they can still be found, set some goals, push it at the grass roots level, and within 8 years try to bring it to the national level.

Of course now that the party belongs to Obama, interlopers won't be welcome. I'm not surprised he's not reaching out - his followers gave him a free pass on everything from VP choice to various issues - "don't bother him, the great man is thinking". Ready to excuse every oddity, repaint all his efforts at enlightened and damn near perfect, "most flawless campaign effort ever". When the pro-Obama PR stops, however...

[ Parent ]
real concern (4.00 / 1)
This is the real concern, isn't it? There was a feeling of grassroots influence during the campaign. It was continuing in the transition. Now, nothing.

It is looking like Obama has no intention of including "all of us" in the day-to-day really important parts of governing.

After building up so much expectations through both action and rhetoric, that's frustrating.

They call me Clem, Clem Guttata. Come visit wild, wonderful West Virginia Blue

[ Parent ]
Please don't say that to Obama true believers (0.00 / 0)
Even if it were completely true and fair to say "we've been p3wn3d", in using the present circumstances to build a progressive movement, it makes no sense to say so when reaching out to "change comes from below" Obama fans, who nevertheless are either waiting from instructions from above, or aren't going to like those instructions when they get them. Also, it doesn't make any sense to antagonize Obama and his inside-the-beltway buddies unnecessarily.

However, it does make sense to start preparing a financial war chest for a truly progressive Presidential candidate to run against Obama in the 2012 primary. That may antagonize him, but I would call moves like that necessary antagonizing, in the vein of keeping him honest by letting him know that there are alternatives. Same applies to Congress.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
Obama should be getting out of DC... (4.00 / 2)
...Go to Iowa, Ohio, Indiana and other Obama states that have GOP senators. Get out of DC, stay in touch with and make the voices of ordinary people heard. Stop letting the GOP and the Village chattering class drive false debates. He's got this great new ride called Air Force One -- he should be on it at least once or twice a week. (Remember, Bush and Rove virtually lived on AF1 in his first term.)  

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

A let the media criticize him (4.00 / 2)
for leaving Washington in the middle of an economic crisis and "politicizing" the stimulus?

The media is looking for reasons to destroy Obama. Take it from me, who until yesterday was a producer for ABC. I was in meetings as recently as Friday where ways to bring down Obama's approval ratings were discussed, flat out, openly.

And btw, one of their ways is to hype up dissent on the left.  

[ Parent ]
That's a rather sensational accusation (0.00 / 0)
Or, perhaps I'm just naive. Care to give details?

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[ Parent ]
It's that simple (4.00 / 2)
The media is afraid Obama is too popular and they don't want to be accused of coddling him and helping from the right and don't want to be accused of being complacent like they were when Bush was popular.

Democratic members of Congress and liberal economists have offered to come on air and defend the progressive point of view. ABC and CNBC flat out turned them down and have put on Republicans and right wingers, simply because Obama is already popular and they don't want to seem as being cheerleaders for his administration.

Maybe once they knock his approval rating down to 30%, they'll begin telling the truth.  

[ Parent ]
I guess I'm naive (0.00 / 0)
Not "wanting to seem complacent" <> "ways to bring down Obama's approval ratings were discussed, flat out, openly"


"don't want to be accused of coddling him and helping from the right" <>  "ways to bring down Obama's approval ratings were discussed, flat out, openly"

To me, "ways to bring down Obama's approval ratings were discussed, flat out, openly" seems blatantly dishonest and violating any notion of journalistic ethics that I can conceive of, while your other statements that I quoted might be looked at as simple cowardice or even a misplaced concern that some some sort of journalistic ethics would be violated.

I think if you named names and got some sort of well-known investigative reporter (say Seymour Hersh) to write this up, you'd be quite famous.

I can't be the only naive person out here!

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
lol ethics (0.00 / 0)
that's funny...to think there are ethics in the mainstream media.

Ratings, Money and Attention...that's what it means to be a journalism in the mainstream media.  

[ Parent ]
Ratings (0.00 / 0)
Matter less than you think.  The corporate bottom line may depend on other products (GE Capital and being a defence contractor for NBC and MSNBC) or even advertising.  These days the advertisers want fawning content even more than they want views/listeners/readers.  Fools but fools who run the game.

[ Parent ]
Simple in implementation, but complex at its roots and causes (0.00 / 0)
The media serves its masters. Reporters do what they must to keep their jobs. The media is now under the control of very few hands. It behaves pretty much as any other monopoly or oligopoly, doing their masters bidding.

The media talks as if it a given that the population is conservative, or centrist, and on political, economic, and most social topics as if there were a conservative popular consensus. Internet has surfaced in Obama's campaign as a powerful progressive force, but the media has tended to minimize it since, and now pretends to act and write as though they have assumed a progressive position.

To understand the media, and how it forwards known political or other objectives (not the public interest), one can read Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" for an in depth analysis of how the long-entrenched and established power brokers manipulates events throughout the world to frame the reality from within which people are expected to think.

I do not doubt for a moment NFR83's assertion, and not only does not surprise me, but it confirms how the media contributes to the status-quo and never-ending repetition of essentially the same agenda we've followed for the last 50 years, with little deviations. A very mild swing leftward as the few degrees that Obama appears to be taking is designed to comfort the progressives to create the illusion that we're going progressive and more populist.

A close analysis of Obama's actions even during the campaign, (through a series of softening his initially strong progressive stance, starting with his FISA reversal) shows that while he's a self proclaimed progressive, he has in fact shaped his agenda to steer only slightly progressive, but without the substantial, and systemic changes required to go even 15 degrees leftward.  

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.


[ Parent ]
Maybe you should ask yourself who your masters are.. (0.00 / 0)
because you are serving the same masters as the neo-cons, as is Barack Obama. If you're so clueless that you don't recognize that his cabinet picks are all corporate tools, or you don't care because it's your pick that is serving the corporate elite, then you are little more than a low level pimp serving the same people Bush served.

[ Parent ]
I think Noam Chomsky would be surprised (0.00 / 0)
If you view his recent, saddening account of Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians, he mentions "Manufacturing Consent", but also points out that he defended the integrity of journalists. While one can accuse Chomsky of double-speak, depending on just how conscious one believes that journalists really are of their internalization of the filtered, corporate culture in which they exist, clearly Chomsky does not believe that by and large, the journalists are being deceitful.

However, any journalist who participates in a discussion where "ways to bring down Obama's approval ratings were discussed, flat out, openly" can make no claim of being unconscious of participating in a corrupt and (I would argue) treasonable enterprise.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
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[ Parent ]
NFR83 (0.00 / 0)
would you please contact me? anheduanna AT hot mail dot com. thank you. and thank you for speaking out about your experiences. this is something more people need to know.  

[ Parent ]
Too bad you didn't have a recorder running (0.00 / 0)

"I was in meetings as recently as Friday where ways to bring down Obama's approval ratings were discussed, flat out, openly."

Were you working at ABC during the Bush regime? Did they wish to take him down as well?  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Keep hitting up the Republican reps. (0.00 / 0)
I think there seems to be some inferiority complex with a lot of peeps in the left.  Let the Republicans win the political points/spin wars. What's important is that Obama gets what he needs. If he is confident it will pass, why worry about the small stuff?  

Limbaugh/House Republicans ads... (4.00 / 1)
UAC's ads are a waste, my republican congressman is jumping for joy being associated with "stopping" the "Porkulus Bill" and Limpbaugh.  I think he is donating to keep the ads going, his right-wing nuts are seething.

[ Parent ]
Obamacons are unprincipled, and regressive (0.00 / 0)
Do you think for yourselves, do you understand and care about all the issues or are you little more than shills for a brand?

Obama is a con, a fraud. When will you wake up? His administration is comprised of people no different than Bush's was. They are all outsourcers, advocates for bleeding the citizens of this country dry, eroding our constitutional freedoms to increase the profits of the top 2%. Is this what you were activist for? It's no wonder that the poorest Americans disdain the left, for you all have no credibility.

And what is the alternative you propose? Communism? (0.00 / 0)
Not to speak of that it doesn't make much sense that Obama should be sawing off the limb on which he's sitting. Why should he be interested in "bleeding the citizens of this country dry"? What's to be gained for him from this? And "eroding our constitutional freedoms to increase the profits of the top 2%"? Do you think Obama believes he can be reelected with just the support of the top 2% (most of which sure vote GOP)?

Come on, this makes no sense.

[ Parent ]
What Obama is advocating is communism (0.00 / 0)
It's the suppression of the rights of the people, and placing them in bondage to prop up what lines his and his fellow elitists pockets. That is what any Marxist ideology is in aid of, slavery.

Obama doesn't see this as sawing off the limb he's sitting on, he sees this as serving those who will prop him up financially. Just as Bill Clinton and George Bush have. Examine the EU leadership. They have systematically eroded the democratic rights and freedoms of Europeans, and bleed the people dry with never ending taxes and subsidies for themselves.

Congress and that includes the dems (I am a democrat, btw) no longer listen to their constituents. They count on us having no where else to go. Nor would I vote for a green or any other extremist front group/party. They are taking a gamble on our being rendered powerless if they violate their oaths of office and sell us out.

I now believe what was written about Obama, and believe that he has been corrupt and self serving all along.

Instead of your rationalizing corruption, why not open your eyes to the fact that Obama has picked out an administration that proves that he has no intention of honoring his promises, he's planning on sending us to war in Pakistan, get ready for that draft that Charles Rangel has been promising. Rep Alcee Hastings has just submitted legislation that will create 6 detention center/prison camps inside 6 military bases around the country, and the contract is already assigned to KBR (Halliburton subsidiary) despite the fact that the bill hasn't been voted on yet.

[ Parent ]
in the absence of leadership (4.00 / 1)
start leading, Chris.

You've got a soapbox, you can motivate people to do stuff.

Where are the action alerts from you?  From the Great Orange Satan?

Heck, where's MoveOn?

You've complained a lot since the election, but aside from the soapblox meltdown, and Sirota begging people to donate to Geoghegan, there's been little in the way of pushes to get people to affect the process.

We should be pushing an agenda each and every week.  Right now, maybe it's pushing for the most progressive stimulus possible.  Next, it may be pushing for investigations into BushCo, or pushing Obama on Gitmo.

We can't just complain, otherwise the people who call you an "obama hater" have a bit of a point.  

We have some power to affect policy, so lets affect that policy.  We can apply pressure to our elected leaders from the left.  They get plenty of pressure from the right, some pressure (and Support when the do good) from the left can only help.

I wonder why Progressive Democrats of America don't get more mention (4.00 / 1)
They aren't, by and large, afraid to engage Democrats, and tell them clearly what they want. From their web site:

Progressive Democrats of America works both inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our goal: Extend the victory of Nov. 2006 into a permanent, progressive majority.

As for action items which didn't require extensive demands of time or energy, here's a recent one:

Single Payer Moment--TAKE ACTION TODAY
David Swanson, PDA Advisory Board member
January 30, 2009
National Call-In Day for Single Payer--January 30, 2009

Air America and progressive radio talk show host Thom Hartmann, a PDA Advisory Board member, will be helping us get the word out today on HR 676, the United States National Healthcare Act. He's heard live and he will be taking calls (866-303-2270) about single-payer healthcare in the last 2 hours of the show and urging folks to do 2 things:

Call Congressman Clyburn and ask him to whip up support for HR 676:  202-225-2315

Call your member of Congress and ask that they support and co-sponsor HR 676:  202-224-3121 [more]

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[ Parent ]
I should have added (0.00 / 0)
As far as I can tell, the PDA doesn't worry about what Obama wants them to do, but how to get Obama and the rest of the government to do what they want done. They have a clearer vision of what sorts of change are needed than Obama, and aren't as fickle, either.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
Action Alert for Democrats and those to the Left: (4.00 / 1)
Sit down.

Be quiet.

President Obama and his Republican friends will take care of everything.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

Obama doesn't want you to replace Stoller with Sirota (0.00 / 0)
and neither do i.  

It seems Obama only has (0.00 / 0)
...action alerts for Republican activists.

They've already forced him to water down the stimulus bill with useless tax cuts and taken out the family planning provision and the Mass Transit amendment was killed yesterday.

If this goes any longer this stimulus package will be just another giveaway to Wall Street.

MoveOn (0.00 / 0)
For what it's worth, I just received an email from MoveOn directing me to this site:


It's a quick and easy way to write a pro-stimulus letter to the editor and mail it to your local newspaper.


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