Understand Our Role Vis-a-Vis Obama

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 18:56

I get a fair amount of criticism when I point out areas where I disagree with Obama, but I think it's important to recognize that there is a wholly unacknowledged two way conversation going on.  Obama has chosen to go on Dailykos, but the last time he did it was in 2005.  Since then, I think it's fair to say he's done a good number of appearances elsewhere on various forums.  Google News lists 125k stories, which doesn't translate into 125k appearances, though he certainly has done thousands of interviews by now.  Obama has also explicitly said he does not read blogs, and this filters down throughout his campaign.  Moreover, we're explicitly partisan, and he's post-partisan, and we seem to like and support him regardless.

So I take him at his word.  Internet liberals - bloggers, blog readers, Moveon members, etc - are just not a priority for Obama or the campaign.  That's been obvious for a long time, when both Josh Marshall and Markos discussed how little outreach and responsiveness there was coming from Obama's shop.  Now, I'm not whining.  At this point, I've made my peace with this situation, and am working on Congressionally focused areas where there's more leverage and more of a potential impact.

I just don't think we really have a role in this Presidential race anymore.  It doesn't matter what I say or do, it doesn't matter what kinds of comments we put up, what Josh Marshall says, it only matters what Obama and a few key staffers say and think.  And they don't care what we think, they have other channels they care about, including a whole network of grassroots organizers.  Their attitude is probably along the lines of 'well we won without them, they all think they know better than we do, let them run a race for once'.

That's fine, that's their choice.  They've made it, there's not much any of us can do.  Just know that their logistical operations are remarkable, their campaign structure is phenomenal, and we're not a part of it.  

Matt Stoller :: Understand Our Role Vis-a-Vis Obama

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Make him take notice... (0.00 / 0)
I'm an Obama supporter these days, but I think he ignores us at his peril.  How about we force him to take notice?  Say, a coordinated donation delay.  That is, we choose a week and everyone who might have donated then, waits until that week is over.  I bet even a week's pause in the blog-based money stream would make Obama et. al. pay attention real quick.

we're a fraction of the donations. 6 figures would be an overestimate. (4.00 / 1)
Our greatest asset is to smaller candidates without a national reputation. When we can raise 5 figures for Scott Kleeb, that's a big deal. When we can raise the profile of a Donna Edwards in Maryland, that's a big deal.  

[ Parent ]
Show some strength (0.00 / 0)
The best way to do that is with dollars. We're doing it today here.

Help out if you can. Show the SD's the power of people power.

Bigger than us/w (4.00 / 2)
With $1.4M donors and $200+ raised so far, the Obama campaign has taken online orgnaizing to a new level. And yes, they largely did it without the aid of existing online infrastructure. Basically, it is a new, much more powerful online organizing force.

My quesitons these days mostly center on what happens afterward. What happens to the Obama campaign's infrastructure once the campaign is over? Does it just stop? Do its members start new organizations of their own? Do they keep the structure around as a means of communication and passing legislation when he is President?

Those are the questions that interest me with the Obama infrastructure right now.  

They've signed the deal with the DNC (0.00 / 0)
to do joint fund raising and provide their technological platform. The fellowship that Obama has started is meant to go beyond electoral politics whether he's the nominee or not and create a new generation of organizing soldiers for progressive ideals.

I think it's a no-brainer that the infrastructure is here to stay and will only get better and more streamlined.

[ Parent ]
Did they literally sign a deal (0.00 / 0)
with the DNC?

[ Parent ]
My question is (0.00 / 0)
who do you think this Obama online organizing force is? Is it just a bunch of state and county and cite based independent operators? Is their any coordination between 'them'?

Or is it possible that Obama just has a strong ground game and the online structure as you call it is not a structure at all? After all one does not have to be a blog head activist to contribute online. Just because Obama has raised a bunch of money online does not mean there is any organization in place when all people have to do is go to his website to contribute.

Clinton has raised a bunch online also and I don't think anyone thinks she has some online organizing force that is going to morph into new organizations.

Maybe I'm in the dark but I don't think there is any Obama online structure other than say regional organizers who are mostly into the ground game and not into being bundlers or ActBlue's.

Obama.com is all you need for people to know where to go to contribute.

[ Parent ]
Compare (0.00 / 0)
Why don't you go compare the number of people who have donated and the average donation amount for the three campaigns and report back to us?

[ Parent ]
What does that (0.00 / 0)
have to do with my post and the questions I asked? Nothing.

[ Parent ]
You hate Obama (0.00 / 0)
We got it.

[ Parent ]
You didn't understand Bowers' Post (0.00 / 0)
and therefore didn't understand mine. I got it.

[ Parent ]
The campaign has a new media department (4.00 / 2)
With lots of organizers working on it. They also have tons of excellent online tolls that help people get involved.

Yes, it is organizing. It isn't just people going to the site and giving money.  

[ Parent ]
Sounds a lot like (0.00 / 0)
the Dean campaign. Dean blazed a trail which was bound to grow. But from the looks of your description it appears that inside employees are the hub and the spokes are still independent operators using tools.

My question still is if the spokes have the ability to unite on a activist level or will they fade come November?

The other question is if these apparently independent operators have much to do with raising money on a 'direct' basis or is their sole affect on the money getting people to support Obama and then those people go to the website on their own to contribute. There is a big difference between someone who actively solicits money and bundles it versus someone who just gets the word out. Once the campaign is over getting the word out when the candidate is no longer running is not worth much. But if they were actively soliciting money and bundling it then they have something of continued value that can be used with other campaigns.

Those questions go to the heart of what you posted initially and remain unanswered.

[ Parent ]
Good points (4.00 / 1)
I was going to compose a reply to Stoller along those lines - he's absolutely wrong to say that he doesn't think he needs us. What he doesn't need is Matt Stoller and Markos Moulitsas and Chris Bowers.

Obama realized that he could bypass you and go straight to the readers and users of the site - ignore the establishment and head straight to the rank and file. As Stoller should know, MANY of the readers of this site and of Daily Kos are involved in the Obama movement. He hasn't ignored them at all.

What he did instead is used the internet to get to them in a different way. Stoller wanted to use a site like Open Left to produce a new Democratic politics, but has now discovered that two can play that game - Obama found that the internet allowed him to build his own online base.

So folks like us are very much a priority to the Obama campaign. Just not in the way Stoller wanted. And I think he needs to come to grips with that fact. He got bypassed. Turnabout is fair play.

As to Obama's infrastructure, that's the core question of the hour. Will it survive his possible primary defeat? (He now has no better than a 50% of receiving the nomination.) Would it persist during his presidency? Obama is a charismatic enough figure to suggest it would, but we should also ask whether a candidate-centric netroots model is the best for our movement.

[ Parent ]
nope (4.00 / 3)
You don't matter to the Obama campaign.  At all.  He doesn't spend time on the forums you do.  He doesn't fight your fights.  He didn't even vote to defend Moveon, and thinks nothing of lying about going on Fox News.  He is just a media icon, and he explicitly says he doesn't read your medium.  He has bypassed all of us.

You are free to join his structure, I have.  But we are simply peons and mostly irrelevant to his campaign.

[ Parent ]
You're both right (4.00 / 1)
Robert in Monteray is correct (and this is the first time I've seen the point, so kudos), that the Obama campaign effectively crashed the gates in reverse, bypassing existing leaders -- gatekeepers -- in the netroots community and taken their members.

Stoller is correct that he doesn't care about what any of us think beyond the degree necessary for our cash and votes. I too am on board, but I don't feel very good about it.

Me | My Work | Future Majority

[ Parent ]
Right (4.00 / 1)
It's probably true that "he doesn't care what any of us think beyond the degree necessary for our cash and votes" - I just don't see what we've done to force him to change that belief. If we want his attention and want him to listen we need to take action that will produce that result. You can't just demand it.

[ Parent ]
This is true (0.00 / 0)
But the point is it's impossible. The obama campaign made a power-play against a lot of existing netroots activists and won.

Me | My Work | Future Majority

[ Parent ]
How are you defining this? (4.00 / 1)
I am not blind to Obama or his campaign. I think most of us progressives who embraced his candidacy understood quite well that we weren't getting one of us - we were supporting someone with some very different ideas about some aspects of politics than we hold, someone who we knew would not always be on our side. We embraced him because he was the best choice of the remaining pair, because he was a map-changer and a game-changer, and for some, because he was the best avenue for progressive political development.

I don't care that he went on Fox News, I think it's a far overblown issue that has distracted us from the much more important ways the media is wrecking this campaign. And as I said over at dKos on Sunday anyone who had paid attention to Obama's approach to politics should have expected he'd go on Fox.

But more fundamental to this is the way you're defining yourself as the blogosphere, or that our movement is coterminous with the blogs. It isn't. The movement was an attempt to democratize and progressivize the Democratic Party. It got its fullest articulation on the blogs but this is not a movement about the blogosphere. I know full well Obama doesn't like the blogs and so I did not embrace his candidacy with any expectation that he would. And he's discovered that he too can tap into that netroots progressivism by building his own online presence. He showed that two can play the online mobilization game.

For many progressives the blogosphere is just one aspect of their engagement to politics and what you seem to be missing is how Obama has played to the other aspects - offline activism, inspirational framing and ideas, providing a grassroots infrastructure. All of that matters a great deal to the Obama campaign - they are simply defining their subject differently than you have.

I understand you're upset at being bypassed, at being effectively told you don't matter. But looked at from Obama's perspective...do you really matter? He's a politician, and like all politicians, they listen to the people they feel they cannot afford to ignore. You offer him nothing that he hasn't already built and attracted on his own (outreach to netroots activists). So he owes you nothing and sees no point in coming here. It's not an attack on those who read Daily Kos and Open Left, because he has given them a central role elsewhere.

If you want Obama to come here and pay attention to you, you need to make yourself matter to him. Right now you and this site and Daily Kos simply do not matter. (The readers matter and as I've said he found other ways to reach them.) As with any politician that attention has to be earned. A protest built around the ABC News debate might have helped, or some other method to mobilize what we have on the blogs to try and do something about a media that is trying to give the Republicans a third presidential election in a row.

Otherwise why should he bother? I'd love it if he showed up here or at Daily Kos. It would be great and he ought to do it. But I don't expect it and never did. And I'm OK with that.

[ Parent ]
Fear, Loathing, Using, Loving (4.00 / 1)
Politicians do not just pay attention to those they fear and loathe or those they are trying to manipulate to do something - at least that's what I thought was part of Obama's message.  They work with those they like.

Obama doesn't care about building a progressive movement - something that if it will happen, will require a robust progressive blogosphere.  He cares about an 8-year Obama movement (to the extent that a movement is centered around a person).  

Let me tell you about why this is an error on Obama's part.  There are lots of people that are the swing activist types, as I believe Chris Bowers has written about.  I am probably not going to get out and work for Obama, and I know a lot of people who aren't either - because he's not really much of a progressive.  This lack of blogosphere presence is just another example of that.  Being a progressive is not just one's politics, but also how one practices the mechanics of politics.

I have no illusions about how important I am.  But I am a good organizer, a good activist, and a party leader in my area.  There are surely many more like me, in my area and around the country.  That someone experiences success or failure does not imply a causality with what they have or have not done.  That Obama has been successful in many ways without us does not mean that we are not important - it means just what it does - that Obama has not worked with or for us and our politics.  But it doesn't mean that it'll work in the fall or in the long-term.

That's why as a committed progressive, I'm just as OK with a corporatist like Hillary Clinton as I am with Obama.  I don't like either particularly all that well (I was a major Edwards supporter and organizer).  Neither is just that much of a movement progressive in any way.

[ Parent ]
Agree and disagree (4.00 / 2)
Obama is not out to build a progressive movement - he's out to win an election. But it does not follow that he is out to undermine a progressive movement. He's not yet actually done anything to "throw us under the bus." And no, going on Fox News doesn't count. He continues to run a campaign that encourages grassroots mobilization. Spending millions on a 50-state voter mobilization strategy is going to have huge dividends for progressives downticket.

Similarly, it doesn't follow that because he's not a movement progressive (I agree with that point), that he's no different from Hillary. Hillary has done massive damage to the progressive movement through her use of the Nixon-Atwater-Rove strategy of swiftboating the left. She's been Sister Souljahing us for months now, yet we whine when Obama does one thing we dislike (go on Fox)?

Obama might not stand in the way of a progressive movement, but Hillary most certainly would. Who here really believes that bringing all her DLC pals back into the top party offices is good for progressives? Obama is much less likely to stack the party offices with anti-progressive folks.

Finally, you say that a progressive movement requires a robust blogosphere. Until January 2008 I probably would have agreed with that statement. But now I am much less certain. What Obama showed is that anyone can play our game. There's no need for the progressive movement to be mediated through a blogosphere at all. It developed that way due to historical circumstances, but we are learning (to Stoller's horror) that the progressive movement and the blogosphere are not coterminous, and can be separated.

This should force a rethinking of what the blogs are and what their role is in the progressive movement. We've had some successes, but overall remain unable to accomplish the changing of the political game that we have long desired. We don't have a monopoly on the online activism of progressives, and we should probably accept that and react accordingly instead of giving into our frustrations.

[ Parent ]
why bother indeed (4.00 / 1)
when the reward is a rolling stream of petty attacks that have absolutely zero bearing on his ability to win the White House.

I love the mission of Openleft and until this week, which I'm just going to dismiss as an off week, the general subject matter and discourse is far and above DKos which as I said earlier this week has not maintained its value in reading, but there is nothing here for Obama that he hasn't won on his own.

For some reason a practical perspective on what a Dem candidate needs to do to win the White House seems to be completely lost on Obama critics here. Obama and his aids need to spend his time elsewhere, not posting feel good shout outs on the sites self defining themselves as the "netroots". Maybe this will finally end the notion of the netroots which I always thought was overly self congratulating anyway; as if the proprietors of websites could take credit for their readership as some homogeneous collective. We are not.

Love blogs, I run one, love grassroots media, but you can't complain and whine about your influence just because you are not effective enough in getting people to listen to you. The onus is on those wanting power to take it. And I for one am not interesting in participating in any negative demonstrations or protests of the best candidate we've got right now (not to mention a monumental historic achievement) while that candidate is in some peril.

But somehow however I suspect we've not heard the last of this.

In other news Hillary got in a dig on Obama during O'Reilly - now that's actually being shitty (again). Quite a difference from Obama who did not spend his time on Fox poking in Hillary's wounds. I'd like someone to finally ask Hillary, next time she says she would have distanced herself from someone destructive like Wright why she didn't distance herself from Bill when he repeated was personally disrespectful to her betrayed her trust. What kind of judgement does that reflect on her? Turn about is fair play and it seems to me like she has it coming.

Matt and Chris if you are serious about taking out Hillary one thing the "netroots" could do is start working on pushing story memes. This is something progressive blogs have been good at doing - pushing stories onto TV and into the papers. Thus far we've been pretty anemic at doing this to support Obama and end Hillary's campaign (outside of the delegate count stuff which you have done a great job at!). This is something practical that we could do and it might even win you some of the attention you want from Obama.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
once he gets nomination (0.00 / 0)
he will use his online community to register huge numbers of new voters in 50 states. (even in red states). he is already interviewing organizers.

he will use his online community to finance a general campaign.

then he will coordinate lists and fund raising with dnc; and with local dem parties; and local candidates.

he will work to bring in as many hrc donors/supporters as possible.

essentially, he will lead the democratic party, controlling the names and info of the biggest group of dem activists in history.

pretty cool.

[ Parent ]
And then... (0.00 / 0)
"Clean Coal!"

But seriously, I understand the organizing plan. It's clear and it's working. That's cool. What are they gonna do with it though? If they win. That's the question.

Me | My Work | Future Majority

[ Parent ]
President of all the people not just dems... (0.00 / 0)
I am not the expert, but he can't run a political party out of the White House, right? That's what is DNC is for. Dean will be replaced by an Obamamaniac who will coordinate fund raising, organizing  and political work. I wouldn't be surprised if the Obama machine isn't used as a vehicle to bring people together in non-voting policy-related activities.

But the voter registration and party building, state by state has such huge potential to reshape and reconnect the dem party going forward.

[ Parent ]
Right (0.00 / 0)
So what will he do as president. That's the question. There's no dialogue about this beyond some policy papers.  

Me | My Work | Future Majority

[ Parent ]
They are going to (0.00 / 0)
Slash taxes for the Corporate elite that they are secretly in cahoots with, terminate social security and see the name to a wet blanket manufacturer, pave Yellowstone and build condos and call it affordable housing, ship all our children to China so that they can work in coal mines, and they will turn the internet off because they hate reading websites.

duh. what else would a lying right wing talking points echoing centrist sell out FoxNews lover who won't post comments on DailyKos do?

I really think its about time we get a grip. Obama is going to be a lot better than anything we've seen in 24 years. He's going to continue to help revolutionize citizen participation in politics and his blackness alone will change the perspectives of thousands of Americans black and white which set the tone for a whole new age of race relations in America. He will not be perfect. And there are going to be dozens and dozens of times when he does things progressives will not like. And progressives should continue their fights through it all. But if you want to have an influence on Obama help him get elected. Unless you prefer the alternatives. In which case, help them get elected.  

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Snizark (0.00 / 0)
Glad to see you have the secret agenda decoder ring too. ;)

My concern is that all this "citizen participation" stuff is rather weak beer. Their campaign is certainly savvy, but it's mostly been about centralizing power and refraining from staking claims, etc.

My point is we have no real idea where the priorities are at or how he intends to operate. Clinton (Bill) redux is my fear, because even though I know we all miss those days, I think we all also want something quite a bit more/better, and a "follow the leader" mentality doesn't quite seem to be the way to get it.

Me | My Work | Future Majority

[ Parent ]
Someone asked a similar question today (4.00 / 3)
Someone asked Obama a similar question during a townhall meeting today.

Here is his answer. It's a bit lengthy but it touches on some of the points we are talking about.

[ Parent ]
With all due respect, Matt, I disagree greatly. (4.00 / 1)

There are SO many other reasons Obama hasn't solicited the support of the "known blogosphere" since 2005 besides the possibility that he is not concerned about us.

First of all, there is a great deal of overlap between this place, Kos, and other blogosphere venues, and Obama's organization.  From volunteers to Field Organizers to higher up, there is involvement and overlap.  Right now, in politics, the blogosphere is not where the netroots' focus is: that focus is in the Obama campaign.  That's a GREAT thing and you guys should not feel left out because of it.

Secondly, take a look around the blogosphere.  During this primary it has become a toxic environment.  There is too much nonsense, too much politicking, too much conflict.  We have not figured out a good way to deal with these interparty squabbles.  Once the dust settles there will be a lot of mirror-looking for us to do, on all sides.  I don't blame Barack one iota for wanting to steer clear of it.  If there's one reason we have lost some influence over the past 6 months, it's that our venue has gone from a world-class, pioneering dialogue to the uncomfortable dinner table of a dysfunctional family.

Finally, the man is running on a platform of unprecedented openness and use of technology.  We will be the most empowered citizens in an Obama administration: we know how to use information, we know what questions to ask, and we know how to have an effective dialogue.  We have a lot of getting better to do, as well, and Obama's information policies will help us to do that, and to make an even more constructive contribution to our governance.  Beyond framing, beyond finding push points and pushing, we need to become a policy thinktank, and Obama will give us the tools we need to do so.  Ultimately this shift will be huge and also will respond to many of Obama's direct criticisms of these communities, as overly focused on rhetoric and not making enough of a solid contribution -- criticisms I tend to agree with.

Anyway, that's what I think.

2005 dude (4.00 / 1)
Secondly, take a look around the blogosphere.  During this primary it has become a toxic environment.

He posted on DailyKos in 2005 and not since.  The toxic campaign heat didn't get going until mid to late 2007.

Whatever his reasons for staying away, the squabbling isn't it.

[ Parent ]
Another point that isn't made is (0.00 / 0)
that the last time he came to DKos was to explain his colleagues intentions (even though he himself didn't agree with them) and have a conversation with people.

He was ripped on and pummeled. Their was no conversation. Just people yelling at him. It would be frustrating if you don't have all day to sift through the bad comments to find the few honest reasonable ones.

He doesn't have the luxery to fire off a snarky post to rebut all his detractors as Bowers or Kos do.

[ Parent ]
aoei (4.00 / 1)
He's not a national 24/7 media megaphone.  I think he's got the edge on Bowers and Kos in terms of having the last word.

People yelled at him because he was wrong.  Roberts was a terrible nominee and the Democrats voting for him don't have a principled leg to stand on.  Lots of other Dems have managed to post, survive and even thrive on DailyKos and other blogs.  What helps is when they appear saying defensible things.

I'm proud that the netroots generally doesn't bow and scrape when elected political servants (which is how we should see them) stop by.  

[ Parent ]
The man put serious effort into his post, and made it himself. (0.00 / 0)
That post was worth 10 aide-written Kennedy posts.

Like someone else said, he was ripped for it.

Only in retrospect have Kossacks and other blogospherians really given his post its due.  We were quick to criticize and slow to listen -- exactly what Obama was cautioning us against in his post.

Getting too worked up about this is really quite silly for the same reasons, in my opinion.  We should not think of him as an opposition figure.  He is with us in almost every sense beyond slavishly agreeing with us.

[ Parent ]
in retrospect confirming justice Roberts was a good idea? (0.00 / 0)
We're not asking Obama to slavishly agree with us. But far too often, he's willing to bow to conventional wisdom that's been manufactured over the last 30 years.

That's not a failure of Obama. That's a failure of the movement. Our candidates run in the environment that we create. Obama is running a good campaign, and he'll be a great president. We can't really ask for much more in 2008.

But Obama is NOT above criticism. I support him. I'll work hard to make sure he beats McCain. But I'm not gonna be one of those people who "slavishly" supports his bad decisions, like going on FOX, like putting together a second-rate health care policy, like working along side Donnie McClurkin.

[ Parent ]
nod (0.00 / 0)
danthrax, I agree, we should all maintain a mutual respect that allows for disagreement and dialogue.  I wish I could say that the b'sphere has held fast to that principle in all aspects this cycle, but it unfortunately has not.  That's the work we've got to do.

[ Parent ]
you're right - BUT response was way too vitriolic (0.00 / 0)
I agree with you about some of the decisions Obama has made that were bad decisions. But I think he was absolutely right to stop posting on Daily Kos (even though it is still one of my favorite websites). I remember reading the response to Obama's post and it was way too vitriolic. Criticism yes, but unfortunately criticism on many websites including Daily Kos is often quite disrespectful, filled with name-calling and black-and-white denunciations. I don't have any solution for that but I think Obama was wise to not continue dealing with that.

[ Parent ]
I'll be the first to admit that ALL websites are filled with demonization (4.00 / 1)
and black and white moralistic bullshit.

I don't think that's unique to DailyKos though. Still, I can't blame anyone who wants no part of it.

That's a minor point though. Really, I'm more upset at the same black and white moralistic bullshit that's applied to Obama himself. The people who defend every boneheaded thing that he does. Which, I freely admit, I could probably count on one hand -- two hands with a higher standard.

[ Parent ]
A US Senator (0.00 / 0)
Obama is a US Senator with lots of power over the decision as to whether Roberts should be on the Supreme Court.

Daily Kos commenters have no comparable power, especially as individuals.

Obama was defending others with euqal levels of power to his own.

And our presonse is that the powerless peons should be nicer to those with huge power? Really? Really really?

[ Parent ]
seriously not trying to be a nag (0.00 / 0)
Chris, it's called "good faith".  It's a crucial ingredient to having a working relationship with someone.  Sometimes you guys seem so unfamiliar with the concept that it makes one question the validity of your threat radar across party lines as well -- you can't stay in your seats when talking to people on the same team as you.

[ Parent ]
Obama didn't become (0.00 / 1)
a blog favorite until Edwards dropped out in late January. Before that he had no significant support in the blogosphere. He was not a first choice. He was 'who do we have on the bench' when Edwards quit.

And honestly when people jumped on his bandwagon most didn't even know who he was as far as his campaign theme. All they knew was he was not Clinton. Now that people are finding out who he is and how he is a "post-partisan" politician and not a real progressive there is a lot of hand wringing and buyers remorse going on as evidenced on the blogs including this one.

To add insult to injury people are seeing Obama self-implode late in the game as his inexperience comes out and shows what a weak General candidate he will be and how totally susceptible he is to the RW Noise Machine.

Obama is a four month wonder boy who shot to stardom on the Left's real candidate dropping out & favorable press coverage for four months. Now that the honeymoon is over he is getting swifboated on his own words and actions and he has no response. For him a response is a speech and that isn't cutting it.

Think about this: With Kerry at least the RW had to make up lies. With Obama they take his own words and actions and affiliations and judgments and go to town. And of course the lies and the slurs will soon follow. He's fresh meat to mold anyway they want to - unlike Clinton who they still cannot put down and much to their chagrin she knows how to fight back. There is no swiftboating Clinton and the Supers better pay attention to that given that their main charge is to make sure we nominate the person with the best chance to keep McCain out of the WH.

[ Parent ]
Consistency (0.00 / 0)
You spew a lot of ridiculous crap about Obama.

Senator Clinton has had very high negatives since before the campaign started. She's been consistent in keeping those high.  People think she doesn't tell the truth. They think that because she doesn't.

[ Parent ]
Which is why (0.00 / 0)
she is even in the national polls, actually ahead in some, and is gaining in North Carolina. They vote for her because she lies.

Of course Obama doesn't lie. He thinks the Gas Tax Holiday is terrible even though he voted for and help got passed a Gas Tax Holiday in Illinois when in the State senate. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth.


[ Parent ]
Yes, that's correct (4.00 / 5)
According to his campaign, part of why Obama opposes a gas tax holiday was that he previously supported one while an Illinois state senator, and it didn't work very well.

What's the use of experience if you don't learn from it?

[ Parent ]
not accurate (4.00 / 2)
Go back to Dec 2006 and you'll see Obama tied with Edwards for netroots support.  He was always a solid second until Edwards dropped out.

He was a popular netroots figure.  Not the most, I agree, but his 2004 DNC speech and senate victory were well appreciated.

[ Parent ]
Yeah and in (0.00 / 0)
September 2007 he dropped 7 points compared to your date, compared to Clinton's 6 point rise in the same time period.

In addition in September 2007 he was at almost half of Edwards' support.

So yeah he was a second choice when the race really started.

[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 1)
I still contend that makes the original assertion not accurate.  Obama was always popular in the netroots.  Second place is not chopped liver.  

[ Parent ]
Well I said: (0.00 / 0)
"He was not a first choice".

He wasn't so I will stand by what I said originally. And the polls bare out what I stated in my second post which is his support actually faded until Edwards dropped out. Sorry but that is just fact.

[ Parent ]
Well I'm doing my part (4.00 / 1)
and it doesn't require a damn thing from the Obama camp.

I've started a blog called "Old Man McCain", which basically highlights all the reasons McCain would be a terrible president.

Now if someone types "old man mccain" into Google, my site is the second hit to come up. I'd love for it to come up when someone types in "old mccain", but that's a much tougher prospect.

Still, there is plenty the blogosphere can do without any coordination with the Obama camp.

The fight goes on (4.00 / 1)
As you know, we'll need to keep fighting regardless of how much influence we have. When Obama is going against us, I want him to know it!

One upcoming pivotal moment will be the choice of Vice President. Once the nomination is won, I'd like to see the big blogs (DKos, FDL, OpenLeft, etc.) do polling to see who the blogosphere wants as VP.

well ... (0.00 / 0)
I just don't think we really have a role in this Presidential race anymore.  It doesn't matter what I say or do, it doesn't matter what kinds of comments we put up, what Josh Marshall says, it only matters what Obama and a few key staffers say and think.
What about on FISA or telco immunity issues?  Their tech platform?  On his staying out of Wynn/Edwards?  I think y'all have made a difference.

difference (0.00 / 0)
Yes, for progressive issues, we've made a difference, but for the Obama campaign, not so much.  And it's 'we', Adam, not 'you'.

[ Parent ]
Except ... (4.00 / 2)
I was referring to the influence of netroots leaders on the Obama campaign, and you did help steer him into a more public role on telco immunity.  Remember: he was persuaded to return to DC when Clinton wasn't.  

On "we/you", I am not you, or Chris, or Jane, or Markos, or even the next tier below you when it comes to the ability to influence political life through blogging.  And in particular, I wasn't that involved in the issues I listed, which is why I wouldn't want to take credit for the movement's success on them.

[ Parent ]
The telco thing (0.00 / 0)
was huge. As I recall, that mostly happened before he got the moveon and actblue endorsements. Maybe there's a lesson there somewhere.


[ Parent ]
Obama reads blogs (4.00 / 1)
I guarantee you he reads blogs. Candidates always read blogs. It's just too hard to resist.

I actually remember a story from back last fall when Obama wasn't doing so well and his campaign said he obsessed over the daily back and forth on blogs too much...trying to locate the article...

I would be very interested in reading that article (0.00 / 0)
Let us know when you find it!

[ Parent ]
I think Congress is the best angle anyway (4.00 / 1)
It's the lesser known battles that we have more opportunity to influence.  

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

Heaven help me... (0.00 / 0)
I hope you Obama supporters are right, but I'm afraid my inner cynic tells me otherwise.  Once in office, I fear that Obama will follow the same path they all do.  The fact that he has ignored the progressive blogosphere during his campaign, is not a good sign, no matter how you try to spin it.

I am guilty of being a Deaniac (proudly so), but that's because Dean's message was always about OUR power and the work we had to do to rebuild our party.  It was never about Howard Dean.  The greater message of taking back power was that the values and principles of the Democratic Party were the most important thing.  When I see Obama's campaign in action, they are not about building anything beyond support for Obama.  I might be convinced of their greater goals if I saw all of these new supporters show up to work for our local candidates.  Very few do.  I guess that's why I haven't jumped on the Obama bandwagon.  I have seen and admire the Obama ground game, but I fear it's a fleeting thing, and that doesn't bode well for long term growth of our party.    

Dean comparison (0.00 / 0)
Obama seems to have fully embraced the 50-state strategy. And his slogan is "yes we can." He seems to walk the walk when it comes to people power. He just has a much wider view of "people" beyond the left blogosphere.


[ Parent ]
CSPAN (4.00 / 3)
Obama was speaking the other day at some rally and he was doing is i-hate-dems-post-partisan speech (snark) and he was talking about why it was important to have all the voices heard. he said he thought his idea about what to do about Health Care is a good one, but in the process people should have their say, and then he said "and it should all be on CSPAN so that those in Washington vote against what is best for the American people, who vote with the insurance companies, you all can see who it was and who they were really fighting for." thats a paraphrase - but how much more can one really hope for from a presidential candidate...someone running on recurrent citizen participation. It's moments like that that make me very enthusiastic about Obama.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
From my vantage point (0.00 / 0)
the Obama support doesn't go much beyond Obama.  The leaders of his volunteer organization in my area attempt to get supporters to move beyond Obama, and come out to support our other candidates, but there isn't much willingness to do that.  To me, that's because the values and principles of the party aren't the focus of the movement, Obama is.  I hear about all of the Republicans coming onboard to support Obama, which may work fine for one election cycle, but it doesn't necessarily mean long-term growth and strength for our party.

[ Parent ]
Obama is our envoy (0.00 / 0)
Our wolf in sheep's clothing if you will.

Sadly, Matt needs to recognize that the liberal blogs don't have the numbers to deliver an Obama victory.  Therefore, he has to spend his time courting other constituencies. We should be applauding and supporting his efforts, not whining for attention. Obama isn't the nominee or President yet. At those times, I fully expect all of us to hold his feet to the fire.  But right now, Hillary will exploit any crack in his coalition.

Obama is our envoy (4.00 / 1)
I really hate to say it, and I will probably get banned, but the: he won us and now he doesn't pay attention to us and making excuses for it . . . well it kind of sounds like well . . . what happens with cults.  I mean that sincerely.  "The leader is working for us, but now he has other important things to do."  This is like a part of every crappy TV-movie or docudrama about cults that I've ever seen.  This is so much because Obama's campaign is about HIM and not about US or the PEOPLE.  You realize he is still in the Senate, don't you?  He could be proposing solutions to all the economic crap RIGHT NOW.  He just keeps campaigning.  However stupid the gas tax holiday is (although I'm all for windfall-profits taxes on the oil companies), at least Clinton is proposing solutions like a Senator should.  

[ Parent ]
I disagree (0.00 / 0)
I think that Obama's core message is that Washington doesn't work and the current political climate needs to change, and audaciously, he is the only one to change it. On the U.S. senator thing....he is an Illinois senator, and whether he ends up president or ends up back in the senate, he will be one of the most powerful senators for years to come. Basically, he is jumping the seniority hierarchy by 3-4 terms because of his following.  So if I was from Illinois, I would be proud my senator just became more powerful and my values as a citizen of said state would have more weight in Washington.

He could propose all manners of solutions, but they would never become law because The Right won't give the top of the democratic ticket any moral victories going into November....hence, why Washington needs to change in the first place and why Obama is leading the Democratic nomination in a democratic year.

Explain to me what needs we need met right now? None. He doesn't need to talk about our issues.  He needs to get elected to do something about our issues.  That is the priority.

[ Parent ]
youre kidding right? (0.00 / 0)
he has a laundry list of policy ideas and proposals, there is a death match going on in Indiana, and you want him to go back to the senate and propose and fight for his legislation there? when he'll have four years to implement a heck of a lot more if he wins. you're suggestion has a very poor cost-benefit ratio.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Obama Blog (4.00 / 1)
I've never hung out at the Obama Blog, but it looks fairly substantial, including the ability to create your own page, blog, and so one.  Comments are on, etc.  I don't really remember, but did Dean ever do much during his campaign beyond his own blog?  I seem to remember lots of activity on Dean's site, but the rest just linked to it.  Same with Wes Clark.

My guess is those that participate on the official Obama blog feel much more connected than the rest of us do.

The blogoshpere is not part of the campaign. (4.00 / 2)
It is just the nature of the beast. The blogoshpere and the campaign have different objectives. There can and should be an alliance between the two at this stage of the campaign. But it really is like herding cats.

First, the blogoshpere is not homogenous. Some blogs are very much on board and on massage even without distributed talking points. Some (like this one) provide some support and some harsh criticisim. Others are downright hostile. It is an editorial decision. It is up to you to decide how you approach the campaign.

Second, the campaign must be focused and stay on message. If you want to be part of the campaign then you should act like you are part of the campaign. The constant handwringing, the sky is falling attitude is not very helpful (I am not talking about OL here specifically).

Crying foul about Obama going on FOX, completely missing the dynamics of one the most important campaign events and criticising him for a decision that probably saved his campaign (talking about Wright), and pushing a story that basically says Obama is lazy, well, these actions are not exactly the actions of an ally (now I am talking about OL). And this is on a blog that endorsed him.

After the campaign is over, the blogs can go back to being blogs. They can push for a progressive agenda, keep politicians' feet to the fire, get more and better dems elected and work on all the great projects you guys are working on.

The separation's less than you think (4.00 / 2)
There are so many Obama supporters and organizers who blog regularly on all the major blogs that I don't see how you can say there's a clear separation.

Obama's grass roots organization is infiltrated with bloggers and the blogosphere is infiltrated with Obama's grass roots organization.

True, Obama doesn't talk through the blogs. But his supporters do, because many of them are of the blogs.

Sounds Like (0.00 / 0)
I'll eat some worms and then I'll die, and you'll be sorry that you picked on me.

What's the connection to this and "take out Hilary"? (0.00 / 0)
After all you've done to become a stabilizing, insightful "blog-force" over the last years, what's up? Yesterday you wanted the blogosphere to take out Hilary, today you declare that they/we have no role in the race.

It's a slog, it's a long slog that's benefited from the labors of Rabbi Bakunin, Dorothy Day, David Dellinger, Noam Chomsky, Michael (I suppose) Moore and you -- to name the tiniest subset of contributors. The wins are minute, the losses are catastrophic, the key is to have many more wins than losses.

Blessings. Your work is good, your outlook is deteriorating. Maybe it's time for a nap.

ha! (0.00 / 0)
No, I didn't want the blogosphere to take out Hillary.  We don't have the capacity to do that, only SEIU or Moveon or a group of Obama donors could do it.  But they won't.  Regardless our role is over.

[ Parent ]
Did we ever (0.00 / 0)
have any influence? If so, when did that change and why?


[ Parent ]
Obama needs a better Communications team (0.00 / 0)
David Alexrod is a very smart campaigner and I am sure he reads the blogs.  Obama has built a great grassroots campaign, but he has a very imperfect media team.  There is nobody who represents him on television who is strong, knowledgeable about his past voting records and can also speak directly to the issues.  Instead, they talk about his message of changing the way we do business and bringing us together.  

While people are hurting economically, they need to hear about bread and butter issues.  Obama needs to see more people, have more direct voter feedback.  The internet is great, but we have not amassed its power to point out to Barack how much he still needs to do in order to win the nomination.

Anyone running as a Progressive will lose the election.  The general pubic does not even know what a progressive politician is.  They recognize the labels Democrat/Republican and  Independent.  They vote their fears and support whatever the MSM says is important to them.  Since over 90 million Americans can't read or write, we should not be surprised nor dismayed that they get their news only from television. It gives us a chance to help to change this dynamic through education and outreach.

We need our own cable channel for our ideas, as well as the funds to compete head to head with the plutocrats on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc. we can collect opinions from our readers and send the feedback directly to Axelrod and Obama.  
I don't agree that we have no influence or say.  Of course we do, it just does not come back in the same form as we got from Donna Edwards.  Let's do for Obama what we did for Donna.  It would surely get his attention.

Know what, Im not done with this lunacy (0.00 / 0)
So reading the Politico, here is what people who want to have an influence do:

"Rep. Ben Chandler endorsed [Obama] yesterday, which got the phones ringing.

Denis Fleming, Chandler's chief of staff, said that the congressman's offices in Lexington and Washington had received about 300 phone calls opposing his decision -- and only five in favor -- by about 2:30 p.m. yesterday."...

"I reported earlier that Rep. Ben Chandler was taking flak for backing Obama; Obama backers noticed too, and apparently helped him raise more than $5,000 on ActBlue today."

It's now up to $15,000. I bet Obama's people noticed that.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

Yet still they swoon! (0.00 / 0)
Why should Obama pay any attention to people like Marshall or Kos? They're so far down in the tank for him that they can't climb out without looking ridiculous.  

Besides, their readers would come after them with pitchforks.

Obama, the Apple of Politics (0.00 / 0)
He's running a closed-source, proprietary campaign. OpenLeft is all about open source politics. Oil and water.


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