Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My hopes

After John Edwards bowed out (and in retrospect, wasn't that a bullet dodged), I was leaning towards Obama over Hillary Clinton. It was his organization that sealed the deal for me. Like the post says, it's "an organization like nothing I've seen before." The Obama campaign has trained thousands upon thousands of people on how to run a political campaign. It has networked self-contained groups of skilled volunteers. It has created the sense of community and urgency that is required to move a campaign forward.

Those of us working to elect Obama share a lot of the same values, and on Nov. 5, a potent political machine is going to wake up, probably hungover, with nothing to do. People have been given the tools - I'm excited to see what we can build with them.

[updated]: Great minds, yadda yadda yadda.


ss said...

"Those of us working to elect Obama share a lot of the same values, and on Nov. 5, a potent political machine is going to wake up, probably hungover, with nothing to do."

How about working on a second hangover?

dave3544 said...

Nothing to do?

How 'bout we get working to pass EFCA?

wobblie said...

Oi - we're being awful literal today, aren't we?

My point was that all these thousands of people have been given a powerful skill set for the purpose of helping to elect Obama. On Nov. 5, that immediate task will end - these networks will, for the moment, have nothing to do because they'll need to be reoriented to some other task - EFCA, global warming, more parks in the neighborhood... whatever. But the essential point is that the unifying reason for the existence of these networks will be gone, and into the vacuum will hopefully come other worthwhile projects that these networks can pursue.

Incidentally, I can always be organized into a second hangover.

lex dexter said...

i'm glad to see dave's starting to see the light on EFCA.o

wobs, Obama has to organize the country into a Left Turn as soon as he gets into office...he needs to start handing out social services and jobs and establish a relationship with the working class that is unfuckwithable and inaugurates a new mandate that can scream down the budget hawks and other miscellaneous pieces of dogshit who will be handing out orgasms to the right-wing base, and getting better at it as they go.

otherwise we're fucked, and Newt Gingrich will be the preznit of the United States on the day I turn 35.

wobblie said...

Gotta disagree, lips. Obama doesn't need to organize shit. WE need to organize the country into a Left Turn. And again, that's why I'm ultimately hopeful about what's going on - the Obama campaign has imparted organizing skills to folks who aren't in the professional organizer set. We now have a much larger capacity to be able to organize that Left Turn, and to organize it in a way that's response to local conditions.

lex dexter said...

i think obama needs to "organize" the country by speaking to them directly a la les Fireside Chats. obviously the Left Turn needs to be driven by progressive forces within the (civil) society?.

as for "the Obama campaign has imparted organizing skills to folks who aren't in the professional organizer set..." is GOTV synonymous with "organizing skills?" i'm assuming you know something i don't about the breadth and depth of BHO's organizing fellowships. what, besides the much-appreciated "we're all in this together"/"change comes from the bottom up" FRAMES (and sheer numbers), distinguishes his campaign from other active interest groups out there making "change" in the world?

obviously, the "sheer numbers" thing isn't anything to scoff at. nobody's saying this ain't a world-historical event, i'd just like to read more from you on this matter.

wobblie said...

Obama's campaign goes well beyond GOTV and has been built on two years of peer-to-peer organizing. Obviously, getting people out (to vote, to a rally, to the picket line) is an integral part of organizing campaigns, but it'd be silly to reduce the Obama campaign and the skills it has taught to just GOTV work. They've trained people to have organizing conversations, how to track data, how to identify and recruit activists, etc. etc. On top of that, they've let the volunteers run their own little part of the campaign and take initiatives on behalf of Obama. It really is the application of the community organizing model to electoral politics, with GOTV being the penultimate act before the party.

Obviously, the organizing model being used isn't novel - it's something we all recognize. But I think the sheer numbers are what's novel, and that it's being used to mobilize a huge cross-section of the population. The only effort that comes even close - and it doesn't come close by a longshot - is the CIO organizing drives of the 30s.

Obama will definitely have to use the bully pulpit. But I think it's clear to all of us that we'll have to make sure he uses it in the right way.

dr said...

I can't believe y'all are giving wobs a hard time about this.

lex dexter said...

uh, a hard time?

wobs is one of the biggest reasons i do what i do for a living. i shan't apologize for making him talk to me about politics. tho it prolly is time i burned him those Meters albums i promised.