I read this article today over at Politico called President Obama's Political Arm Under Fire and all I kept thinking well that's the difference between Campaigner Barack Obama and President Barack Obama. Now before all you Obama fanboys jump all over me, this isn't meant to be a political attack.
I've spent a ton of time studying what my opponents did during the Presidential campaign. I can tell you what worked for them as well what worked for us. I spent some time after the election at Harvard with a unique group of professionals, students, and professors analyzing what happened during the campaign; plus, you can read my notes from David Plouffe's book. Anyway, besides turning out to be a fundraising dynamo, Obama ultimately left his mark in campaigning history with his grass roots online organizing which was spearheaded by his message of hope and change.
Anyway, back to the article. It is a reasonably fair analysis of the problems Organizing for America has been having and will continue to have into the near future. OFA is really the management of Candidate Obama's email list post his election. This list was supposed to be key to helping President Obama push his agenda through to the millions and millions of supporters, except, as the article points out, OFA is nowhere near as effective for the President's agenda. Hmm, I wonder what happened?
When people joined the campaign they were enthralled by Candidate Obama's message and charisma. They also got swept up by their community and saw and felt the online organizing. And, through the online networking they felt connected to Candidate Obama. Now, OFA is just an email list disconnected from the Presidency and the website looks and feels like what it is, a political tool.
Notice the giant box on the right for the special election in Mass? Candidate Obama might support the Democrat in a race, but would be more subtle about why and certainly would not allow to be perceived as a typical liberal Democrat blindly supporting the Democrat in the race. OFA, no problem (BTW - if you are a Republican please help out Scott Brown).
Heck, maybe it is the overt political messages that has turned people off. Maybe people like me if they want to connect with President Obama signed up for emails from the White House, RSS feeds from their blog posts, as well as updates via Facebook. As proof the traffic on barackobama.com has plummeted and is probably around 2007 levels or less according to Alexa.
Really, if you joined OFA you joined to be a part of something. That was Candidate Obama and if you want to connect with Candidate Obama, you can easily do that through the President's contact tools. If you want political directions, there are tons of groups out there to organize you. If you want to support President Obama's goals, you don't need OFA to help you, you can just get information directly from The White House. OFA definitely isn't continuing that Hope and Change message; to me, it looks like the type of politics that Candidate Obama campaigned against. Basically, it appears until Obama's reelection campaign, OFA won't be as useful as it once was.