Video: Obama launches the permanent campaign
posted at 4:53 pm on January 17, 2009 by Allahpundit
You didn’t think he was going to disband the cult just because he’s president now, did you? Behold the launch of Hopenchange 2.0: Turning his grassroots organization from an operation to get him elected into an operation to pressure members of Congress to adopt his agenda. And by “members of Congress,” I don’t mean Republicans.
Organizers and even Republicans say the scope of this permanent campaign structure is unprecedented for a president. People familiar with the plan say Obama’s team would use the network in part to pressure lawmakers — particularly wavering Democrats — to help him pass complex legislation on the economy, healthcare and energy…
Though the plan still is emerging, one source with knowledge of the internal discussion said the organization could have an annual budget of $75 million in privately raised funds. Another said it would deploy hundreds of paid staff members — possibly one for every congressional district in certain politically important states and even more in larger battlegrounds such as Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina…
Concerns about Obama’s ambitions are coming from state party leaders as well as from Capitol Hill.
“The party needs to be rooted not just around one individual, but it needs to have a grass-roots base that can survive the times and even endure past whoever may be in office,” said Jerry Meek, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. “Obama brings a lot to the table, but, on the other hand, state parties exist for more than serving the objectives of the president and are in the business to elect county commissioners, school board members and members of the legislature.”
What fascinates me is his faith that his supporters, almost all of whom are Democrats, can be counted on to side with him on policy against … other Democrats. There’s no reason in principle to believe that’s true — Obamites logically should prefer his position on economic recovery to McCain’s, but to Chris Dodd’s or Barney Frank’s? — but it’s perfectly sensible if you view Obamamania as a cult of personality with The One as the object in whom all trust is reposed. (See also.) He does a superb job of cultivating it too, from using the paparazzi to enhance his status as an icon to dumping one dopey Lincoln allusion after another on a media that’s itching to make the comparison. In theory it’s a bad idea to have a party “rooted around” one individual — but The One isn’t just any individual, or so we should believe. If Lincoln told you to dial up some Blue Dog Democrat and ask him to vote for another bailout, you’d do it, wouldn’t you? Well, there you go.