President Obama’s campaign-turned-advocacy group officially launched last week, with much ado about how the organization would be all about grassroots activism, changing Washington from outside the Beltway, and giving ordinary people a voice in politics.
Yeah… about that, reports Politico:
In its first days, Organizing for Action has closely affiliated itself with insider liberal organizations funded by mega-donors like George Soros and corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Citi and Duke Energy.
And it has quietly sought support from the same rich donors who backed Obama’s campaigns, asking for help from Democratic donors and bundlers in town for the Inauguration at a closed-door corporate-sponsored confab that featured Bill Clinton as the keynote speaker. …
The initial fundraising push highlights the tricky path Obama’s allies face in starting the new group. Consider: Obama, who long cast himself as an ardent opponent of big money in politics, is to some extent tying the fate of his populist second-term agenda to a non-profit group registered under a section of the tax code – 501(c)4 – that allows the secret, corporate donations he spent months decrying after they were unleashed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision.
Well, shocker — Obama & friends only dislike the role of well-funded and corporate interests in politics, when it’s politically profitable to say so.
Not all Democrats, however, are actually happy about the use to which President Obama’s campaign machinery is being put, worried that it will actually damage Democrats’ net campaign efforts and drain the party’s fundraising and volunteer resources, via National Journal:
Even as Democrats relish President Obama’ second inauguration, some party leaders are worried about whether the campaign’s decision to form its own advocacy group will hamstring future generations of Democratic candidates. …
Some activists foresee a power struggle between the national party, which aims to elect Democrats above all else, and the new group, which aims to build the president’s legacy — and may have to pressure wavering swing-state Democrats to tow the unapologetically liberal agenda laid out in his inauguration speech. …
Fred Hudson, vice chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, said OFA would inevitably weaken the traditional party structure.
“We need a unified organization that will bring about victories in 2013 and 2014, and we don’t need to be splitting our efforts,” said Hudson, alluding to his state’s high-stakes race for governor this year. “It’s a recipe for how to lose an election. We’ve been told there will be no competition for fundraising, but that’s difficult for me to accept, and there will certainly be competition for staff and volunteers.”
Certain DNC leaders have been trying to reassure other party members and activists that OFA and the DNC will be working together to stay on-message and elect Democrats, but if I were in their shoes, I’d probably be pretty worried, too, especially with the Virginia gubernatorial and the 2014 midterms coming up — “team player” isn’t exactly one of President Obama’s well-known strong suits.