OFA activated to stump for Stimulus Bill

I previously posted about the Obama’s efforts to turn their amazing 13 million person grassroots network into an organizing force on behalf of the Obama legislative agenda (or “your agenda” in their language).

OFA (technically “Organizing for America” or sometimes called OFA 2.0) was activated through this video where President Obama notes the importance of crowd-sourcing (how the people will collectively produce a better product), although he doesn’t use that term.

Apparently 3,300 house parties on the stimulus were organized, to mixed press reviews — the OFA is tapped out or a success — some were canceled, some had low turnout, but others seemed an excellent example of democratic participation, like the account that538 had of one grassroots account of a Maryland house party among OFA Obama activists discussing the stimulus bill. After reminiscing about the 2008 campaign and why they wanted to stay involved, participants broke into subgroups like Energy; Science & Technology; Transportation; Education; Health Care; Jobs (retraining); and Public Sector Jobs (teachers, firefighters, etc.) to discuss what was or wasn’t in the Stimulus and what should be.  Their goal was to share the group’s thinking with Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Not sure whether these efforts actually changed the stimulus bill, which disappointingly was hammered out between House and Senate leaders (with Administration representatives) in closed-door, old-fashioned, smoke-filled rooms. But is clear that some combination of Obama stumping for the bill plus the activation of the OFA network may help explain why popular support for the stimulus bill increased in recent days.

As I wrote earlier, I think the challenge of keeping OFA vibrant is making participants more than foot soldiers in the Obama “our” agenda.


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