Grassroots to Governing

Friday, February 06, 2009

Zephyr Teachout, Tech President contributing editor, visiting assistant professor of law at Duke Law School, and former director of online organizing for Howard Dean, and Ari Melber, net movement correspondent for The Nation magazine, a columnist for Politico and a contributing editor for Tech President, look at how the Obama presidency is using the campaign's web-based organization. Dan Lavoie talks about the Continue the Change Service Fair he and other Brooklyn for Barack organizers put together.


Dan Lavoie, Ari Melber and Zephyr Teachout

Comments [16]

James B from NYC

The realities of governing & making the compromises necessary to effect any 'change' is really not something that many of Obama's supporters ever thought about or understood. Like many of us boomers who thought our generation uniquely qualified to change the world, each generation of young people drawn to political action by the charismatic leader of their time soon discovers that the problems facing us are often difficult, complex & resistant to even the best do-gooder's energetic efforts to overcome them. If it were not so, they would have been solved by prior generations of youthful idealists long ago. The hard part ALWAYS comes AFTER the election, EVEN when victorious. And why that is so, cannot be relayed by any generation to any other - each generation must learn on it's own why that is so. It's sometimes called growing up. For Obama's hordes, the struggle is AHEAD, NOT behind them. Welcome to the human struggle to make life better & u can take cheer from the fact that life today for many is indeed very much better than it was in the past - a consequence of many prior generations efforts to make it so. Now it's u'r turn - don't expect it to be easy - do expect to have to learn much & work hard.

Feb. 07 2009 03:02 AM
Karen from Westchester

if the Republican Party mantra of lowering taxes is not good economics policy in the context of blind party rhetoric, then change will not come until we the challengers are enlightened about recent US and world economic history. The answer is not more party rhetoric. Obama is not preaching enlightened economics policy, he is talking about needs such as infrastructure, the stuff that the public can nod their heads to. Somebody needs to start speaking to the American people as a whole as if we were intelligent and well enough educated to LEARN, learn about the past and learn what to do about the future. It's also called critical thinking!

Feb. 06 2009 11:11 AM
Stephen Wise from Queens, NY

It is fitting that in the "conceptual art project" that is the Obama administration, the base is now feeling empowered to tell Obama how to be Obama, just as Obama hoped that they too would be Obamas.

With conceptual art the artist, art and spectator become one.

Feb. 06 2009 11:02 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

We can't talk back only to Obama. We have to be equally engaged in communicating with our representatives and senators as well. Along with state and city leaders. I suppose we're redefining or reinvigorating the idea of what it means to live in a participatory democracy.

Feb. 06 2009 11:02 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

The campaign will glady remove you surely the President of the United States is not sitting around texting you all! Jeez!!

Feb. 06 2009 10:59 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

If you no longer want to receive emails and you feel "bombarded" UNSUBSCRIBE for goodness sakes!!!...text STOP to the email address. YOu people can't be that naive.

Feb. 06 2009 10:58 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

representative REPUBLIC, not democracy

Feb. 06 2009 10:58 AM
Edward from NJ

It's hard to be The Man when your core supporters are used to fighting The Man.

Feb. 06 2009 10:57 AM
Cecile Kops from Brooklyn

I have been very concerned about plans to send large numbers of troops to the quicksands of Afghanistan. I think we need a nationwide debate and conversation before we take this huge step. Unfortunately, the press is not taking this issue up. One very useful objective for grass roots groups should be to force the NYT, Washington Post ect. to devote their resources to this crucial issue.

Feb. 06 2009 10:55 AM
hjs from 11211

obama is a leader. it's great he's thinking of new ways to lead.

Feb. 06 2009 10:55 AM
robert from park slope

I recall that Ronald Reagan was effective using television to go over the heads of Congress to communicate directly with people who, in turn, would often put pressure on their representatives. More recently, the Republican party used a more descreet method of communication with talking points emanating from Karl Rove and disseminated through channels such as Rush Limbaugh and the editorial page of the Wall St Journal. The new Democratic effort is a new twist on an old strategy.

Feb. 06 2009 10:53 AM
Paul from Queens

Ms. Melbar expressed concern that we shouldn't learn about the package from such videos, but that assumes the attendees won't study further after the watch party. These parties stimulate interest and discussion.

The separation of powers hasn't resulted in citizen participation and this type of communication does. He is the leader and I'm gonna follow and see where he takes me.

Feb. 06 2009 10:52 AM
jkl from manhattan

I dont' understand these house parties. Are people going to take turns reading the bill out loud? I've been reading it and it is unbelievably dense. The press has completely failed to comprehensively report on the contents. What are people going to talk about?

Feb. 06 2009 10:51 AM
Leo in Staten Island from Staten Island

I previously posted on my desire to see Obama use the bully pulpit to direct Americans to specific grassroots projects around a common purpose, supported by the government. This could look like designating a once-a-month "Day of National Service" where people all over the country would go to local centers and be organized and given the supplies to, say, install energy-efficient lightbulbs or paint roofs white to help with global warming. Or whatever. But let's make it national and very specific.

Feb. 06 2009 10:50 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

This is absolutely ridiculous. Stimulus bill=change? Really? Ha! The tools continue to twist arms.

Feb. 06 2009 10:50 AM
Jim from Manhattan

Isn't this just a slightly more interactive version of the "fireside chats", where FDR went straight to the public to encourage them to pressure a conservative Congress?

Feb. 06 2009 10:49 AM

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