Within hours after he took the oath of office for the second time, President Barack Obama’s nearly legendarily potent re-election organization formally re-launched itself as a legacy political action committee. Here’s the email that we just received here at TMV:
I’m Jon Carson, the new executive director of Organizing for Action.
I hope you’re as excited as I am for this new organization, and for what our grassroots movement can accomplish in the next four years.
If you haven’t already, you should check out this short video First Lady Michelle Obama recorded about our organization, and then say you’re on board.
Just a little bit about me. I’m a Wisconsin guy, and I grew up on a farm in the western part of the state. In 2007, I joined Barack Obama’s campaign and served as the national field director. After the election, I went to work for the President in the White House, most recently in the Office of Public Engagement.
That brings me to now, when very soon, my family and I will be moving back to Chicago as I start this new role with all of you.
I first joined the President’s campaign because I was inspired by his belief that ordinary people have the power to change our country if we work together to get it done — and that belief will be at the core of this new organization as it unfolds.
And the way we’ll get it done can be summed up in one word: local.
That means each city or region will have its own OFA chapter, and you’ll decide the issues your community cares about most, the work you want to do to make progress on them, and the kind of support you’ll need to get it done.
At a neighborhood and regional level, OFA members will grow their local chapters, bringing in new leaders and helping train a new generation of volunteers and organizers to help fight for the issues at stake.
There’ll be times when we pull together at the national level to get President Obama’s back on passing major legislation, like reducing gun violence or immigration reform. And we’ll all work to help transform Washington from the outside while strengthening our economy and creating jobs.
But for the most part, the direction our work takes will be completely in your hands — with the support of this organization behind you every step of the way.
In the next few weeks and months, I’ll be asking for your input on putting together an OFA plan for 2013, we’ll be holding online briefings about the issues we want to tackle, and we’ll start organizing on those issues as they’re debated in D.C.
But for right now, I just want to say thanks and welcome. There’s a lot to be done, without a doubt — and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of OFA with you.
Take a look at the video the First Lady recorded this week, and go ahead — say you’re in:
I’ll be in touch soon.
Organizing for Action
P.S. — I recorded this short video on Organizing for Action, and the kind of work I hope we’ll be able to do — take a look.
Can it succeed? Obama was sidely criticized by politico pros for the fact that after winning in 2008 his political organization was largely silent and unused as he fought difficult and sometimes fruitless battles with GOPers to not just pass legislation but make the case for his policies so they had greater national support. Additionally, there is always historical fact that most governing parties suffer erosion in Congress during the off-Presidential-election years.
This will be fascinating to watch because:
1. It’ll be interesting to see if the group can foster support for Obama’s final years in office.
2. If Obama and the Democrats can effectively use the group to stem the kind of historical losses expected in 2014 it could create a new prototype for Presidents.
3. It’ll be interested to see if this is a group that will vanish once Obama is out of office, or be around to be a new force in the Democratic Party — and in elections.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.