Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas…

I went to the OFA organizing meeting in DC today. We’re staying in Baltimore and the original plan was to just roam around among the crowd in DC for the inauguration tomorrow, but then we got tickets for the swearing-in and a ball and that all led to the OFA meeting.

Here are some pictures:

final ofa 2

final ofa

My usual impression at these Democratic political gatherings is that the people from southern states are the most enthusiastic and that was true in this room, too. The North Carolina contingent was really celebrating.

Here’s the official description of the preliminary plan. I edited this some:

I’m Jon Carson, the new executive director of Organizing for Action…

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….

If I had to give you the one word I heard most often from the people on the stage as far as administration policy priorities the word would be “immigration.” So Rick Santorum is wrong, again.

I don’t know what I think about the OFA organizing plan yet. It takes me a while to figure these things out, so I’ll just leave you with what Messina told the group this morning:

“We played too much of an inside game in 2009 and 2010 and got away from what we’re good at.”

52 replies
  1. 1
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I sure hope that the OFA gets their sh*t together, we cannot afford another Tea Party revolution in 2014.

  2. 2
    Allan says:

    This is what most of us who worked on the 2008 campaign hoped would become of OFA. Nice they get a second chance to get it right.

    I concur with Mr. Messina’s assessment. In my community, we attempted to do exactly this in 2009 and were aggressively driven out by the DNC for our troubles.

  3. 3
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Has Santorum ever been right? There’s no way the Republicans can act the fool on immigration legislation. They’re not so dumb that they don’t realize how much they need the Latino vote to survive.

  4. 4
    Robin G. says:

    Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my maw and paw, but not the way I do love you…

    …no? Just me?

  5. 5
    Kay says:

    @Robin G.:

    California, Colorado, Connecticut…

  6. 6
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Kay: “Fifty Nifty United States from thirteen original colonies. Shout ’em! scout ’em! Tell all about ’em…”

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    Hah! We’ll never, ever forget that.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Kay, I’m very happy that you are getting tickets to the good stuff. I know that’s not why you volunteer and work so hard at what you do in Ohio, but it’s lovely to see Virtue Rewarded.

    I’m also really pleased at where OfA is going. From Obama for America to Organizing for America to (now) Organizing for Action, the trajectory is all in the right direction. Harnessing the energy of the Obama ground game and making it work for immigration, gun control, climate change, etc., is something very special. It also gives me an inkling of what I alluded to a few days ago in a BJ post, wondering what the Obamas’ post-Presidency activity might look like. I suspect that it will turn out to be a refinement of OfA, and I for one am looking forward to volunteering for it, whatever it looks like.

  9. 9
    Punchy says:

    There’s democrats in Oklahoma?

  10. 10
    metalgirl says:

    I was also very disappointed at the extremely disorganized efforts from OFA in 2009. I hosted several “house parties” and they were not nearly as organized as MoveOn house parties from 2006-2008. I hope they are really going to do a much better job this time and having a local focus is probably a good start.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    I kind of like the local focus. I think the farm team work is where we’re weakest.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I actually like wandering around in crowds without any pressure to be anywhere at a set time, so I was planning on going anyway, but it was fun to get tix. I didn’t go last time.
    Luckily the metro is color-coded and all but idiot-proof, so it was easy to get around. There’s some very happy Democrats in that city right now. Very celebratory feeling.

  13. 13
    mai naem says:

    @Allan: The Obama people never used Howard Dean the right way. Yeah, he can be a little arrogant but jeezus his work was one of the reasons Obama and the Dems won in 08. I know part of it was Rahm and Gibbs who I remember from Gephardts primary campaign in 04. I think people forget Dean used to be a Repub and switched when the Birchers had the fight with the Rockefeller Repubs way back. He has a little bit of an idea on the Repub mindset. Oh, well. I am interested in seeing what Obama does after his presidency. Also interested in seeing where Tim Geithner and Ken Salazar end up. I’ve never trusted Salazar. I hope Solis runs for a major statewide office in California.

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    @Punchy:

    She’s now a senator from Massachusetts.

  15. 15
    Lojasmo says:

    @Punchy:

    Bartcop lives in Oklahoma. Of course, he’s sort of a clintonite dead-ender, so there’s that.

  16. 16
    Poopyman says:

    @Punchy: Hello? Soonergrunt?

    OK, that’s one.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    My usual impression at these Democratic political gatherings is that the people from southern states are the most enthusiastic and that was true in this room, too.

    Because in the chain of representation that gives a shit about the people in our states – Texas here – pretty much starts and stops at Obama.

  18. 18
    Kay says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Is that it? I have a theory. I think it’s because they have to tone it down at home because they’re a political minority so being in such a friendly room is very freeing.

    But yours makes more sense.

  19. 19
    PeakVT says:

    @Kay: Or they’re just happy to see more than 100 Dems at once.

    It could also be all of the above.

  20. 20
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @PeakVT: It’s probably a combination of all three. One of the most exciting things for me during the presidential campaigns was seeing Obama signs and bumper stickers in my neighborhood.

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    Kay smash!

  22. 22

    @Patricia Kayden:

    today he said “deer don’t wear body armor so why do you need armor piercing rounds” so blind squirrel nut and all that.

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This is about as off-topic as a comment can get, but I just turned on the TV in anticipation of tonight’s Downton Abbey, and they are showing last week’s episode as a preview, and it suddenly struck me that Sir Anthony Strallan is the IMAGE of Charles Krauthammer. I’m talking separated-at-birth similarity. For some reason didn’t notice that before.

    Right, back to OfA, inauguration, Dems.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    This is the model that we had throughout the election. Because we were not a swing state, we had almost no staff or offices so we did a lot of it on our own–even exporting into a neighboring state.

    We set up our own satellite offices, had volunteers doing the jobs paid staff did in other states, etc. I think it will work but it does take a very dedicated group of volunteers.

  25. 25
    MomSense says:

    My experience in OFA in 2009-2010 was actually very organized. We had regular meetings, lots of phone banks and activity around health care reform and financial reform. We also had a lot of training on the new functions for the VAN. Some of the things we were cobbling together–like logging into facebook/skype and call lists so we could have virtual phone banks was incorporated into the VAN.

    I think it varied depending on the state.

  26. 26

    I will repeat what Robert Gibbs said on Morning Joe “the NRA has a long list, but OFA has a longer one” We outnumber them, never forget that. Shit even Rush Limbaugh has now admitted publicly that WE OUTNUMBER THEM, the only reason they retained the house is because of jerry mandering, even Joe Scarborough has admitted that they only reason they won the house is because of jerry mandering, he admits that we out voted them in 2012, the dems won the presidency, the senate and the house vote but because of jerry mandering the Repubs kept control. WE OUTNUMBER THEM. Never forget that.

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    @MomSense:

    And it will probably continue to vary depending on the state, if it’s indeed “local”

    They said they polled a million supporters/volunteers/staff and 64% said they wanted to move to issue organizing (rather than candidates) so that’s the general theme.

  28. 28
    MomSense says:

    @Kay:

    I think that makes sense but we will probably join the midterm campaigning.

  29. 29
    Alison says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Actually, it was Jennifer Granholm who said that to Santorum

    http://thinkprogress.org/polit.....ng-bullet/

  30. 30
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: That’s gerrymandering, my dear Brit — after Elbridge Gerry, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where we got a head start on drawing political districts that would look “not like a salamander, but like a gerrymander”.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mai naem:

    I hope Solis runs for a major statewide office in California.

    The rumor I heard is that she’s going to run for Los Angeles County Supervisor, which would be a decent stepping-stone to statewide office if she wanted to go that direction.

    Or she could just stay in that position — it took Gloria Molina 22 years to term limit out of it, so Solis would pretty much be set for life if she won her election.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Alison:

    What do people think of Granholm as a potential Secretary of Labor? I don’t know a whole lot about her, except that IIRC Democrats were not thrilled with her Blue Dog-like tenure as governor in Michigan.

  33. 33
    TooManyJens says:

    @Allan:

    In my community, we attempted to do exactly this in 2009 and were aggressively driven out by the DNC for our troubles.

    Could you elaborate on that? What did they do?

  34. 34

    @Anne Laurie: Thank you I appreciate the correction.

  35. 35
    PsiFighter37 says:

    “We played too much of an inside game in 2009 and 2010 and got away from what we’re good at.”

    No. Fucking. Shit.

    We could’ve gotten a cap-and-trade bill done if we had a little bit more discipline, on top of everything else.

  36. 36
    ruemara says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: OFA has always had it’s shit together. Jesus Christ, this meme is tiresome.

  37. 37
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Knew you wouldn’t be offended by my local boosterism — I am a terrible speller myself and spellcheck doesn’t help in cases like this.

  38. 38
    Anne Laurie says:

    Kay, I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, I’m pumped that OFA will be there for loyal state-level volunteers, and I’m looking forward to your writeup of the inauguration festivities!

  39. 39
    Maude says:

    @ruemara:
    Obama won in 2012. OFA must have been doing something right.

  40. 40
    JCT says:

    @Kay: My daughter is working in DC this year before heading off to grad school and says that DC feels like one big party right now.

    She is having a blast.

  41. 41
    Alison says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have no clue, really. I know little about her too. It does seem like she’s gotten maybe a little less Blue-Dog-ish? Her speech at the DNC was pretty fiery, and now with this show, maybe she’s leaning a little more progressive, but I really have no way to gauge what kind of SoL she’d be.

    All I do know is whoever is nominated will be derided by the GOP and NOT GOOD ENOUGH for the emoprogs.

  42. 42
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Kay:

    Luckily the metro is color-coded and all but idiot-proof

    This is how Republicans make it to Congress every day it’s in session, obviously.

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Did you just accuse Republicans of taking public transportation to work?

    Did you just accuse the Republicans of working?

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @Kay:

    There’s some very happy Democrats in that city right now. Very celebratory feeling.

    The news people told me this morning that the Republicans have left town. If only they’d stay away.

    Thanks for the update. I like the sound of the new OFA. I hope they get it to work this time and keep Tea Party 2: Scooter Boogaloo from happening.

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @Alison:

    All I do know is whoever is nominated will be derided by the GOP and NOT GOOD ENOUGH for the emoprogs.

    If Karl Marx were nominated for a cabinet position, the emoprogs would complain he wasn’t left enough and besides that he was a white male.

  46. 46
    Allan says:

    @TooManyJens: OFA higher-ups would cancel events our local team created because they weren’t aligned with a national campaign. When local volunteers would sign up to host a house party or phone bank, regional OFA would bypass us, contact the hosts, pressure them to increase the number of people they would accommodate, etc., because they were all trying to make their numbers, feelings be damned. They pretty much fired all our volunteers and treated our local leaders to some of the worst volunteer abuse I’ve ever witnessed.

  47. 47
    Kay says:

    @Baud:

    I just watched the (real) swearing-in online and they all look awkward and stilted. Marching in and out. Ceremonies are so bizarre. Also, is Justice Roberts 5′ 3″ or something? Obama looks like he’s a foot taller than him.

  48. 48
    Baud says:

    @Kay:

    I noticed that as well. Also, Roberts has a much easier job than Obama, but he looked 25 years older and more worn out. Maybe he realizes he will lose his conservative majority in about 5-10 years. One can dream.

  49. 49
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Baud:

    Did you just accuse the Republicans of working?

    I said they go to Congress. Who said anything about working?

  50. 50
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    The North Carolina contingent was really celebrating.

    Tar Heels, REPRESENT!

    it’s very nice to see this, especially after some of the South bashing that goes on here.

  51. 51
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Baud:

    Roberts has a much easier job than Obama, but he looked 25 years older and more worn out. Maybe he realizes he will lose his conservative majority in about 5-10 years. One can dream.

    My theory is that dealing with Scalia is wearing him out.

    At the end of last term – and not just the Obamacare decision – Scalia was sounding more like they’d taken some random guy who watched Fox and listened to Rush all day, and promoted him to the Supreme Court, rather than a guy who had particular theories, reactionary though they might be, about how the law should operate.

    Roberts knows that as long as he has his majority, he’s in a position to make the law come out on the side of those with the money – but the whole thing will collapse eventually if it doesn’t have at least a plausible veneer of respectability and impartiality. Scalia, and to a lesser extent Kennedy, are starting to eat away at the veneer.

    And of course if Kennedy should retire in the next few years (he’ll turn 80 during this Presidential term), there goes his majority.

  52. 52
    grandpa john says:

    @Kay: Well taking a stand on issues is fine, but it is my observation that unless you control the state and local governments, you are not going to get any changes. republicans don’t give a shit about what “ordinary folks” think about issues and policies and unless the “ordinary folks” make it known to them that they will vote their asses out of office unless they actually listen to them, the republican attitude will not change.

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