Folks can whine on endlessly about outfits like Freedom Works putting these rackets together. But if the president's plan has any public support they should be able to get supporters to these events too, right? Not to pull the Black Shirt routine but to provide some public demonstration that there's real public support for making reform a reality.If they're waiting until after the Senate recesses on Friday, then they're ceding an entire week to the goon squads here. They were ready to go as early as this weekend and will continue to attack for the next four weeks. It's a very good question and very indicative of the problem Obama has had in the last six weeks: for the centerpiece of his administration's policy initiatives, he's sure not acting like he wants this very much.
If there is.
So that's the question. Where's the other team?
The GOP on the other hand is treating this fight as what it is: an existential battle. They know that if robust health care reform passes, they are beyond toast. Democrats will run the show for a generation. They are pulling out all the stops on the attacks and the pressure. To use a crappy sports metaphor, they want the win more.
Team Obama has gotten hamstrung here in the last three days. Multiple Democrats have been jumped at appearances. The GOP telegraphed the plan well in advance. So far it's looking like the Dems don't have much of a "boots on the ground" response. I am hoping this changes and fast.
The best organized grassroots political machine ever conceived rolled over the landscape last fall. Where is it now?
Also see Greg Sargent's response to Josh's question:
But OFA’s activities, and those of the Democratic Party in general, are suddenly are much more important, now that there appears to be a very deliberate right-wing effort under way to create the impression of populist opposition to reform. It’s yet another reminder that health care is the ultimate test of whether Obama’s vaunted campaign operation can drive Obama’s legislative agenda and achieve real results.So far? They absolutely have been.
Will Obama’s much-vaunted campaign operation be outworked by the Tea Baggers?
[UPDATE 10:42 AM] From commenter Paul:
That can quickly reverse though, if he takes a few of the following steps: 1) Lambaste the party of no for being obstructionist and expose their BS over needing "time" and "fiscal conservatism", he needs to make it clear what each side stands for. 2) Come out with a major speech, the press is not willing to focus on the unsexy details (last press conference only about a 3rd of questions were on healthcare reform). 3) In that speech, and continuously for the next 4 weeks, set down benchmarks for what the bill MUST include (public option, cost controls, subsidies, employer/universal mandate, penalties for not participating, best practices testing, etc). He needs to define what is in front of Americans so that those of us fighting for reform have something to point to when the empty talking points of the GOP come up. 4)Deploy more resources against Dems standing in the way of reform simply to get more $, that will be under the radar but he needs to pull out a few more sticks against those in his own party while also reminding them what voters will be thinking about in 2010 (hint, it won't be the deficit).Very solid advice, especially points #2 and #3 there. A major speech on health care is a definite must, it must be sooner rather than later, and it has to lay down the points that local Dems will need to combat these ambushes.
Number 4 there isn't such a bad idea either.