The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Obama to blogs: Help!

So, Obama had a conference call with bloggers, and urged them to help him pass his health reform bill (a bill most liberal bloggers would have preferred was single payor, something Obama ruled out day one.) I find this… fascinating.

When I was dealing with the various Democratic primary campaigns in 2007 and 8, the one which did the least outreach to bloggers and which was the most closed and insular was the Obama campaign.

When Obama became the nominee, things didn’t change. Well, except once. After the Republican convention, when Obama was behind briefly, suddenly the Obama administration wanted to talk to bloggers. A lot. The moment his numbers improved, the door went back to its prior “one inch open, shout, and maybe someone will ignore you” position.

I found that interesting then. I find it interesting now.

I also do truly hope Obama gets through a bill which includes all his criteria:

the President mentioned his criteria for reform: Does it cover all Americans; Will it drive down costs over the long-term; Will it improve quality; Are prevention and wellness included; Does it contain insurance reforms on issues like pre-existing conditions; does it provide relief to small business; and, is there a serious public option. He warned that the different bills coming from the House and Senate may not have all of those provisions, but the conference committee will be critical.

And I hope it’s not just a pep talk for the gullible troops.  I hope, more, that it’s clear he got all those things in a meaningful form rather than getting a bill through to get a bill through

And hey, last time he stopped talking to us when he didn’t need us.  I’m sure he’ll do the same thing again.  Which, oddly, leaves me hoping that he stops talking to us again soon.

At least he’s still inspiring hope in me.


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  1. rumor

    “And hey, last time he stopped talking to us when he didn’t need us. I’m sure he’ll do the same thing again.”

    Last time, he stopped talking to bloggers because he was politically secure, not because he started doing the right things (in this context, the things progressive bloggers want to see). Why would this time be any different?

  2. He’s never going to be politically secure, I think, without the left–the right would ditch him a second for some convenient puppet, if they could put one in place. This may be sinking in.

  3. I think it has more to do with this:

    A new USA Today/Gallup poll suggests that President Obama’s ratings could be taking a hit on some key issues.

    On the economy, his approval is 47%, with 49% disapproval, down from a 55%-42% rating in May. On health care policy, he is at 44%-50%, another upside-down rating.

    If the guy only needs us to flog the unpopular policies he never consulted us on to begin with, I’m not feeling terribly enthusiastic.

  4. Well, it is interesting to see which bloggers were allowed on the call.

    As to being closed off to bloggers, the Obama campaign did a lot of work on the blog commentariat and basically taking over even against blog authors like Digby.

    And, of course, he wants support once any progressive policy has already been excluded and I’m sure the bloggers will fall in line.

  5. gtash

    It is pep talk for gullible troops.

    It is clear to me that he has no real grip on the Dems in Congress. He has just enough influence that they won’t try to make him look bad, even though they make him look bad.

    I am sorry. I have no faith in him. The hope I have is of a vague and general nature.

    Bloggers are powerful at voicing concerns, and some have learned how to project their influence better than others. I am extremely impressed with the willingness of the Firedoglake crowd and the Emptywheel crowd to engage the adversaries, but they are relatively rare. Too often the other activist groups come off as folks who have learned how to use the internet to solicit money (which may be for a worthy cause) but seem to have little to show for it at the end of the day.

    I really do think the only way to influence Congress in the face of intense lobbying and behind-closed-door sessions is to swarm over them. If all the folks who turned up for the inauguration just decided to walk-thru the Capitol one day before the vote on health care merely whispering “single payer”, I think Obama and the Dems would wake up.

  6. Ed

    I’m starting to wonder how much Obama is a puppet, as GW Bush almost certainly was before him.

  7. Because the Republic Fascist (Racist) Party threw the game – they, and the banks, elected Obama, not we…

  8. Humanity Burning

    It’s that familiar sinking feeling. I first felt it during the FISA flip-flop just prior to the election and it greatly cooled my enthusiasm for Obama. Since then it’s been a lot more of the same. Prior to the election the argument was he had to pander to the centrists in order to get elected. Since then he “has” to pander to the centrists and corporatists in order to enact policies to clean up Bushes mess and aww shucks he’s only been in office less than a year. Next year it will be, he has to pander due to the 2010 elections coming up. The year after that it will be he has to pander due to his reelection coming up in two years. Or maybe, just maybe, he’s really just not committed to any progressive principles at all and is in fact…a professional politician.

    For the screamers who say he’s better than Palin/McCain. No kidding. Your average high school civics class could run circles around those two. If our only decision criteria for the future is being less crazy than whatever lunatic the right is putting up at the moment then be prepared to be let down a lot more in the future.

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