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Tea Parties Vs. OFA

Organizing for America was advertised as the nucleus of the progressive wave supposedly sweeping America. OFA was to have the capacity to organize, motivate, and deploy liberal drones throughout the country. They would utilize the passion stirred up from the 2008 presidential election, mobilizing campaign volunteers into policy advocates. Yet, everything we have seen is telling us that OFA is fading fast. When you build a system of spoils, there will always be those upset about not receiving their just reward. Support has not turned in to favors.

Obama put together an organizational structure built on the illusion that those at the bottom have the power. Yet, in his book “The Audacity to Win,” David Plouffe makes it very clear that power and decision making ultimately remained with a small group at the top. They worked to build a list, not a movement. This was their achilles heel. Once Plouffe, Axelrod, Obama and others transitioned from campaign mode to White House elitism, they forgot and abandoned those that put them in office: the progressive base promised a new America and  the swing voters promised a new DC. The reality has set in that the people who voted for change were not organized in a new or powerful way. In fact, despite the extraordinary illusion that this campaign embodied the people from the ground up, it appears it was politics as usual:

In the end, the special interests sat first at the table and wrote the playbook, expecting OFA to follow. The top-down structure remained, yet the passion had flamed out. David Plouffe announced back in December of 2008 that more than half a million supporters had responded to an online survey of OFA’s future, with 86% saying they felt it was important to help the Obama administration pass legislation through grassroots support; 68% agreeing that it was important to help elect state and local candidates who share Obama’s vision; and a surprising 10% indicating that they would be interested in running for elected office. The desire to support the movement at a local level was there. People yearned for change in their communities, not just in Washington (sound familiar?). Yet, no actions was taken. Those at the top failed to realize this, focusing instead on demanding grassroots support for policy created behind closed doors and benefiting big corporations and bigger government. Now, after an historic loss in Massachusetts the myth is meeting reality and the American people on both sides of the political spectrum are getting restless. Organizing for America is seeing their passionate base shrink rapidly, interior structure deteriorate, and effectiveness diminish. This is undeniable proof of what architects already know: the world’s tallest buildings were built ground-up.

In a move that resembles MoveOn.org, OFA recently sent out an email asking its members to plan the course for 2010. While the strategy has worked in the past, this appears to fall under “too little too late:”

OFA and David Plouffe

While progressives scramble to recreate the magic of the 2008 presidential election, a truly organic movement has been brewing in the union. A movement that I argue has done things right.

The tea party movement has been repeatedly attacked by those most afraid of its success, but this snake has no head. There is nobody calling the shots, no Plouffe controlling the message, no list to be bought and sold. This movement has no title, no political affiliation. This is about principle over party, the individual over the state. In this movement, the power rests with the people, and the people are growing restless.

Read a single post from CNN, Washington Post, or Fox News and it becomes clear that the tea party movement is becoming a legitimate force in American politics. Obama’s campaign has shown the people how to organize, what we as individuals can accomplish when passion and inspiration meet opportunity. Poll after poll has shown us that more Americans self-identify as conservative than any other political ideology. So when Obama and his campaign elite MovedOn (pun intended), it set the stage for a dramatic shift. Unlike the progressive nanny structure, our movement is based on the individual, on personal freedom and equality. The tea parties and 912 groups are evidence of this, of individuals banding together and self-organizing in their communities. We represent a true, grassroots movement in America. There are no campaign managers, no Axelrods to lead us and leave us. Because of this, we will be stronger, last longer, and bring more change to the political landscape. An opportunity like this comes along only once in a generation. For years we have chose the lesser of two evils, but for the first time in my lifetime, we as a nation are saying we don’t want whats on the menu, we demand more.

Ironically, both OFA and the new conservative movement can be said to embody the political style for which they fight. OFA shines light on the faulty premise that the state knows best, that an enlightened few knew best for their supporters. When they abandoned the wheel, the ship ran ashore. In contrast, our movement has no leader, at least not one in control of information and strategy. We have all decided the strategy, we have all shared power, and we will all share victory. 2010 will be a record year for the political organizations. We have written on this site before about leaderless organizations and the conservative surge in online media, but history has yet to be written.

We now have two very different political forces on the ground in America. A force from the liberal left of the country struggling to find focus in the shadow of an abandoned leader and a rising force from the conservative right struggling to find cohesion among the pull of individualism. Who will win? What is in store? Only time will tell.

Fayetteville, AR Activist Training

Due to a winter storm that hit the Fayetteville area, this event has been postponed.  The American Majority Arkansas office will notify attendees of rescheduling information.

Our nation was founded by ordinary citizen activists desiring a government that was accountable to the people.  Today, ordinary citizens across our nation are tired of the status quo and ready to engage for the betterment of their communities.

American Majority Arkansas is pleased to announce an Activist Training will be conducted on Monday the 8th of February in Fayetteville, AR to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists

The training will take place at the Ozarks Electric Building (Community Room) located at 3641 Wedington Drive in Fayetteville from 6:00 to 9:00pm.   Registration opens at 5:30pm.  The cost is $5.00 if you pre-register online by February 4th and $10.00 at the door.  Space is limited.  Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Topics* to be covered during the Training include:

  • Building Coalitions and Reaching Your Community (ideas and practical steps to engage your community and organize a coalition of volunteers)
  • Government 101 (how government operates, how legislative and executive bodies work, how to get involved)
  • Holding Government Accountable (how to hold leaders accountable once they are in office)
  • Effectively Communicating Your Views (how to write effective letters to the editor, opinion editorials and blogs, using social networking tools and wiki projects)

Full training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.  Refreshments and dinner will be provided.

Registration is available online by clicking here.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, call Laurie Masterson at 501-258-6353or e-mail laurie@americanmajority.org.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

* Topics are subject to change.

Rogers, AR Activist Training (Weather Update)

Due to a winter storm that hit the Rogers area, this event has been postponed.  The American Majority Arkansas office will notify attendees of rescheduling information.

Our nation was founded by ordinary citizen activists desiring a government that was accountable to the people.  Today, ordinary citizens across our nation are tired of the status quo and ready to engage for the betterment of their communities.

American Majority Arkansas is pleased to announce an Activist Training will be conducted on Monday, February 8 in Rogers, AR to provide citizens with the tools necessary to become effective activists

The training will take place at the Coke Building located at 1800 S 52nd Street  in Rogers from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.   Registration opens at 11:00 am.  The cost is $5.00 if you pre-register online by February 4 and $10.00 at the door.  Space is limited.  Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Topics* to be covered during the Training include:

  • Building Coalitions and Reaching Your Community (ideas and practical steps to engage your community and organize a coalition of volunteers)
  • Government 101 (how government operates, how legislative and executive bodies work, how to get involved)
  • Holding Government Accountable (how to hold leaders accountable once they are in office)
  • Effectively Communicating Your Views (how to write effective letters to the editor, opinion editorials and blogs, using social networking tools and wiki projects)

Full training materials, samples and supplements will be provided to help you apply what you learn to your organization, candidate, cause or community.  Refreshments and Lunch will be provided.

Registration is available online by clicking here.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, call Laurie Masterson at 501-258-6353 or e-mail laurie@americanmajority.org.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

* Topics are subject to change.

The Tea Partiers and the Continental Army

I’m going to make another comparison between the current tea party movement and the Founding of this nation. We all know about Valley Forge, and the trials and tribulations George Washington and the Continental Army faced during that brutal winter with the cold, sickness, and lack of food.

What is not as well known is the role of Baron von Steuben that winter. Washington knew that for the colonies to be victorious, the Continental Army had to become better trained and more proficient. For lack for lack of a better term, the Continentals had to become a professional fighting force. While in the early days there had been some success with the state militias, Washington knew that if the men fighting were just purely volunteers, the British army would continue to beat them.

So that winter at Valley Forge, Baron von Steuben began training and drilling the Continental Army, whipping it into a more proficient fighting machine. Von Steuben was an interesting character, who actually couldn’t speak English (he would swear at the men in French and Prussian, and then have his translator swear at the men in English), but he knew how to train and drill men. At Valley Forge, he actually took a small group of men, trained them, and then had them turned into trainers so they could accelerate the process. The first signs of success were played out at in 1778 as the Continental Army became a much better fighting machine.

Now I’m not saying it was all smooth sailing after that for Washington and the Continental Army. They were still ill-equipped and fed, and were facing the finest army in the world at the time. But it did allow them to go toe-to-toe with the British, beat them at times, but approach the conflict with more discipline.  And three years later, we of course know that the Continental Army, with the help of the French, beat Cornwallis at Yorktown and effectively ended the Revolutionary War.

The point I want to make is that in 2009, many of the people coming out to the tea parties and 9.12 events were doing so for the first time. I was just at an event in Dallas for organizers and asked, “For how many of you was 2009 the first time you really did anything?” I would venture to say 80% of the people in the room raised their hands. So you have people who are very passionate, but very new, to the process. If the tea party movement is going to be successful, and make the impact it can, and should have, the people in the movement need to become even better at what they do, from organizing, to messaging, to leading. What if the millions that showed up last year all became better at engaging online, building effective grassroots coalitions, became proficient at enforcing accountability on their elected officials, and even identifying and training new leadership from the movement to run for office? Can you imagine the impact the movement can have, not just in 2010, but beyond?

My hope is that in 2010, the tea party movement does take the time to get trained and even better educated, because quite frankly, the left knows the movement is coming, and if the tea partiers are going to beat the left in this country, the time to get better is right now.

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