Ok, you’ve just been elected president. You’ve got a lot of challenges (opportunities to excel as my old First Sergeant would have said), made a lot of promises, have a potentially hostile minority hoping to make you crash and burn and an allied congress which has a similar (but not necessarily identical) agenda. You’ve also got millions of donors. Thousands of people who have never engaged in political activities before have given their time to get you elected and you won.
I suspect, given his tradition and affinity for community organization, Obama might want to keep those supporters plugged in and activiated in case he runs into obstacles. I’m not exactly sure how such a mobilization of the troops would take place but it seems to me tailor fit to Obama’s emphasis on community/national service.
Also, consider these remarks from his victory speech:
And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.
Now, usually campaign supporters go back to their lives after the election and become passive supporters until the next election. Of course, it’s hard for me to imagine that Obama could reignite this sort of enthusiasm after four years in power if he doesn’t continue to call upon his supporters to work for him. I can only imagine how hard it would be to recreate the infamous ‘ground game’ he took two years to build. Better to keep that organization functioning to some degree so it’ll be easier to get running again.
Another interesting thing to watch will be to see how someone so focused on ‘bottom up’ organizing (I’m adding Alinsky to my reading list) utilizes resources when he’s on the top of the heap.
Should be a fascinating four years.