It doesn’t look like the Obama Administration’s efforts to capitalize on it’s army of campaign supporters to move the President’s agenda forward is having much of an impact:
WASHINGTON â€” President Barack Obama’s army of canvassers fanned out across the nation over the weekend to drum up support for his $3.55 trillion budget, but they had no noticeable impact on members of Congress, who on Monday said they were largely unaware of the effort.
“News to me,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, a House Budget Committee member, of the canvassing. Later, his staff said that his office had heard from about 100 voters.
The president’s lieutenants tried to open a new front in the “Obama revolution,” the grassroots mobilization that propelled the once little-known Illinois senator to the White House last year. David Plouffe, who ran Obama’s campaign, now runs “Organizing for America” out of the Democratic National Committee. It uses the same Web-based tactics that won the presidency to mobilize public opinion behind Obama’s initiatives in a bid to redefine “business as usual” in Washington.
“The budget that passes Congress has the potential to take our country in a truly new direction â€” the kind of change we all worked so hard for,” Plouffe said in an e-mail alert to Obama followers last week. He asked them to rally people in their hometowns behind Obama’s budget.
Over the weekend, Obama supporters knocked on an estimated 1 million doors in all 50 states. Canvassers asked people to sign a two-point pledge saying that they support Obama’s “bold approach for renewing America’s economy,” and that they’ll ask family, friends and neighbors to back it.
It’s an interesting strategy, but there are several problems with trying translate the momentum of a campaign into a movement that can impact policy after the election:
Trying to mobilize voters to rally behind a complex, multi-trillion dollar budget that Congress will take months to enact is a different task from winning votes for a presidential candidate.
“You live in Terre Haute, Indiana, or suburban Denver, and someone you don’t know knocks on the door and talks politics â€” the election is over,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Connecticut. “I’m not sure if it will make a big difference.”
Even if they were Obama supporters in November, how many of the people who had a canvasser come to their door over the past weekend are going to take the time to call or write their Congressman or Senator ? My guess that it would be a relatively small percentage of those people are going to be sufficiently motivated to get involved in that effort, and their people who are politically inclined to begin with.
My guess is that a good number of the people who talked to a canvasser said thank you and went back to watching the NCAA Tournament.