Daily Digest: Grading OFA's Organizing, Building a Bill Buffer, Remixing the President
BY Nancy Scola | Monday, February 9 2009
Mixed Marks for Organizing for America's First Outing: To some extent, this weekend was the semester's first exam for Organizing for America. So, how'd the new organization, an outgrowth of the Obama campaign, perform? Depends who you ask. McClatchy's Frank Greve's piece on the house parties intended to spur engagement around economic recovery ran under a headline calling the effort "a bust." (Though, we're thinking that harsh verdict might have been more a headline writer's than the author's.) Greve's evidence includes the fact that Sacramento's events had only 78 committed attendees where, an interviewee suggests, an Obama campaign event might have had 500. In other news, Super Bowl XXXVII sold more advanced tickets than Friday's game between West Beverly and Shaw High. Along those same lines, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder says that volunteer-driven events shouldn't be compared apple-to-apple with campaign-organized rallies. And our Micah Sifry notes that Obama's "crowdsourcing" around his economic recovery plan can still draw eyeballs, noting that the video address sent out to house-party hosts has already pulled in nearly 700,000 views.
Adding a Five-Day Buffer to How a Bill Becomes a Law: The White House's nameless, faceless blogger responds to criticisms about the new administration's breaking of its five-day legislative review period pledge. In short, the message is 'We're working on it.' (For what its worth, the web section that the White House had quietly set up to house the five-day project -- at whitehouse.go/five_day_review -- now returns a 404 error. But that might mean very little.) The Next Right's Patrick Ruffini is needling the White House to air the massive stimulus package for a work week. But there the administration has an easy out: they only promised to post "non-emergency" legislation.
Maryland Legislature to Facebook: Friend Request Denied: As a supposed fix for "viruses and malware," the Maryland General Assembly has taken to blocking Facebook and My Space, reports Judd Legum on his new "New Line" blog. (You might recognize Legum's name from past stints at the Center for American Progress and the Clinton campaign.) Legum's commenters note that the directive came from the assembly's IT director, and suggest that such a sweeping decision should have been better vetted. After all, they note, business -- the people's and otherwise -- does get done on Facebook.
The Remixable President: At least one of our editors was counting the days until this happened. Audio cuts of some of the more, um, colloquial passages from Obama's recording of his "Dreams From My Father" are now bopping around the web.
Selling Howard Dean: Ahh, it's good to see the old Marydale font back! DeanforHHS.com has launched, looking a lot like a Dean campaign site from days gone by. It's actually registered to Luigi Montanez, a Democratic online operative (and sometime tP contributor). Relatedly, the Dean for HHS Facebook group is pushing some 5,000 members. Dean's record as governor is the focus of the new site, though there's, to be sure, a well placed photo of the former DNC chair stumping in front of a bank of Obama-Biden posters. In his endorsement, Florida freshman rep Alan Grayson's makes a case for Dean that's certainly a sign of the times. "He's progressive, he's experienced, he's effective, and" as ghosts of Tom Daschle dance in the background, "he's vetted."
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Transparency?: New York Times' Brad Stone says EightMaps.com -- mapping of who contributed to the passage of California's anti-same-sex marriage ballot measure -- might be an example of disclosure rules "undermining the same democratic values that the regulations were to promote."
In Case You Missed It...
Noting House Republican Pete Hoekstra's Twittering from Baghdad -- in apparent violation of a zipped-lip agreement around the trip -- Nancy Scola notes that "legislator-journalists" might join the list of things sticking in traditional media's craw. And Matt Burton asks what Hoekstra's tweeting means for the future of Congress on Twitter.
Mobile Voter's Ben Rigby's has posted a rich piece on virtual volunteerism -- including his new project, The Extraordinaries -- that is sparking a spirited discussion. Do check it out.
Finally, we're thrilled to announce that Peter Daou's seminal "triangle" essay on the limits blog power, which has been nearly impossible to find on the web in recent years, is now being housed at techPresident.