NYT Shocker: 'Health Debate Fails to Ignite Obama’s Grass Roots'

Here's a headline I bet you never expected to see at the New York Times: "Health Debate Fails to Ignite Obama’s Grass Roots."

Go inside the piece published Saturday, and you'll find even more surprises (h/t James Pinkerton):

Mr. Obama engendered such passion last year that his allies believed they were on the verge of creating a movement that could be mobilized again. But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago.

More than a dozen campaign volunteers, precinct captains and team leaders from all corners of Iowa, who dedicated a large share of their time in 2007 and 2008 to Mr. Obama, said in interviews this week that they supported the president completely but were taking a break from politics and were not active members of Organizing for America.

For those unfamiliar, Organizing for America is the offshoot of the President's campaign arm Obama for America:

“It’s a waste of time,” said Gilbert P. Sierra of Davenport, a Democrat who attended an Organizing for America meeting, where about 100 people gathered to vent frustrations and discuss how they could stand up to conservative critics. “Why spend money on this and only be talking to the choir?” [...]

Some of the activists Mr. Obama attracted to politics remain involved, but audiences at the Organizing for America events were largely filled with party stalwarts like Lynda Smith, 67, who retired from her factory job to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart. She initially supported Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, but now is a fierce advocate for Mr. Obama.

“People came out of the woodwork for Obama during the campaign, but now they are hibernating,” Ms. Smith said. “Now it is hard to find enough volunteers to fight the Republicans’ fire with more fire.” [...]
But even among those who turned out for the meetings, many of whom had Obama buttons affixed to their shirts and spoke glowingly of the president, there was a sense of fatigue at the prospect of returning to the political calisthenics the Obama army once required.

In the end, it looks like Obama spent all his literal and figurative political capital getting elected and passing a stimulus package.

Though this is not surprising, that the Times would point it out certainly is.

Readers are encouraged to review Tom Blumer's article on this piece.

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Noel Sheppard's picture


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