The bloom is off the rose, though, with some audacious gardening, it could return.
Arianna Huffington's review of David Plouffe's new book on the Obama campaign, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory,
reiterates again and again how the campaign team would ask themselves
if they were retaining the vision and values the campaign determined it
wanted to maintain. If they determined they were not hewing to them,
they'd re-evaluate, refresh and get back to those values of not doing
things the same old way. They went back to seeking real change and not
getting sucked into the DC undertow of same old.
Yesterday's election shows that they have failed to keep to that policy.
Maybe Obama appointed too many people with White house experience.
Maybe Obama has been distracted with a plethora of genuine crises
and challenges, so he's put the "Vision thing" of change lower down on
the priority list.
But the people of America-- the mass of independents and young people-- who elected Obama fell in love.
They fell in love with a man who had the courage to stand up for change.
They fell in love with a man who spoke to them with words so powerful and moving Shakespeare would have approved.
They fell in love with the idea that a strong, principled leader
could go to Washington, and if given the power, really make changes
The off season election has shown us that the glow on the romance is fading, at best.
Something was lost when Obama moved to the Whitehouse, something
Plouffe describes in his book which existed during the campaign,
It's easy to get distracted by crises and the demands of a house,
where a thousand demands are thrust upon you daily, where your trusted,
closest advisers each bring their pet issues and values to you.
And you never know, when you have someone, or a nation, or a world
of people tired of George Bush fall in love with you, what it was that
caused them to fall in love with you.
Arianna Huffington writes, in her extraordinary review of Plouffe's book, titled,Obama One Year Later: The Audacity of Winning vs. The Timidity of Governing
...key takeaway from the book: the fact that everything in
the campaign flowed, as Plouffe puts it, from Obama's conviction that
"the country needed deep, fundamental change; Washington wasn't
thinking long-term... the special interests and lobbyists had too much
power, and the American people needed to once again trust and engage in
Axelrod -- or "Ax" as Plouffe refers to him throughout the book --
summed up at the beginning of the campaign the core elements of the
message that would guide them: "change versus a broken status quo;
people versus the special interests; a politics that would lift people
and the country up; and a president who would not forget the middle
Running a different kind of campaign became "shorthand" for the
campaign. Whenever they found themselves drifting towards standard
political behavior, they'd ask themselves: "If we do this, how is that
running a different kind of campaign?"
As Plouffe told me: "We made sure that everyone we hired
internalized our core message and defaulted to those touch points when
making decisions. For our break-the-rules strategy to work, we all had
to remain faithful to its principles all the time."
Arianna quotes Plouffe, "D.C. is a swamp of conventional wisdom and insiders that can suck
a campaign down, and we needed to think differently." then observes,
"Maybe the answer to the last nine months is to move the White House to Chicago.
Indeed, reading the book, I often found myself wondering what
Candidate Obama would think of President Obama. Would he look at what
the White House is doing and say, "that's what I and my supporters
worked so hard for?"
How did the candidate who got into the race because he'd decided
that "the core leadership had turned rotten" and that "the people were
getting hosed" become the president who has decided that the American
people can only have as much change as Olympia Snowe will allow?
How did the candidate who told a stadium of supporters in Denver that
"the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the
same old players and expect a different result" become the president
who has surrounded himself with the same old players trying the same
old politics, expecting a different result?
How could a president whose North Star as a candidate was that he
"would not forget the middle class" choose as his chief economic
advisor a man who recently argued against extending unemployment
benefits in the middle of the worst economic times since the Great Depression?
David Plouffe writes in response to Arriana Huffington, an article titled, No Difference Between President Obama and Candidate Obama. He argues that
"During the campaign, the president offered three core promises to the
First, he promised to wake up every day thinking about how to improve the lives of the middle class...
...President Obama's second core campaign promise was to make
government more transparent and accountable, to rebuild a sacred trust
that had been seriously eroded.
The third core pillar the president offered America was the chance
to rebuild and strengthen our relationship with the rest of the world.
Doing so would to allow us to solve shared problems and maximize shared
opportunities, and to more effectively confront the terrorism and
foreign policy challenges faced by the entire world.
Plouffe walks us through how Obama has delivered on these "core promises," in a response to Arianna's review.
The problem is, love doesn't work that way. People fell in love with
their expectation of what Obama AND the Democrats who were elected, to
a large extent on his coattails, would do.
The DEMOCRATS, who the American people gave extraordinary power, are
frittering it away. Even if Plouffe is right technically, that does not
matter when it comes to Obama's love affair. He must deliver on what
they expect from him-- leadership of the Democratic party-- leadership
that gets things done and that stands up to the minority Republicans
the election created.
One thing Obama may have campaigned for, which people did not vote
for was the passage of bi-partisan bills. They gave Obama such a strong
congressional lead that he doesn't need to do bi-partisan.
When you entrust great power AND love to someone, it is their
responsibility to use the power and give back at least some of the
love-- to show the lover that the love is two way. There's a lot of
trust in giving love and even more trust in giving love AND power.
Obama started cutting into that trust by appointing wolves in the
henhouse-- Geithner and Summers, to name a few. and Greg Craig, who, as
Whitehouse counsel, is advising Obama regarding FISA wiretaps,
Guantanamo, Torture, impeachment, investigations of Bush and Cheney,
keeping Bush appointed, Rove trained Justice Department attorneys in
place... These are the things that are making that love affair with
Obama harder and harder to keep alive.
This fall's off season election sends a message to Obama. I'm
reading my own tea leave version from here in Bucks County PA, one of
the two bell weather counties that usually decide PA elections. Here in
Bucks county, where Obama was VERY successful, where Bob Casey
obliterated Rick Santorum, Republicans swept the line offices
countywide by a 15-20 point margin. The independents gave them the win.
The glow is gone for them.
Things do not look promising for next year's gubernatorial election or congressional elections-- for house or senate.
It's not too late. Obama could either straighten out Pelosi and
Reid, and get them moving. Today, the news headline, reported by the
Wall Street Journal print edition, is "democrats say early health-care vote isn't likely"
It's hard to understand how the Democrats can think that they can
just put this on a side burner. Extending the love analogy, this is
like going through a lot of heavy foreplay and then telling your lover
you feel like playing poker or going shopping. This can only further
hurt the Democratic party and its chances for the 2010 elections.
Americans gave incredible power to the Democrats and their leader,
Obama, and even if Plouffe is right, and he is following through on his
long term, big picture commitment and vision, there is a lot more at
The American people were abused for eight years-- brutally lied to,
defrauded, subjected to incredible corruption, left economically raped
and traumatized. They want things made right, not kept "as usual."
That's not change. The changes Plouffe describes are all well and good,
but they don't get to the core of the needs Americans have now. We gave
power. We want it used. That means going to the congress with the
majority votes given and passing a shitload of serious, solid
legislation. That means taking the bluedogs Rahm Emanuel had a major
role in putting in place and getting them in line, on board with the
program. That means passing health care reform legislation even more
robust than Obama talked about, since he never expected to have the
house and the senate. It means cleaning up Guantanamo, reversing the
Patriot act. It means throwing out every Goldman Sachs insider in
government, just like the people of New Jersey did.
Love is blind for a while. It can even tolerate unfaithful
dalliances-- like Obama's cheating on the American people by appointing
Geithner, Summers and other wolves in the hen house.
But un-requited love turns to pain and bitterness and anger. That's
what's happening in America. Obama needs to give back some of the love
and show that his cheating on the American people is over. That means
he needs to replace some of the people who have shown they put Wall
Street over main street. And he needs to be a man and take charge of
the congress, because they can't do it without him.
Some on the far left and far right will say that there are not many
differences between the Democrats and Republicans. During the election,
those people voted for Nader, McKinney and Barr. There are a whole lot
more of those people now. The latest polls show that there are more
independents than Democrats and less than 20% who identify themselves
as Republicans. Obama cold win a lot of those people back.
Huffington finishes her review, reporting and observing,
I asked Plouffe if the president had read the book. "He
read a couple of sections in it," he replied, "and even discovered a
couple of things he didn't know."
Well, if the president wants to make sure he doesn't let down the
millions who believed he really would change the rotten system, he
should read the The Audacity to Win from beginning to end -- and rediscover a whole host of things he knows, but seems to have forgotten.
Then he can complete the journey from The Audacity of Hope and The Audacity To Win to The Audacity to Govern.
I agree. The Democrats in congress have long shown major problems
losing their keys and their spines-- they've lost the keys to getting
things done and they've rarely found the courage to take tough stands
and take on those nasty, tough Republicans. Obam needs to become an
audacious LEADER. Consensus is good. Bottom up participation is good.
But even the most bottom up operations and organizations must have a
Seneca, the Roman Stoic philosopher, wrote, ""It is not because things
are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that
they are difficult." Obama needs to take that idea and lead the
Democrats with daring, and he will find that America's love for him
will grow greater than before. But if he fails to audaciously lead and
govern, his fulfilling the promises Plouffe lists will not do the job
and the Democrats will fail disastrously, come November 2010.
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.
Check out his platform at RobKall.com
He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity
He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites, OpEdNews.com
more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.
Rob Kall Wikipedia Page
Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 400 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Or check out my Youtube Channel
Rob Kall/OpEdNews Bottom Up YouTube video channel
Rob was published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com for several years.
Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.
To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article.
For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V.. and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years.
Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table Talk Nation Radio interview by David Swanson: Rob Kall on Bottom-Up Governance June, 2017
Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. .
To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here. Watch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.
Follow Rob on Twitter & Facebook.
His quotes are here
Rob's articles express his personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.
Join the conversation:
On facebook at Rob Kall's Bottom-up The Connection Revolution
and at Google Groups listserve Bottom-up Top-down conversation