Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Non-partisan partisans

I've devoted two previous pieces to the new organization known as Organizing for Action, an NPO established by former members of Obama's White House staff and his reelection team. Jim Messina--former White House Deputy Chief of Staff--is currently the national chairman of OFA, while Jon Carson--a key Obama insider who has served in a variety of below-the-radar positions--has just become the executive director. Board members of the org include Stephanie Cutter, Robert Gibbs, and David Plouffe. It's a veritable who's who of Obamaphiles.

And yet Jon Carson had the balls to say the following today (my boldface):
I want to say a word about what we aren’t: We are not a partisan organization. We are here to move this shared progressive agenda forward. We will advocate to Democrats to move that agenda forward. We will advocate to Republicans. But issues are our focus.
From the Organizing for Action website:
Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012.
Taken together, this is some serious dishonesty. Americans did not vote for an agenda on Election Day, they voted for people, political candidates. And Obama won the Presidential Election. Obama did, not an agenda. Just because someone voted for him, it does not follow that the voter in question supports every position the President has, is in favor of every initiative the President offers. And the idea that an organization established by a group of hardcore partisans is not, itself, partisan in nature is just stupid.

Another bit from the OFA website, with reference to the Sequester:
Instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits millionaires and large corporations, Republicans in Congress are choosing to cut vital services for children, seniors, and our men and women in uniform.
Any honest person in their right mind would obviously see the above as partisan rhetoric, no matter if they agreed or disagreed with it. Yet somehow, the group behind the rhetoric is supposed to be non-partisan? Really?

The whole thing seems like some sort of bad joke, or at least it would if the public and much of the media weren't happily lapping it up. The President and the First Lady have both introduced OFA to the American public; the President, in fact, just spoke at the org's Founders' Summit. And let's not forget that the original iteration of OFA promised the following:
Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House.
OFA spokespeople--along with Jay Carney--have insisted that the org is not selling access to the President, but to date no one has specifically denied the above. Somehow, we're supposed to just accept the idea that a private meeting with the President for a $500,000 donation to OFA isn't a problem, isn't selling access. Moreover, Carney continually insists that the White House and the President have no control over OFA.

Pardon? It's staffed by Obama people, it uses Obama's website and his donor mailing lists from the
last campaign, and it is in control of the President's twitter account:
This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.
That little blue check mark by the President's name indicates the account belongs to the actual person--in this case the President--it purports to belong to, that it is not a fake or hoax account. Yet here we have what amounts to a dual purpose account: personal tweets from Obama along with ones from OFA staff. And somehow, we are supposed to believe Obama is not in control of the org. Please. OFA is an arm of the Administration. As I said in my first piece on OFA:
For it appears the Administration is actually trying to establish a Party withing the Party, via a [NPO] that would be tasked with nothing more than promoting agenda items of the Administration, especially controversial or radical ones. The proposed [NPO]--called Organizing For Action--would very much function as an arm of the President, but wholly separate from most governmental controls...  
It's a truly scary idea--for people actually concerned with liberty and individualism--insofar as this step represents an attempt to empower populism as a specific tool of the Chief Executive, a tool that cannot be checked by the reminder of the government. And of course the acceptance of such a creature demonstrates the massive hypocrisy on the part of people who applaud it and would participate in it, people who feign outrage over the amount of money in politics, over the Citizen's United decision, who pretend that the latter was some sort of death knell for democracy.
This group--OFA--is a scary, scary thing. It's not a good idea, it's a sham and a serious impediment to our country's future as a free nation. Even people who otherwise support the President should be troubled by this. The spectre of 1984 is growing.

Cheers, all.

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