A recent CBS news story discussed the broad failure of the Obama administration to energize a jobs-hungry electorate, and openly wondered at how it would do it. Seemingly on cue, David Plouffe, one of the Obama administration’s leading strategists, spoke to a public Organizing for America meeting about how the administration planned to duplicate its success in a critical swing district — which was none other than the race between Steve Stivers and Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15:
Among first-time voters, Plouffe said the turnout percentage favoring Obama versus McCain was 71-27. To tap into this reservoir of Obama support, he ticked off the following operational strategies: door-to-door canvassing, phone calls, pledge-to-vote cards, events, trainings and happenings, improvement to OFA’s website and bulking up online tools, building neighborhood teams and neighborhood organizing, a term of which he said, “Sorry Sarah Palin, we believe in that term.”
June 5 and 6 will be a national knock on doors campaign, an effort of which Plouffe said, “there is no substitute for it.”
Using the voter files OFA has for every state identifying where first-time voters are located, Obama volunteers will use neighbor-to-neighbor strategies to reach out to them through OFA’s website. First-time voters and eligible voters who have not registered to vote yet often do not use normal news channels, so Plouffe believes social networking is even more important now to tap transient populations, like students, and turn online relationships into offline face-to-face encounters, where Obama’s agenda, both his accomplishments to date and other issues he wants to pursue, can be dispensed with facts and arguments supporting both the president and those elected officials who can be expected to mostly support him.
So in other words, OFA and its campaign allies are going to mount a valiant, humble, grassroots effort where first-time voters like young people and minorities are energized by volunteers who, while they may be short on cash, are high on zeal and youthful enthusiasm?
…Well, not quite. Battle ‘10 recently received a copy of one of the fliers being passed around Ohio State University to recruit for the Kilroy campaign’s volunteer corps. As you’ll see, it doesn’t exactly play off students’ sense of civic virtue:
Paid volunteers, eh? I may be nitpicking, but isn’t the word for that “Campaign Staff”? And is this the Organizing for America juggernaut we’re supposed to be afraid of? Kids who are being paid to show up to the polls and knock on doors? Somehow I doubt Obama had to be this mercenary in 2008 — his little group must be getting really desperate.