Most all who have ever volunteered or worked on a political campaign – regardless of political affiliation – can agree on one thing: Campaigns are addictive.
For me, political campaigns are my drug of choice. Though often hazardous to my health, checking account and waist line, for me, there is no high quite like the one I receive from a long, hard fought day on the campaign trail.
I love the county fairs, the small town parades, the yard signs, the phone banking, the block walking, the high dollar fundraisers, the bus tours and the ceaseless number of rubber chicken dinners. I love huddling in an office with fellow staffers thinking up aliases to use when calling into radio shows the opposition is appearing on (Hi, I am Katy from Searcy) and looking over the latest poll numbers.
Basically, I love every last moment I spend on the campaign trail.
So, I understand President Obama and his team’s hesitation to put his campaign days behind him. After all, I hate putting mine behind me. But, well, the difference between Barack and me is, I am not the Leader of the Free World. Nor have I been elected to represent ALL Americans – not just the left leaning or those willing to donate major bucks to advance a particular cause.
Currently, many of President Obama’s top campaign officials are working their way around the country in efforts to shift the President’s re-election campaign into a national advocacy group aimed at pushing and supporting the White House’s agenda.
While Obama’s former staffers working to further an agenda they fully believe in may seem pretty routine and come as no shock, the kicker to this ordeal is that, basically, they are trying to sell the White House.
Organizing for Action – Obama’s new advocacy group – has been set up as a 501(c) 4 organization, which qualifies them for tax-exempt status, and allows them the ability to withhold their donor list from the public. The President and his advisers have made it clear that this group will focus on high-dollar donors only, and has little interest in engaging the average American – ya know, like the one he was elected to represent?
According to a recent New York Times article, donors who contribute $50,000 to OFA will be invited to a “founders summit” next month in which they will be able to bend the ear of Jim Messina, Obama’s former campaign manager, and Jon Carson, who previously led the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. If this little stunt didn’t reek enough, donors who contribute in the $500,000 range will be appointed to the groups advisory, who will meet FOUR times a year with President himself.
While the OFA officials refute these claims, many in Washington (and across the US) have expressed their concern –and disgust – for such blatant disrespect for the Office of the Presidency. Just this week, the watch dog group Common Cause has called on President Obama to shut down his new advocacy group and put an end to any rumor that there is in fact a for sale sign at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Under no circumstances should the White House be for sale. The Office of the Presidency is one that should be held in great esteem and what Obama and his officials are doing has (once again) lessened the prestige of the Oval Office. This is simply not OK with me – and it shouldn't be OK with President Obama either.
This country was built by hard working individuals, many who consider themselves to be members of the ‘middle class’ (ya know, the group that President Obama and his party so often claim to support), yet instead of focusing on that majority of Americans, Mr. President has made it very clear that really only the top 1% matter, and therefore should have their voices heard much louder than the rest of the county. Isn't this the deadly sin Democrats typically accuse their neighbors across the isle of committing?
President Obama needs to realize, while difficult as it may be, it is time to walk away from the campaign trail and begin to do the job the American people elected him to do – lead. It’s been over 1400 days since the Senate has passed a budget. National spending is out of control. Unemployment is at almost 8%. President Obama really has bigger fish to fry right now and I think its high time he got into the kitchen and got off the campaign trail.
So, Mr. President, take a moment, walk out of the Oval Office and remove the ‘For Sale’ sign in your front yard. The American people will thank you.
QUESTION: Do you think groups like Organizing for Action should be able to promise access to the White House? Or should laws be put into place to prevent such practices?