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PORTSIDE  September 2010, Week 5

PORTSIDE September 2010, Week 5

Subject:

Mobilizing the Base that Elected Obama for 2010 and Beyond

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Thu, 30 Sep 2010 21:33:24 -0400

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Mobilizing the Base that Elected Obama for 2010 and Beyond

* Belatedly, Obama remembers his organizing roots -
  E.J. Dionne Jr. interviews Bernie Sanders
* Rallying the two poles of the Democratic base (Harold
  Meyerson on this Saturday's massive march and the Oct. 30
  Jon Stewart-Stephen Colbert rally)

==========

Belatedly, Obama remembers his organizing roots

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Washington Post

September 30, 2010; A27

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/29/AR2010092905385.html

A couple of hours before President Obama offered a boffo
revival of his 2008 campaign persona during a boisterous
rally at the University of Wisconsin, Sen. Bernie Sanders
was analyzing why the president was in a political pickle in
the first place.

Sanders, the independent from Vermont who caucuses with the
Democrats, speaks warmly of Obama. But unlike the man in the
White House, Sanders actually is a socialist and believes
devoutly in grass-roots, class-based politics.

And it is his faith in the power of a progressive movement
organized around a clear set of commitments that lies at the
heart of Sanders's critique of where the president went
wrong.

"Think back to two years ago," Sanders said during an
interview in the only Senate office decorated with a
medallion of Eugene V. Debs, the legendary American
Socialist leader. "There were rallies involving 80,000 to
100,000. Obama was running the best campaign I've seen in my
lifetime -- and I'm pretty critical."

"Why are we where we are today?" he continues. "The most
serious mistake the president made was not, in a sense,
continuing the thrust of his campaign, and [in] forgetting
all he accomplished."

Sanders does not discount what Obama and congressional
Democrats achieved through the economic stimulus, health
care and financial reform. But he argues that by replacing a
mobilizing approach and clear progressive goals with an
insider strategy aimed at compromising with a few moderate
Republican senators, Obama deactivated his own enthusiasts.
These are the very people the president was trying to
motivate in Madison.

Read full story at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/29/AR2010092905385.html

==========

Rallying the two poles of the Democratic base

By Harold Meyerson

Washington Post
September 29, 2010; A21

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/28/AR2010092804877.html

On Saturday, the season's lone march on Washington not
convened by a television personality will unfold in the
shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. Sponsored by One Nation
Working Together -- a coalition of black, Latino, feminist,
gay and lesbian civil rights groups; unions; and
environmental organizations -- the march is clearly intended
as a counterweight to Glenn Beck's religious-right
extravaganza of August. It also has become something between
a counterpoint and a complement to the Jon Stewart-Stephen
Colbert comedic shriek scheduled for late October.

At first glance, the two October marches represent the two
dominant groups in the Democratic base. Saturday's march
aims to bring together the party's long-standing activist
core, which has roots in minority and working-class
communities. The Comedy Central cadenza is likely to bring
out a whiter, more upper-middle-class crowd. The
distinctions between the assemblages may well be plain for
all to see. The overlaps between them may be more subtle.

One overlap, however, is likely to be anything but subtle.
Both marches aim to rally America's liberals in the days
leading up to a midterm election that threatens to put the
nation on a radically more conservative course. "We're
building a get-out-the-vote" operation, says NAACP President
Ben Jealous, who came up with the idea for the rally shortly
after health-care reform passed in March. The Stewart-
Colbert rally has no such explicit agenda, and its
scheduling -- three days before the Nov. 2 election --
wouldn't allow any time for organizational follow-up even if
it had. Nonetheless, the rally clearly is timed to lift
liberal spirits -- keeping irony, and perhaps even hope,
alive -- on the eve of the elections.

That said, the programmatic agenda of this Saturday's march
is likely to appeal to virtually everyone who turns out for
the Stewart-Colbert Octoberfest. It signals a convergence of
agendas among liberalism's distinct activist groups.
Jealous, who has brought a new measure of dynamism and
strategic savvy to the venerable NAACP, has prodded his
organization and a number of African American church groups
to support gay and lesbian rights. More middle-class
environmental and gay and lesbian groups back the rally's
call for job creation through a range of Keynesian measures.
All the groups involved this weekend have endorsed the
legalization of undocumented immigrants.

Read full story at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/28/AR2010092804877.html

==========

_____________________________________________

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