Welcome to the Obamabunker. While the party continues at the White House, the community-organizer-in-chief is quietly preparing for war.
Back in November, I wrote that Obama was plotting to use OFA to set the agenda.
In his post-election conference call with his OFA troops, Obama told them, “I’m giving you like a week and a half to get over it”. Then it would be time to “move forward not only to protect what we’ve accomplished, but also to see this as an opportunity”.
Obama is not a conventional politician. He’s an organizer and a campaigner at the vanguard of a radical movement that seeks to control traditional institutions, but doesn’t feel bound by them. Unlike Bill Clinton, his plans don’t begin and end with the White House. As an organizer, Obama is equipped to build bases of power outside traditional institutions. And that is exactly what he is doing.
“The network that you represent, you're perfectly poised to do that,” Obama told his OFAers. “In other words, now is the time for some organizing.”
While the leftist rioters in the streets are garnering the most attention, the real threat comes from the network of staffers dubbed Obama Anonymous which are beginning to organize and coordinate. OFA is Obama’s equivalent of the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons built Clintonworld around staffers, but its goal was harvesting money. Obama Inc. is being built around organizing and activism. Like Clintonworld, it will be a network encompassing a variety of political and non-profit institutions. Unlike them, it will be much less focused on directing money to its bosses in preparation for an election. Instead it will function like a traditional leftist movement, merging influence operations with crowdsourced mobilization.
OFA will be far more dangerous in the wild than the Clinton Foundation ever was. The Clintons hoped to ride back to power on a giant wave of money. Obama is taking a much more radical course.
Now we are quietly hearing of a hiring boom at OFA.
Already, former aides are revamping Organizing for Action, the group formed out of his old campaign structure. No longer about backing up Obama’s agenda in the White House, it will be a nexus for training activists and candidate recruitment, reshaped both by Trump’s win and some of the factors that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Though OFA has been mostly quiet over the last two months and made no formal announcements, its Chicago headquarters has been filling up with new hires, including several old campaign aides, who are planning to focus on the mechanics of campaigns, from running Obama-style persuasion programs, integrating data and running paid canvassing operations. Though the first goal is designing the program for what they’ll aim to make hundreds of workshops nationwide, there’s already talk moving toward endorsing candidates.
Obviously. OFA will displace CAP and become the core of the Dems. All of this will be built around the cult of personality of O.
The parts of Obama’s post-presidency that will touch on politics fall into four main categories, according to people familiar with the plans: the retooled OFA, a non-partisan training center for grassroots organizing that will be part of his Chicago-based foundation, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee run by his former attorney general Eric Holder, and his personal capacity as a former president in endorsing, campaigning and fundraising for other candidates.
They'll all be integrated. And, despite the claims, they'll all be partisan.
In addition to hiring of former White House political director David Simas as the CEO of the Foundation, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s closest aides, is expected to stay associated with the former president’s office for at least a stretch.
Of course he will. Rhodes is Obama's Iago.
Michael Blake, who worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign and in the White House before winning an Assembly seat in the Bronx, said he’s been part of quite a few of those conversations himself, and that was part of what convinced him to make his current run for vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Ignore the spin. Just like Clintonworld, Obama Inc. needs to take over the DNC in order to be able to set the agenda.
Obama intends to run the Democratic party. And as much of the country as he can.