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AP: Obama’s Paid Army = Silent Majority

From Organizing For America’s media adjunct, the Associated Press:

Weez Tomlinson, left, Gail Blanchard, right, and others, listen during a training session regarding health care reform given by Organizing for America, Thursday Sept. 24, 2009, in New York. The gathering provided participants with information to dispel common myths surrounding health care reform.

Fired up? The grass-roots health care battle

By Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer Wed Oct 7

NEW YORK – Fired up? Ready to go? You might not know it from the way President Barack Obama’s grass-roots supporters have been largely drowned out in the raucous debate over his health care plan.

Yes, they’re behind him, officials say — volunteering in their communities and contacting lawmakers in Congress. But some Obama organizers are calling their forces a "silent majority," embracing Republican terminology of long ago. And if the final legislation doesn’t include a government run plan to compete with private insurers, they may be invisible, too.

While opponents of the health care revamp have largely controlled the image war with rowdy town halls and a huge march on Washington last month, Obama supporters have been mobilizing across the country as well, tapping into the unprecedented network his presidential campaign built last year.

"We’re building a long-term organization with leaders in the community who are trained. It was successful in the election and it will be successful again," says Jeremy Bird, deputy director of Organizing for America.

OFA, the pro-Obama effort annexed to the Democratic National Committee, says it has enlisted more than 2 million people in active support of the plan since the beginning of the summer. It recently completed a 19-stop cross country bus tour, and leaders say they have held over 18,000 health care events in all 50 states and 435 congressional districts.

The intensity of such efforts is difficult to gauge, particularly when compared to the angry town hall meetings across the country over the summer and the "tea party" march that drew tens of thousands to Washington. A flood of questions at one recent OFA meeting in New York suggested it’s far easier to ramp up the campaign to defeat the plan, even if proponents are turning out in the large numbers OFA claims.

What, some in the group of 50 or so pro-Obama volunteers asked, are the specifics of the health care bills moving through Congress? Do they all include provisions for end-of-life counseling, which led to the erroneous "death panel" accusations leveled by some Republicans? And will Obama stand firm on the federal insurance option to compete with private coverage?

"Where can we get the information to speak intelligently and cogently about it?" Queens resident David Dawson asked about the plan. Others complained that Obama had waffled on the federal "public option" and suggested they might not get involved in helping push for the overhaul as a result.

Organizer Geoff Berman acknowledged the concerns but urged attendees to focus on other aspects of the plan, including the central provision to keep insurers from refusing coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

"There are other important parts of the health care legislation President Obama doesn’t want to be lost on people by the entire dialogue being about the public option," Berman told the group.

However, Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and 2004 presidential contender, said the public health care plan is essential to motivating the party’s base voters.

"It has to be there. Without the public option, it’s going to be very hard to organize Democrats," Dean said in an interview.

To be sure, not everything is harmonious on the anti-overhaul side either as mainstream Republicans and disaffected conservatives jostle for advantage.

After electoral wipeouts in 2006 and 2008, the Republican National Committee has used the health care debate to help build state parties and increase GOP membership. It’s also proved an effective fundraising tool, with the RNC adding more than 2,400 donors a day in September, up from just under 400 per day in February.

But the most visible anti-revamp organizing has been done by conservatives who say they are fed up with both political parties in Washington

These people have been drawn to the tea party protests largely organized by FreedomWorks, founded by former GOP House Leader Dick Armey…

Debbie Dooley, a FreedomWorks volunteer in Georgia, said she got involved after last year’s federal bank bailout and is now doing most of her organizing around local tax matters and opposition to health care reform.

"To build a grass-roots army and keep them energized, you have to address all the issues," Dooley said

Such efforts have been dismissed by many Democrats as fake grass roots, or "astroturfing." And pro-Obama organizers say that while their campaign may lack the intensity of the anti-Obama forces, it is more strategic and just as committed. No one would expect the exuberance of the president’s "fired up" 2008 election rallies.

At a coffee shop outside Columbus, Ohio, recently, about 20 pro-Obama volunteers phoned through long lists of local Democratic voters, asking them to press members of Congress to support the president’s plan.

"We realized that we need to have Obama’s back," said Peter Kovarik, an adjunct biology professor at Columbus State University and OFA volunteer who said his job didn’t provide health insurance.

Volunteers like Kovarik are giving voice to the "silent majority" that supports Obama’s plan, said Ohio OFA director Greg Schultz.

Once again Mr. Obama’s professional propagandists and their stenographers at the AP turn reality upon its head.

The Tea Parties are called “astroturfing” while Mr. Obama’s DNC paid army of organizers are called the real grass roots – the “silent majority.”

"Where can we get the information to speak intelligently and cogently about it?" Queens resident David Dawson asked about the [healthcare reform] plan.

What could be more grassroots than “training sessions” where the participants are begging to be told what to say?

By the way, the left used to like to point out during the days when Mr. Nixon popularized the phrase, that the “silent majority” originally referred to the dead.

Somehow this time around it seems more apt.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, October 8th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “AP: Obama’s Paid Army = Silent Majority”

  1. proreason says:

    Well, if it’s possible to redefine “is”, then it must be possible to redefine “silent majority”.

    Next, they will redefine “good” to mean “Acorn”, and “devine” to mean “Obamy”.

    You may think I’m being facetious, but redefining the lexicon is a clear part of the overall strategy of the monarch / fasc / social / stat /communists. The evidence is everywhere.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Pro, I’m starting the “Baracktionary” which allows people to read what the boy says, then translate it into what it really means.

      Steve, thanks for putting this up. My post in the “news selected” about this perhaps didn’t get seen. But it’s really comical to note that what was “a few protesters” in Washington is now suddenly a “huge march”.

      *sigh*…the left…..the left….the left….. ugh

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