I’m about halfway through David Plouffe’s new book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory, and I’m so jump-up-and-down excited about it that I have to share.
The book has me reliving my own experience volunteering with the Obama campaign. I am enjoying comparing my experiences with the campaign’s strategy and the perspective of volunteers in other states.
I’m about as far into the book as the Texas-Ohio primary date, and having the voice of David Plouffe in the year and a half up to that point is already remarkable. (The Obama campaign started its revolutionary grassroots efforts early in 2007, so there’s quite a bit of story up to this point.) What is actually most striking to me is how much of the book’s details are already familiar, because the Obama campaign staff made a habit of frequent contact to its volunteers with no sugar-coating. Both the overall strategy and the moment-by-moment tactics of the Obama campaign were shared with volunteers around the nation, and big news from the campaign was told to volunteers first.
Ordinary people getting up off their couches and getting organized were the driving force of the Obama campaign. In fact, so many Obama voters and volunteers were completely new to the process. The typical story of primaries beyond the first handful was that the campaign staff would land in the next state(s) to find an already-running, self-organized group of volunteers who got together on my.barackobama.com. As far as I know, this is totally new and unique in American politics, partly due to the available technology and partly due to the unorthodox campaign strategy of giving volunteers a great deal of flexibility and autonomy. Fired up, ready to go!
I believe that we should remember, especially these days with the teabaggers having a field day in the media, that Obama was the outside candidate, the no-more-politics-as-usual candidate, the non-establishment candidate; Hillary Clinton was the Democratic Party establishment candidate. Obama’s core strategy required bringing new voters into the primary process, and he was very successful at that. Obama wanted to change the tone, and he did. Change we can believe in.
Now, with a health care bill finally on the Senate floor for debate, we are only a couple of months away from enacting a major Obama campaign promise — a pillar of his domestic policy — roughly a year into his first term. Yes we can!
Obama has the audacity to hope and to win, and also to do what the voters sent him there to do.