Obama Activist Group Fighting Budget Cuts
Organizing for Action won’t let its founder’s legacy be tarnished.
Former President Barack Obama’s well-funded army of community organizers is gearing up to protect Obama’s legacy by fighting the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the federal budget for fiscal 2018.
Organizing for Action (OfA), a 501©(4) nonprofit that functions as a kind of shadow government, is well on its way to becoming the dominant force in Democratic Party politics. OfA is spearheading the “resistance” movement attacking President Trump in order to defend the Obama administration’s awful record. Both OfA and George Soros-funded MoveOn.org have been leading the way in packing town hall meetings with unruly protesters. Many protests OfA has organized have turned into riots.
OfA members are “a generation of militant jerks” who “continue to proliferate protests and militate against everything and nothing,” investigative journalist Paul Sperry has written in the New York Post.
But it is a formidable army of “militant jerks.” OfA has more than 30,000 volunteers nationwide. It doesn’t legally have to disclose its donors and is at the head of Obama’s network of left-wing nonprofit groups. OfA claims to be training 25,000 people as organizers.
In the near future, OfA plans to attack the proposed spending reductions in the federal budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 “with the same state- and district-focused strategy” it recently used to help defeat Obamacare-repeal legislation in Congress, Edward-Isaac Dovere writes at Politico.
OfA is working to prevent cuts to federal grants to Planned Parenthood. It is also fighting what it calls President Trump’s attempt to roll back protections for “our national monuments, parks, and public lands.”
And OfA is already making plans to conduct a huge voter registration drive for off-year congressional elections in 2018 “that could become its main project ahead of the midterms.”
After Donald Trump won the election in November, OfA doubled its staff to 40 full-time workers in Chicago and two dozen in other states, as well as contractors in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, and Ohio. It now has 102 chapters, each of which must host at least two events every month, as well as run a fellowship program. OfA hosts a teleconference every day at 9:45 in the morning and has a full-time employee focused on coalition relations.
The group decided not to wade into battles involving President Trump’s cabinet nominees, according to Dovere.
“Being aware of what and how you’re organizing people is something that we in the progressive world haven’t always done well,” said Jen Warner, who came back to OFA as the national organizing director after a stint as Clinton’s deputy field director in Ohio. “You can’t mobilize for eight years. That will burn everyone out.”
OfA opted to focus on preserving Obamacare from the Republican onslaught.
“You had people who had the courage to finally get up,” said Warner. “Nobody wants to be part of something where you’re just standing on a corner shouting at the wind.”
According to OfA’s statistics, “1.1 million people who signed up to take some kind of action, which resulted in 2,500 events that OFA hosted or participated in; 40,000 people trained in person or by webinar; and 110,000 calls made to members of Congress and volunteers.”
Last month the group churned out propaganda aimed at Americans’ emotions, encouraging supporters to call senators to put the heat on them. Mass anti-Obamacare-repeal emails were signed by Hollywood celebrities Jamie Lee Curtis and Debra Messing.
A non-celebrity-endorsed mass email to supporters on July 25 stated:
Here’s what Mitch McConnell and other Senate leaders don’t understand:
Cancer doesn’t have partisan leanings. Heart attacks and asthma don’t target political parties. And all Americans, regardless of age or income or background, deserve access to affordable health care.
Every senator working to rip health care away from millions of people must know: Our movement will never stop fighting.
In the early days of the Trump administration, Organizing for Action activists organized protests across the country. After President Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning visitors from seven terrorism-plagued Muslim countries, OfA organized “spontaneous” demonstrations at airports.
OfA has been moving forward on many policy fronts in recent months. The group has been defending Obama-era climate change measures, oppressive gun control laws, Obamacare, Obama’s various attempts at immigration amnesty, and so-called net neutrality rules, to name just a few.
OfA developed a training manual for protesting President Trump and disrupting Republican events. Activists used tactics from the manual earlier this year to wreak havoc at GOP lawmakers’ town hall meetings. Working with MoveOn.org and a group called Indivisible, OfA has developed tools to help protesters locate town hall meetings to disrupt. Talking points and scripts for question-and-answer sessions are provided.
The manual advises activists on how to intimidate GOP office-holders into withdrawing support for Obamacare repeal, cutting immigration from terrorist-prone Muslim nations, and constructing a wall on the nation’s southern border with Mexico.
OfA, which grew out of Obama’s electoral campaigns, has upwards of 250 offices across America. His other nonprofit, the Barack Obama Foundation, is building Obama’s $675 million presidential library in Chicago. The library is slated to become a hub of left-wing activism.
Obama now owns and lives in a $8.1 million, 8,200-square-foot, walled mansion in Washington’s Embassy Row that he is using to command his cadres in the war against all things Trump. Obama’s alter ego, Valerie Jarrett, has moved into the house to help out. Jarrett also resided in the White House when Obama was president.
No ex-president has ever stuck around the nation’s capital to vex and undermine his successor. Of course, Obama is unlike any president the United States has ever had. Even failed, self-righteous presidents like Jimmy Carter, who has occasionally taken shots at his successors, didn’t stay behind in the nation’s capital to obstruct the policy-making of the new administration.
In his article, Dovere spins a particularly outrageous yarn.
The organization inspired by Obama hasn’t heard from him in months, though a person close to the former president said he’s likely to lend his support later this year to OFA as well as the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. That could include fundraising and other help, but not a direct leadership role.
Dovere must be thinking of a different Obama in a parallel universe.
It beggars belief that Obama would not have a leadership role at OfA. Only a gullible person or a left-wing reporter – but I repeat myself – would believe that. It’s just not the way Obama does things. And high-level left-wing activists close to Obama have admitted they routinely find ways to go around federal laws. Deception is the name of the game now that Democrats follow the Saul Alinsky playbook.
Obama is “intimately involved” in OfA’s operations and issues tweets from the group’s account, Sperry has written. “In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.”
Dovere writes that six months into the presidency of Donald Trump, who has vowed to undo Obama’s destructive polices, OfA “has found new life” as “the lead organizing hub of the Trump resistance.”
OFA has organized thousands of people to attend events protesting the president’s policies, while also advising new progressive groups taking shape. Matt Traldi, a top organizer at Indivisible, met with OFA in January for a primer on what the group does and how. Others, like Swing Left, have come for crash courses. And since April, some 1,000 people in 29 states have participated in the group’s six-week fellowship program.
“If anything changed, it’s the interest level of people who were not previously active — not the type of people, but the numbers,” said [OfA executive director Katie] Hogan.
Democrat office-holders have sought OfA’s help with their events. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.), and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) have put their names on the group’s mass emails. So have Reps. John Lewis (Ga.), Joe Kennedy III (Mass.), and Ruben Gallego (Ariz.).
Most of the opposition groups that have sprouted up since Trump won are election-oriented and inexperienced in coordination. OFA believes it now has the tools and know-how to keep the fight going when others will fade or stumble.
“Mobilizing in the moment,” Warner said, “is different from organizing in the long term.”
Many Democrats have criticized OfA for curbing the role that more traditional party organs play in the political process.
The activism of Obama and OfA may be diverting donations that otherwise could have gone to the Democratic National Committee.
Despite President Trump’s historically low public approval numbers, the DNC is being creamed by the RNC in fundraising. In June the DNC took in $5.5 million, compared to the RNC’s $13.5 million in the same month. So far this year the DNC has raised $38.2 million, compared to the RNC’s $75.4 million.
The DNC began 2017 with $10.5 in cash-on-hand, but that sum has dropped to $7.5 million. The RNC began the year with $25.3 million in cash-on-hand, and that figure has surged to $44.7 million. At the end of June, the DNC had $3.3 million in debt, while the RNC has no debt.
At the same time the Obama Foundation has been raking in the dough. Its website disclosed last month that at least eight donors had given the foundation donations of more than $1 million each.
If Democrats persist in hyping their crazy Trump-Russia electoral collusion conspiracy theory, donations to the DNC are likely to continue plummeting. Democrat pollster Mark Penn has been warning for weeks that the public is tiring of the Russian collusion story and that Democrats are taking a huge risk by continuing to push the theory.
Organizing for Action appears to be wisely sidestepping the issue, which is probably helping the group in its bid to supplant the DNC.
It’s hard to believe OfA could be so politically astute without the guiding hands of Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett.