Where Is Our Ground Game?

I’ve been on Team Obama’s e-mail list since 2008. I signed up then because I wanted to see whether I would learn the name of Barack Obama’s running mate before the rest of the media found out (as it turned out, CNN informed me that it would be Joe Biden even before Team Obama did), and I stayed on because I wanted to see what the other side is thinking.

Right now, the other side is thinking about how to follow up on its electoral victory of a week ago. I got an e-mail from Jim Messina–the Obama campaign manager–on November 8th, and among other things, it says the following:

Last year, a major American newspaper asked, “Is Obama toast?” As recently as two weeks ago, another ran this headline: “Can Obama win?”

Tuesday night, you all answered all of those doubts with a resounding YES WE CAN. By knocking on doors, organizing phone banks, and chipping in a few bucks when you could, you built a campaign that is unparalleled. And you re-elected our president.

You also proved that millions of ordinary people taking ownership of a cause is still the most powerful force in our political process. You showed that grassroots organizing and small donations are not only the right way to win, but also the most effective way.

How we got here must guide where we go. If we’re going to accomplish the things America voted for on Tuesday, you’ve got to be even more involved in getting them done than you were in giving us all the chance. 

We’ll be in touch soon about how we can get started on some of the President’s top priorities in his second term. 

For now, I just want to say I am so proud of this team. And I can’t wait to see where you take this incredible movement from here.

Thank you — more to come . . .

Emphasis mine.

Lots of campaigns dismantle their ground game operations in the aftermath of an election. The Obama campaign is keeping theirs together for upcoming legislative battles. I figure the chances are good that they will also have it ready for the Democratic presidential nominee to use to ride to victory in 2016.

So, as the title of this post asks, where is our ground game? Are we building something to match Team Obama in anticipation of upcoming legislative fights? Are we building something that might help a future Republican presidential nominee break our losing streak?

And if not, why not?

  1. TeamAmerica

    Who is funding the Dems permanent ground game? And can we match it?

  2. Nealfred

    Things are pretty crap right now. But their plans will not work out and we conservatives should not accept this argument that is based on gov’t should be all things to all people. What we need to do is to spread the gospel of Conservativism one on one and as often as we can. We should point out that the Left has crossed the line with their ideas. That they are bullies.

  3. R. Craigen
    TeamAmerica: Who is funding the Dems permanent ground game? And can we match it? · 39 minutes ago

    You don’t need much funding to send out mass emails.  It’s simply a matter of will.  And somehow convincing the recipients that it isn’t spam.

    The Tea Party was our ground game 2008 – 2010 and it was better than anything the other side had going then, or now.

    You’ll notice all the rhetoric in this email designed to convince the recipient that he/she is part of a vast grassroots movement and the Dems are merely riding on that wave of popular support.  But the email itself is evidence of the exact opposite:  it is a centrally organized machine in which individuals are incentive-less pawns who are supposed to wait quietly for instructions.

    It is clear (particularly with events in the past week) that there has been a concerted effort by the DNC to stifle the influence of the Tea Party.  Assuming that is successful in the main, and observing the collossal disaster that was Orca, I’d say the ground game is reduced to John Boehner going on Fox once a week.

  4. Garrett Petersen

    If Democrats intend to maintain a permanent election campaign, the people involved at the grassroots level will have to dedicate an enormous portion of their lives to politics.  Dennis Prager often calls liberalism a religion, but for these permanent campaigners it will be more like a cult.  Can they maintain something like this?

  5. dittoheadadt

    Our ground game is the same it always is after a loss – we form a circular firing squad.

  6. Lady Egoist

    That’s right.  I’ve received only one Romney-Ryan email since Tuesday; it came on Saturday thanking supporters.

    Our side needs to be comfortable with nagging supporters a little more.

    dittoheadadt: Our ground game is the same it always is after a loss – we form a circular firing squad. · 33 minutes ago

  7. Copperfield

    The RNC needs to come up with a battle plan and enagage those volunteers who worked for Romney during the campaign.  Not that this is anything anyone doesn’t know, but they have to get more effective at micro-targeting, develop an outreach program to Latinos that explains why this community belongs in the Republican fold (perhaps have an infrastructure to teach candidates in Latino-heavy swing states some conversational Spanish), develop a comprehensive immigration reform  program, and develop an infrastructure to educate and train Tea Party and primary-winning insurgent candidates how to couch social conservatism in a federalist way that defers to the freedom of citizens of the states to make their own decisions about many of these emotional issues.  And, they need much better messaging and outreach in general.  I was worried when I took the day off to work the phones on election day and showed up to find out we were calling voters in my state… a solid Southern red state. 

    In short, the RNC needs to employ Adam Schaeffer for micro-targeting, Paul Ryan for a fiscal agenda, and Marco Rubio for messaging… then get us all behind them.  Just my $0.02. 

  8. Indaba

    Good reminder. Elections are won every day.

  9. Patrick in Albuquerque

    I hope the Tea Party is reminding Boehner that if the House caves on fiscal issues, the Republican party is toast.

  10. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    Indeed.  The GOP better figure out fast that the new normal is constant war or we are toast.

  11. Patrick in Albuquerque

    Exactly right. A couple of notes:

    1. As for educating the insurgents about social issues, John Hinderaker said at Powerline in the last couple of days “Never ever talk about gynecology and obstetrics.”

    2. I’m wondering who the money men will trust to carry out your battle plan. It’s not Rove, for sure.

    Copperfield: The RNC needs to come up with a battle plan and enagage those volunteers who worked for Romney during the campaign. 

  12. Tim H.

    I really dislike the permanent campaign.  I didn’t like it when Clinton did it, and I thought it was over-the-top-inappropriate when Obama kept his campaign group together once he was in the White House.  Remember how they even brought in the campaign slogans and styles onto the ostensibly non-partisan White House website?

    I hope this fails miserably, because the last thing I want is for us to have to match them in this.  I’m all for getting our ground game together, but boy, I hope that doesn’t mean the next Republican president feels the need to keep his campaign group going!

  13. JustinC
    Tim H.: I really dislike the permanent campaign. · 27 minutes ago

    I agree with you Tim,  and years ago both parties campaigned hard and the folks went back to work / back to their lives after the election, while the elected went about the business of the nation.  I believe that most Conservatives / Republicans and Independents would still prefer this. 

    Unfortunately Progressives/Socialists LOVE IT. They live for it, it is their defining purpose, it is their life.  Even worse Socialist Progressives own the Democrat party.  

    We will lose unless we take the battle to them.  The RNC needs to be aggressively organizing.  The Democrats will call it “divisive” but it will not stop their 24x7x365 organizing machine (MSM Facebook, Twitter, Email, MSM…)

    Perpetual campaigning is here until the Socialists and Liberal Fascists are no longer a factor in American politics.

  14. R. Craigen
    Lady Egoist:Our side needs to be comfortable with nagging supporters a little more. · 3 hours ago

    I disagree.  Read my earlier comment.  The strength of conservatism is in its grass roots.  Central organization has never served us well.  For one, it doesn’t fit with small-government ideology to organize free citizens in a top-down military style.  We need more Breitbarts, more Tea Parties, more NROs, more ricochets, and we need, as a movement, to spend the next 4 years learning how to preach beyond the choir.   The central body should provide management for the structures that facilitate this kind of individual-strengthened activity.  When conservative principles are embodied in our political actions we always win — witness 2008.  A large part of the failure of 2012 is due to attempts to mimic the Democrat machine’s top-down structure and organization.  That’s not how we roll.

  15. TeamAmerica

    R. Craigen-” We need more Breitbarts, more Tea Parties, more NROs, more ricochets, and we need, as a movement, to spend the next 4 years learning how to preach beyond the choir. ”

    I wish Fox would dump the snide preaching-to-the-choir O’Reilly and Hannity and replace them with the non-confrontational, avuncular-like-Cronkite Dennis Prager and perhaps Dennis Miller and Mark Steyn.

  16. BrentB67

    I think before we worry about a ground game we need to know what the goal is we are trying to achieve.

    What does it mean to be a republican? Does it mean a smaller federal government – not based on any meaningful votes cast in the House. Does it mean a balanced budget – not since the Gingrich years as Speaker. Does it honor the 10th Amendment – not in my lifetime.

    The list can go on. Tell me where the goal post is or how I score a run and I will work with you on the ground game. And ‘against Obama’ is not an objective, it is a cop out for a lack of principles and ideas.

  17. BrentB67
    Patrick in Albuquerque: I hope the Tea Party is reminding Boehner that if the House caves on fiscal issues, the Republican party is toast. · 7 hours ago

    The republicans including all mighty Allen West folded up like Wal Mart lawn chairs in a hurricane in 2011 and voted for this ridiculous ‘fiscal cliff’ situation. They got rolled and Obama has laughed at Boehner everyday since then including through the election of 2012. Now Obama summons the Speaker to the Whitehouse like he is calling Bo the dog and Boehner slithers up there, grovels, cries, and implores his caucus to get in line.

    The republican party is already toast because of they have no fiscal backbone.

  18. Pilli
    BrentB67

    Patrick in Albuquerque: I hope the Tea Party is reminding Boehner that if the House caves on fiscal issues, the Republican party is toast. · 7 hours ago

    The republicans including all mighty Allen West folded up like Wal Mart lawn chairs in a hurricane in 2011 and voted for this ridiculous ‘fiscal cliff’ situation. They got rolled and Obama has laughed at Boehner everyday since then including through the election of 2012. Now Obama summons the Speaker to the Whitehouse like he is calling Bo the dog and Boehner slithers up there, grovels, cries, and implores his caucus to get in line.

    The republican party is already toast because of they have no fiscal backbone. · 53 minutes ago

    Ditto!  

  19. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    Nagging is definitely good. After being nagged, people respond.

    Lady Egoist: That’s right.  I’ve received only one Romney-Ryan email since Tuesday; it came on Saturday thanking supporters.

    Our side needs to be comfortable with nagging supporters a little more. · 13 hours ago

    dittoheadadt: Our ground game is the same it always is after a loss – we form a circular firing squad. · 33 minutes ago

  20. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    “Elections are won every day” is an excellent slogan.

    Indaba: Good reminder. Elections are won every day. · 13 hours ago