Friday, February 8, 2008

Inspiration into Action

Andrew Sullivan picks up on a theme that has been floating around for a couple of days: that support for Obama has become a self-reinforcing orgy of wish fulfillment, all hype and wonderful feelings. His response is to note that Obama is no dreamer, but a "coolly rational" pragmatist. I agree, would add that Obama doesn't just give a great speech; he knows how to turn the inspiration into action. The great oratory is the icing on the cake, but there's a solid foundation underneath it. Obama didn't win Iowa because he can get a crowd fired up; he won Iowa because, once he got the crowd fired up, he had an organization in place to focus the energy of the people. This was very much my experience in California. We had a huge grassroots operation that made hundreds of thousands of phone calls. The man did extremely well on Super Tuesday in places like Idaho and Alaska. Why? Because he had people there months ago. This is the benefit of being a community organizer: you understand the importance of building an organization. It's not just enough to energize people; you have to have a structure to channel that energy. And it becomes a self-referential experience: you generate some energy, which gets harnessed by your organization. That makes the organization stronger, which allows it to harness and focus ever more energy. The energy from the reaction creates the vessel that contains it.

Thus is the world changed.

1 comment:

Gwennegaia said...

YEA!!! for Obama tonight! Great night - hope this gives him momentum to carry the Potomac primaries.........

I like your comments in the blog........my feelings that Obama has the charisma and leadership to have a chance to do what has to be done in this country is only reinforced as he continues..........

CNN's "Extreme Challenges", which played the other night, was daunting and informative........will be replayed this monday at 11 - well worth watching!!