Crossposted from They Gave Us a Republic. Michael and I will both be on the conference call with the President and his senior aides a little later this afternoon, and we will be tweeting during the call. My feed is here and Michael’s is here.
Republicans like Jim DeMint might want healthcare to be Obama’s Waterloo, and indeed it will probably be somebody’s – either his or theirs. Fortunately, this President isn’t a candy-assed Democrat, nor is he fighting them unarmed or without backup. He assembled a huge online community of his supporters during the campaign, running on a promise to reform healthcare, and he is mobilizing them.
Six months into his presidency, Barack Obama may have no greater test of his ability to translate personal popularity into a successful legislative agenda than the upcoming two weeks.
With skepticism about the president’s health-care reform effort mounting on Capitol Hill — even within his own party — the White House has launched a new phase of its strategy designed to dramatically increase public pressure on Congress: all Obama, all the time.
Senior White House aides promise “an aggressive public and private schedule” for Obama as he presses his case for reform, including a prime-time news conference on Wednesday, a trip to Cleveland, and heavy use of Internet video to broadcast his message beyond the reach of the traditional media.
“Our strategy has been to allow this process to advance to the point where it made sense for the president to take the baton. Now’s that time,” said senior adviser David Axelrod. “I don’t know whether he will Twitter or tweet. But he’s going to be very, very visible.”
Another senior White House aide added: “It’s time to raise the stakes on this.”
Visible? Well, audible at least. Last night the first blow landed when emails landed in the inboxes of quite a few bloggers, including yours truly, inviting us to participate in a conference call with the President and senior members of his staff late this afternoon.
See, Obama didn’t just build a huge army of supporters online, he built a network of wonky bloggers who can do wonderful things when given access to reports and studies, and given the inherent liberal bias of facts – well that is a huge truth-disseminating machine. I had been wondering when that resource was going to be tapped, then I checked my email, and there it was – an invitation to RSVP for a conference call with President Obama and other senior staff to discuss healthcare and the pushback he is preparing to mount against the obstructionists and corporate whores in the Senate and the Blue Dogs in the House.
The M$M may not be willing to go after them – after all, they have jobs and health insurance. They are the rich who will be taxed. Bloggers, on the other hand, absolutely love filing sunshine requests and poring over ethics filings and campaign finance reports. We follow the timeless advice of “follow the money” because it always – always – reveals the hidden reasons and agendas. Every. Single. Time.
Here are the facts: 72% want significant, system-changing health care reform that includes a strong public option and gives everyone access. Over half of us are willing to pay for it, and they are in a pants-pissing panic to stop the momentum before the system changes and the money-tap to congress from insurance and pharmaceutical companies stops flowing.
If President Obama fails – if we fail – on health care, it won’t be for lack of trying, and it won’t be for lack of creative strategy. I find it interesting that he is bypassing the traditional media for the likes of me, don’t you? President Obama is mobilizing his massive machine to counter their spin, and that is where we come in, My Pretties – if we are going to get this done, we have to get organized – so check back here this evening for what we do next. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go study up – it isn’t every day I get to participate in a conference call with the President himself…