Obama’s Grass Roots Lose Enthusiasm by Gregory Hilton

New York Times: Health Debate Fails to Ignite Obama’s Grass Roots by Jeff Zeleny
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/health/policy/15ground.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
Iowa is where the Obama phenomenon began but now “only the most diehard of supporters attend events.” If the New York Times is saying this you know the President’s agenda is in serious trouble. At the time of the Iowa presidential precinct caucuses the major issue was Iraq. The left was outraged when Bush announced a 21,000 troop surge for Iraq in 2007. Obama implemented a 21,000 troop surge for Afghanistan and they yawned.
Byron York noted this in his most recent column in National Review: “I attended the first YearlyKos/NetrootsNation convention, in 2006, and have kept up with later ones, and it’s safe to say that while people who attended those gatherings couldn’t stand George W. Bush in general, their feelings were particularly intense when it came to opposing the war in Iraq.
“It animated their activism; they hated the war, and they hated Bush for starting it. They weren’t that fond of the fighting in Afghanistan, either. Now, with Obama in the White House, all that has changed. . . . Not too long ago, with a different president in the White House, the left was obsessed with America’s wars. Now, they’re not even watching.”
The “fierce moral urgency” drained out of the antiwar movement as soon as a Democrat was elected President. Over 13 million people belong to his Organizing for America group and their passionate opposition to the Iraq War rocked the nation a year ago. They have paid organizers in 44 states and they have sponsored TV ads promoting the President’s agenda on health care and climate change. The liberal San Francisco Chronicle is covering major anti-Obama rallies by noting the events are the largest conservative demonstrations the city has seen in many years.
The President is an articulate spokesman for his cause. He has been working diligently but so far he is not having a major impact. He has recruited a few Blue Dogs on the public option such as Mike Ross (D-AR), but September should be a grim month for those supporting the Obama agenda.
The article notes, “Obama engendered such passion last year that his allies believed they were on the verge of creating a movement that could be mobilized again. But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago. . . . ‘People came out of the woodwork for Obama during the campaign, but now they are hibernating,’ Ms. Smith said.”
Dr. Phil Cantrell of Longwood University in Virginia recently wrote to me and said: “You are exactly right about the anti-Iraq War passion. As a professor on several different college and university campuses during those years, I saw my (almost entirely) liberal colleagues incite their students into opposition to the war in an overt way I had not seen before with politics in the classroom. I was “advised” by a much older colleague at Ohio University that I should excuse my students absences when they attended anti-war rallys, especially since, as I was told, ‘This generation was not always treated so kindly by conservative, 1950s era professors when they were protesting Vietnam.’
“I believe that this type of things lies at the heart of the enormous student vote that turned out for Obama as liberal baby-boomer professors saw themselves relieving the Vietnam War. Also, the Today Show ,if you remember, posted daily “body-counts” just as was done during Vietnam to drum up opposition. I believe the student vote will thus be much harder to rally in 2012.”

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