But so far, Obama has failed to do what Reagan and Eisenhower did: he has asked his supporters to rally around Democratic causes, but he has balked at asking them to become Democrats. He has asked his loyal enthusiasts to take ownership of a presidency, but not of a party. The distinction matters—you can support a presidency, but you can’t really participate in it. OFA has called on its members to contribute money, make phone calls on a handful of issues, even knock on doors for Democratic candidates running in off-year elections in November (desultory get-out-the-vote efforts which, unsurprisingly, turned out only dribs and drabs of Obama’s electorate for John Corzine and Creigh Deeds in their failed gubernatorial campaigns in New Jersey and Virginia). But it hasn’t asked them to, for instance, work on behalf of primary candidates who reflect their values, shape local party platforms, or run for office themselves. It’s why, for all of its fervent activity, OFA looks less like a movement than a cheering section.
The Democratic National Committee announced details Thursday of a new addition to their get-out-the-vote efforts, which includes a website and a focus on recruiting new voters for the midterm election.
Democratic leaders vowed to spend $50 million, which they describe as an unprecedented sum, for their "Vote 2010" efforts, which include the unveiling of a new "Raise Your Vote" campaign.
Party officials say the new campaign is specifically geared toward making voting registration and getting information about voting as easy as possible for people in any state across the country to access. DNC staffers say this is the first-ever comprehensive voting information and registration hub ever housed at the party headquarters.
"Also unprecedented is the idea that when our organizers hit the doors to register voters and turn them out they will have already built a relationship with them over the last year and a half," said Mitch Stewart, director of Organizing for America, the political arm for President Obama. "This won't be the first time our organizers will have met with the pastor at the local church or the commander at the local VFW post. We're hitting the ground running."