Lots of discussion on the intertubes about Zack “Liberal Hottie” Exley’s HuffPo piece examining Obama’s GOTV operation. There is really only one word for it: impressive. Smart R Patrick Ruffini goes so far as to say it’s superior to the Bush-Cheney model which, as everyone knows, was premised on voter fraud anyway.
Ruffini on Exeley on Obama:
Instead of packing the phone banks early, the Obama campaign built out its organizational pyramid first. Instead of assigning volunteers the daunting task of contacting voters not tuned in, they sicced them on the low-hanging fruit first: other identified supporters on the email list who could volunteer. It’s also clear that building lateral connections among volunteers — deepening their sense of commitment to the cause — is also important, as evidenced by the MyBO groups function. Nor is this some wild-eyed kumbaya idea born of Cesar Chavez or Saul Alinsky. Small groups are the core of many Evangelical congregations. They’re what made Rick Warren and Saddleback.
Incidentally, the #1 form of contact I have received from the Obama campaign — other than emails or text messages — are phone calls urging me to volunteer. The campaign has flagged me as a casual person on the e-mail list, and they have my cell number. And I get bombarded with calls trying to upsell me to volunteer status.
In the summer when McCain didn’t have many volunteers, they should have been calling through the e-mail list to get more volunteers. Instead, they were dependent on a big bang moment (the Sarah Palin selection) which seems to have fizzled out without a strong underlying infrastructure.
As much as it’s fun to believe in the magic of hope and and the power of cool speeches, no one should forget that Obama is where he is because of much, much more than that. Remember when Clinton was comparing Obama to Adlai Stevenson? Not to take away from the accomplishments of charisma, but the discipline with which he’s put the nuts and bolts together suggest he might actually be good at, you know, governing.