A week ago, President Obama launched his second term with a set of lofty goals -- climate change legislation, immigration reform, and gun control among them.
Around the same time, Obama's former campaign apparatus announced it would morph into a new group called Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group to promote Obama's policy goals.
The inaugural address's ambitious promises have been pronounced far-fetched; the new nonprofit has been viewed as an intriguing sidelight. But taken together, Organizing for Action could be the key to enacting the president's agenda. Obama's best hope for his aggressive program may lie in the same innovative campaign techniques of grassroots mobilization and data-based field organizingthat got him reelected in November. And if he pulls it off, he could revolutionize lawmaking the way he's already revolutionized campaigns.
Politicians talk about an outside game, but no president has ever commanded a standing army of organized supporters who could be summoned at a moment's notice to put pressure on Washington at his command. That is what Obama is proposing to do, said Addisu Demissie, who served as political director of Organizing for America, the heir to Obama's 2008 campaign organization.