In a frank op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday, they contrasted Obama’s campaign promises of organizing and confrontation with the sometimes middling approach to mobilizing healthcare reform:
Throughout the campaign, Obama cautioned that enacting his ambitious plans would take a fight. In a speech in Milwaukee, he said: "I know how hard it will be to bring about change. Exxon Mobil made $11 billion this past quarter. They don’t want to give up their profits easily."
He explained what it would take to overcome the power of entrenched interests in order to pass historic legislation. Change comes about, candidate Obama said, by "imagining, and then fighting for, and then working for, what did not seem possible before." … But in the battle for health-care reform, the president and his allies are ignoring his own warning. The struggle for universal medical insurance… is in trouble.
For months the president insisted that any significant reform of the health-care system include a "public option" … Republicans have made it clear that they won’t support any plan that competes with the insurance industry … In the past few weeks, Obama has hinted that he might settle for reform without a public option, thus assuaging the Baucus caucus and the insurance industry but angering many of his progressive supporters. At the same time, Obama’s readiness to compromise hasn’t mollified members of the small but vocal right-wing Republican network… If the unholy alliance of insurance industry muscle, conservative Democrats’ obfuscation and right-wing mob tactics is able to defeat Obama’s health-care proposal, it will write the conservative playbook for blocking other key components of the president’s agenda — including action on climate change, immigration reform and updates to the nation’s labor laws.
The article goes on to apportion the blame widely — not simply knocking Obama or OFA management, but also unions, liberal advocacy organizations and "netroots groups" — and it credits conservatives for wielding stronger organizing tactics this summer. That’s an especially significant argument coming from Ganz, a progressive organizing guru who has worked with everyone from Cesar Chavez to Howard Dean to Obama, including recording an endorsement for the Illinois Senator at the inception of the presidential campaign (video below). Here’s the key criticism: