Nation Net Movement Correspondent Ari Melber joins The Young Turks to talk about Obama’s inability since in office to galvanize the public on a grassroots level and to get any legislation passed through Congress. Based on a column by prominent organizing expert Marshall Ganz, Melber criticizes Obama for not polarizing people around the issues, such as healthcare and the stimulus. Melber discusses Ganz’s argument that "you always polarize to move people; that creates the urgency for action…then you have to be realistic enough once you build power to depolarize and to settle or make a deal." Melber says Obama’s strategy was the opposite; he placed emphasis on bipartisanship first.

Because of this strategy, Melber says, Organizing for America, Obama’s campaign organization that remains tied to Obama, wasn’t in a position to mobilize. "When the president was pursuing a strategy of ‘let’s compromise with everyone,’…OFA wound up being in a very weird position where…there was nothing they were clearly fighting for so there was no strategy," Melber explains.

Melber argues that OFA could have been used in very creative ways, but the administration was too afraid to alienate any Democrats. "I think his folks expected to get a lot more credit for bipartisanship than they’ve gotten," Melber points out. "They thought that by laying out this whole ‘Kum Ba Yah’ outreach that the establishment would have given them more room to maneuver [but it’s been] quite the opposite."

Morgan Ashenfelter

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