Why Did Obama Forget Who Brought Him to the Dance?

Micah L. Sifry in The American Prospect:

I’ve recently spent a good chunk of time engrossed in reading A Promised Land, the first volume of President Barack Obama’s memoirs. After four years of the most impulsive and unstable president of my lifetime, hearing Obama’s calm and judicious voice in my head was like having a long, comforting talk with an old friend. His retelling of the challenges of his first two and a half years, from the global financial crisis and the passage of Obamacare to the Democrats’ midterm collapse in 2010 and the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011, is full of revealing details and discerning insight.

But there’s a strange lacuna in A Promised Land, a missing thread that I kept looking for but never found. That thread is his popular base. To win his improbable bid for the presidency in 2008, Obama built his own powerful political army to beat Hillary Clinton, who had been building political support with her husband, President Bill Clinton, for decades. At its height, at the end of the 2008 election, Obama’s campaign had 13 million email addresses (20 percent of his vote total). Almost four million people had donated to him. Two million Obama supporters had created an account on My.BarackObama.com, the campaign’s social networking platform, which they used to organize 200,000 local events. Seventy thousand people used MyBO to create their own fundraising pages, which raised $30 million for his campaign.

But as is by now well known, once Obama entered office, he abandoned this army and staked his presidency on the inside-the-Beltway strategies of his first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. It’s never been clear to me that Obama had to drop this ball.

More here.