Well-oiled hope machine

HopemachineBy now the Clinton strategists have figured out how the Obama campaign has been beating them. If not, they can read about in the March 20th issue of Rolling Stone. In an article titled The Machinery of Hope, Tim Dickinson provides a fascinating look inside the grass-roots field operation of the Obama campaign. A few nuggets:

“If you really want grass-roots participation, then you have to give folks at the grass roots some autonomy to do this in their own way. We had hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to do things. The challenge was: How do you marshal them in an organized fashion?”

“They’ve married the incredibly powerful online community they built with real on-the-ground field operations. We’ve never seen anything like this before in American political history.”

“The Clinton campaign is the last, antiquated vestige of the top-down model. The top cannot organize caucus states; the bottom can.”

“The Obama campaign has succeeded not by attracting starry-eyed followers who place their faith in hope but by motivating committed activists who are answering a call to national service. They’re pouring their lifeblood into this campaign, not because they are in thrall to a cult of personality but because they’re invested in the idea that politics matter, and that their participation can turn the current political system on its ear.”

This article –coming on the heels of Clay Shirky’s “Here Comes Everybody” — really clicked for me and contains the answer to my pals who wink and nudge each other in the ribs while asking, “What makes you think this guy will be any different than all the others?”