Barack Obama has built a mythical fundraising operation based on small-dollar donors. These were primarily upper-middle class affluents who were energized by a change message. These were also the netroots. Recall that the 3 issues at the core of the netroots are FISA, Iraq, and net neutrality. Obama’s recent actions seem to be going to be undermining his appeal with both of these groups, with potentially disastrous consequences for his small-dollar online fundraising.
Obama has now shifted to the right on FISA. It certainly looks like he is in mid-flip on Iraq. Marc Ambinder asks today:
My question is: is any of this seeping through the filter between politically engaged activists and the rest of the Democratic electorate? In other words: will see enthusiasm for Obama diminish?
In reference to a scathing NYT editorial that also attacks Obama for flipping on guns, the death penalty, and other issues. The NYT ends with:
There are still vital differences between Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain on issues like the war in Iraq, taxes, health care and Supreme Court nominations. We don’t want any “redefining” on these big questions. This country needs change it can believe in.
Which must count as a warning on his Iraq position.
What happens to Obama’s fundraising if this march of flip-floppery continues? He loses energy among his "change" constituency as he becomes "just another politician". His netroots, affluent coalition weakens tremendously.
Does his small-dollar fundraising evaporate?
I joined the FISA protest group at myBO. I have copied the text of some of the emails that go out to the list below the fold. The anger is palpable.
Since he didn’t even acknowledge his reversal, he did nothing to explain it. He gave us no new information or circumstances that would explain why he had such a drastic change of heart. In fact, he seems to be pretending that this is all about a simple disagreement on a policy position as if he had never promised to stand with us. He must know that this would upset a lot of us even more than his original reversal.
Rather than to inform and educate on Constitutional and Intelligence issues he chose to lie in his FISA response.
For me, that’s not ok.
But sending a donation to Ralph Nader at this point in the fund raising season would make the point without risking the Supreme Court.
If you cave in and actually vote for the FISA compromise bill I will demand my donation to your campaign be refunded. Of all people, sir, to give in on such an issue. You’re a Harvard educated lawyer not a two-bit Texas hustler. Of anyone, you should know blanket immunity for blatant disregard of the law is not the American way. The rule of law must prevail.
I have, literally, hundreds of these in my inbox right now.