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August 10th, 2009

An Apathetic Electorate Awakens, Democrats in Disbelief

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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protest0709The video and audio footage from various congressional district townhall meetings are streaming in from every corner of our country. From Pennsylvania to California and all points in between, it is clear that the American people are frustrated with their representatives in congress and oppose the Obama administration’s rush to nationalized healthcare.

However, Democratic leaders, including Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, don’t believe that the outrage over President Obama’s healthcare plan is real. Sen. Harkin and others are out trying to convince people that the uprising of people who are opposed to President Obama’s health care reform package has been ginned up by Republicans and people like Rush Limbaugh.

At one of his district meetings on Saturday Harkin said, “I’m not mentioning anybody. I just saw an ad. Yesterday, I was sitting in the barber chair, and I saw an ad, and it was pretty devastating, but then I saw who paid for it. It was GOP something or other paid for the ad.”

Other Democrats and even some news organizations that are sympathetic to the Obama administration supportive of nationalized medicine have referred to those who are outraged over the proposal as an “angry mob.” They also believe that someone or some entity is out organizing the protest of President Obama’s healthcare plan. They couldn’t be further from the truth.

Republican organizations like the RNC and other similar groups wish they could motivate people from all around the country to mobilize and oppose President Obama’s agenda. However, if they had that ability to do that, they would have likely used these tactics before to create havoc and slow down the legislative process. If operation “Town Hall” is a Republican initiative, then why weren’t these people out in force in support of John McCain in last year’s election, or speaking out against the various bailout packages?

The truth of the matter is that Republican leaders have absolutely nothing to do with the current outrage, and instead, this movement symbolizes the disconnect between the people and those who they elected to represent them. While county GOP organizations in Iowa have held protests opposing healthcare reform, the Republican Party of Iowa has done very little. There is little doubt that the state party is in a difficult position since Sen. Chuck Grassley is still working with Democrats on the health care reform package.

What the traditional media has overlooked is the Obama administration’s inability to tap into his vast network of supporters that helped him get elected last November. Obama’s campaign apparatus is/was what all political organizations wanted to emulate, yet it has been ineffective in its effort to balance out the unrest of those who oppose President Obama’s healthcare proposal.

It’s not like the Obama political machine was dry docked after the election either. David Plouffe, President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, remains fully engaged in helping the new President pass his radical agenda by running something called, “Organizing for America.” In essence, Obama’s campaign has never ended, rather, it just took on a different name and focus, but thus far it has not had the success it enjoyed during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Organizing for American had a meeting in Iowa this weekend. The group spent more than two hours in Ames on Saturday recruiting support for health care reform. The meeting was held at the Ames Public Library. Party workers asked local residents to support health care reform by contacting elected representatives during the August congressional break. Only 25 people attended the meeting.

So how could a political operation that helped elect the nation’s first African American President go dormant so quickly? It’s because electing a hip, young, black man to be the President of the United States was exciting to many people, and Obama’s candidacy even took on cultural significance. Simply put, it was all about image and marketing rather than substance. Now, when they need to focus on the new President’s agenda, his passionate supporters are not willing to do any heavy lifting.

The dissatisfaction and discontent of Americans is at an all time high, and people like President Obama, Democrats in congress, and even Sen. Grassley refuse to accept the outrage of the people they represent on its face. The outrage seen at these town hall meetings is authentic, and it’s not likely to simply go away. People are upset and are demanding to have their voices heard. Unfortunately, Democrats from across the nation have refused to listen, and instead, they try to blame the outrage on Rush Limbaugh and other Republican groups.

What we really are witnessing is a democracy that is quickly unraveling. On one hand, we have the people who are upset that their elected representatives refuse to listen to them. On the other hand, we have those same elected officials who don’t understand why the people will not just sit back and trust that they will do the right thing. For years, our elected officials could count on an apathetic electorate. All they had to do is occasionally show up to events in their district and bring some money back home from Washington. Now the electorate has finally awoken from a deep slumber, and the members of congress are in complete disbelief.


About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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