Melissa Harris-Perry | December 01, 2012
>>> the role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. america has never been about what can be done for us. it is about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. that's the principle we were founded on.
>> that was president obama in chicago on the night he was reelected. calling on the american people to stay involved. he meant it. this week, he has been taking his case directly to the american people . it is making some folks lose their mipds.
>> when is the next election, becky?
>> four years.
>> why does he need to pump up his base and go on the road?
>> go to charlotte and say, fairness and then they run to try to beat the tax man, which is -- he is doing his job as a corporate executive.
>> shame on them. i can't even talk about it anymore.
>> joining our panel is msnbc contributor, ari melber. an author of the report about how the campaign tried to turn its grass roots network into a governing force in the president's first term. nice to have you with us.
>> despite the drama that it is causing, the president is going directly to the folks. this is something they were criticized on between '08 and 2012 . what's it going to look like now? is the president going to be able to use enter base? i think it depends on what they ask them to do. the report that i wrote interviewed dozens of ofa activists, talked to campaign staff and people on capitol hill in both parties. what i found was that they became basically a single issue group around health care , which was exciting to many people, a promise that the president was looking to deliver on but also didn't give them a lot of meaningful asks. when you are doing a campaign, it might be getting supporter cards or signing up people to events and later it is g.o. tv. it is very clear. it gets a lot less clear when you talk about health care or the fiscal cliff. the first thing they did. i spoke to some people at the white house about it this week. they tried to get the base activists involved in the persuasion campaign around the fiscal cliff. they have an info graham and information that shares. teddy goff is one of the digital directors of the campaign has noted that when they want to talk to people on facebook, they reach $10 million with any contact they consider pretty good. that's the first thing they are doing. the harder question comes next. if you don't have the things work out, if you don't get a deal on the fill buster to stopt obstruction, do you bring them in to do something more confrontational.
>> let's take a look. laura was anticipating some of these arguments, particularly around progress sives. if you look at the chart that you generated of national ofa e-mails, from obama for america to organizing for america, we see it is primarily about health care . you get this big spike. there is some work going on about sotomayor and economy in the budget. it is clear the big spike is around health care . that's what the e-mails were about. this week, we saw the e-mails were, send out your #my2k tweet. senator boehner is tweeting, the house gop voted to stop my 2 k.
>> it depends on what you want to do. tweeting and facebooking is great to activate people to do things. the question is, what things and what happens to on the grass organizing. on the ground organizing has to do with having an effect locally on a local issue, being able to influence your local media, your local politicians. that is one of the politicians where those that are freaking out about why is obama continuing the campaign fails to understand. it is not as if decisions we focus on are not affected by what is happening locally. the right has known this forever. to organize people at the base and influence local media and officials is important. i want to go back to the health debate. a lot of the local activists wanted single pay yor. in this case, same thing. what have we seen this week, massive organizing among retail workers, over the thanksgiving period by walmart. a big emphasis on unemployment but also minimum wages. the administration may get more than they bargained for.
>> you showed the clip of mr. santelli, the same that took to the floor and gave a big speech that was part of the genesis of the tea party outrage. the best thing about the tea party was that they were working on governance. there was an issue on the hill they wanted to speak to. i don't agree with all of their tactics. it is very good when we have people say let's get involved in policy. campaigns are more fun to most people.
>> you have a clear outcome, an election day and an outcome.
>> as interesting as it is to energize the base, what's also important to me considering after the election we got from boehner he wanted to bring the a.c.a. back into the negotiations for some is wild read. you still see the same kind of intrancy generals. wait a minute, who won this election? this mandate is mine. i earned it. 3% i won a national vote by 3% which in modern times is a landslide. we won seats in the senate. we took seats in the house.
>> the house, if there were no part in the jerry man derring, that's as important as energizing the base and getting some move in social media .
>> at the same time, they have to get a number of votes. they need 218 votes in the house. part of the art of washington politics is giving your opponents something to run against you in the next election.
>> what they have to give house republicans is something they can take back to these very conservative jerry man der districts. it is not as if most people are running in swing districts. most are running in hard right districts where they can get a primary challenge. the reason you are hearing boehner ask what are you going to cut? they want the president to put some ideas on the table. all of the bad ideas, they are all coming from the republican party . they are espousing all the ideas the people hate. they want the president to put some popular ideas out there e has no incentive to do so. we are going to come back. there us a character here of the anti-tax campaign. no official leadership rule but a brutal character. yes, grover norquist . is his clout finally starting to sleep with the fishes? that's next. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests , even ragu users