Obama Battles Tradition in Philly
Posted on Apr 20, 2008
The Barack Obama campaign’s “culture clash” in Philadelphia goes beyond the unwillingness to pay out “street money.” The L.A. Times details the many challenges of trying to wage a new kind of politics in the city where our nation’s politics began.
Obama is expected to do well in Philadelphia, but he’ll need a blowout there to stand a chance of taking the primary from Hillary Clinton, who does much better statewide.
Update: An Obama campaign organizer in Philadelphia tells Truthdig the situation is even less “civil”: “Ward leaders are pretty pissed—a lot of people are. Everywhere we go, we have to tell people that we’re going to do things a little differently, if it means we don’t have yard signs for everyone and their brother, or that we’re not spending as much money in certain areas [as] others, or in the case of Philly, that we’re not paying for canvassers or people to sit at the polls, and every time people tell us it’s impossible to win in ‘their home’ without doing it the way it’s always been done. It’s our job in the face of anger, frustration and dismissive behavior to just keep repeating, ‘Yes we can.’ ”
Los Angeles Times:
The Obama campaign is betting that its get-out-the-vote operation, and the theory that underpins it, will prevail even in an older city like Philadelphia that still practices machine politics. But the political leadership here is watching with dismay and growing resentment.
“They have paid college kids coming to our community and trying to get us to volunteer—for them, not with them,” said Greg Paulmier, 49, the neighborhood ward leader for the last 14 years. “We have a whole organization here. In some respect they’re trying to work with us, but they’re working with us on their terms. This is a brand new approach that I’m not familiar with.”
For the Obama campaign, the territory is under the control of a 19-year-old college student, Max Stahl.
Flickr / FourthFloor