Columns

This Is Your President Asking: Won't You Please Donate for Obamacare?

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: March 14, 2014 3:55 AM
Barack Obama

Want to donate to help Barack Obama roll out his health care plan? He's got the tin cup out and he's shaking it in Tallahassee -- and elsewhere in Florida and across the nation.

Maybe you got one of his begging letters, too.

He wants you to show your gratitude for that bargain of an Obamacare premium you just signed up for. Prove your citizenship. C'mon, America, be a good sport -- your federal government needs more of your money to get health care to work.

Where does this come from?

Neeti Kaur, chief financial officer of the president's website Organizing for Action, distributed an email this week to OFA's massive database list, saying, "I spent the last week poring over the books and crunching the numbers, and I've come to the conclusion that we're just about 10,000 donations away from where we need to be in our final push for health care."

I Beg to Differ

The good news is, the president only needs six more donations from Tallahassee. In West Palm Beach, it's only two. It may be a different number in your town. The point is, Neeti tells us, "I'm staring down a budget that needs your help today."

I'm trying to remember my American History 101. For the life of me, I can't recall reading that Franklin D. Roosevelt, after the launch of any of his New Deal projects in the 1930s, felt the need to pump Americans for donations. With the exception of World War I and its sale of Liberty Bonds and World War II with war bonds, Obama's arrogant, almost regal pitch for charity for the Affordable Care Act -- a law of stunning bipartisan unpopularity "as is" -- may be unprecedented in the last 100 years.

Says the Organizing for Action email:

"Chip in $5 or more today, and help fund OFA's big last push for health care.

"Our strategy here is aggressive, because that's what it's going to take to make sure Americans without insurance know what it takes to get covered.

"We spent the last few months gearing up -- hiring staff, recruiting tens of thousands of volunteers, and training grassroots organizers to go all in over the next 19 days."

Organizing for Action is the same White House-backed political nonprofit that was recently exposed by NBC News for its quid pro quo dealings.

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan group that advocates for campaign reform, told the president in a letter that the NBC disclosures suggest OFA “has been selling direct access to you and to your White House in return for huge contributions.” Read about it here.

The OFA turned into a dark-money nonprofit in 2013. Following another successful electoral campaign, the Obama for America machinery, with its troves of data desired by practically every Democratic candidate in the country, sought a new home. The group transformed itself into the 501(c)(4) nonprofit Organizing for Action. OFA took over the “barackobama.com” Web address as well as assuming control of the campaign’s vast computer database. It's the exact type of dark money group the president lambasted during his 2012 re-election.

It may have become a bit trite, even if true, to mock the president for his repeated hypocrisy on the issue, but the transformation of his campaign organization into a nonprofit relying on voluntary disclosure -- the group does disclose its donors, but only as it sees fit -- solidified that hypocrisy for many advocates of openness and campaign finance reform.

It is chaired by none other than Jim Messina, the president’s former campaign manager, who bills it as a “grassroots advocacy” group on behalf of the president’s agenda. The group has raised $26 million -- in part through appearances by the president at events that include volunteers and high-dollar donors.

Maybe Obama's pitch for our pennies is an attempt at a show of confidence, a backhanded effort to prove Obamacare is pretty popular after all, because look how much money Americans gave to dig it out of a hole. Or maybe not a dime of the proceeds is going to Obamacare. After all, the Affordable Care Act is, as Democrats like to point out, "the law of the land." Money is, and has been, available from the start to sign people up.

Maybe it's just that so few are.

With all due respect, Neeti and Mr. President, I'll pass on your solicitation.

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, prodigious fundraiser


Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423.


Comments (12)

William
4:19PM MAR 14TH 2014
I LOVE the picture that goes with this story. (I have a theory that when no one is around, he dresses up like that and looks at himself in the mirror.)
Michael
6:30PM MAR 14TH 2014
I have a theory you have your own little set of robes that you secretly dress up in.
Freeman
3:13PM MAR 14TH 2014
Nancy yellow journalism is your forte'
Joel
7:08PM MAR 14TH 2014
What about her story is untrue? None of it.
bill
1:08PM MAR 14TH 2014
You really think you are getting a bargain in "OBama Care"?, The real bill comes later when all the susidary money has to be rasied through taxes.
The buffoon in the White House, who had no quaifications for the job, is doing just what you should expect, screws up everything he touches. He gets a free pass on almost ever illegal act, and has messed up every dometic program, as well as the worst foriegn policy moves ever seen in the country. But, most of you voted for him (even without all the fake votes from Acon, so just have to live with it.
It may already be too late to save the USA, but if Clinton gets elected, its over.
JB
12:33PM MAR 14TH 2014
Yeah, in 2015, my wife and I will be "donating" $500-$600 a month to Obamacare. That is how much the premiums go up to cover additional "essential" benefits like maternity (she is 62), pediatric dentistry, etc.
Michael
9:06AM MAR 14TH 2014
Nanncy Smith intended. Her opposition to the President is founded on venal fantasyAs to OFA, they are a political organization that does advocate for the President's policies and programs and in doing so expend monies which they do raise from people that voluntarily choose to to give money to support those efforts.
Unlike say, when you buy a product from a Koch Brothers affiliated company and have no choice or input in what they decide to do like , a for instance, constantly repeating falsehoods about PPACA/Obamacare.
Seems strange Nancy Smith objects to voluntary association and freedom of expression.
But the real Nancy comes out and she ain't preety.
bill
1:11PM MAR 14TH 2014
Your right, the Koch Brothers are just evil, but thank God, you have George Sorus on your side, he will lead you (by the nose) to the promised land. Socialism.
Michael
6:24PM MAR 14TH 2014
You are a minor league ignoramus. President Obama is a neoliberal in his economic outlook and policies. I know that is a big word for you to maybe be able to look up and start to get a grasp but socialist , no. And Soro's is far more a classic capitalist than the Koch Brothers who are the very definition of crony capitalism.
LDouglas
7:20AM MAR 14TH 2014
Hmmm Ms. Smith. I wonder how you made the list but I didn't. :-)

In any case, I do think we need a good shake-up and overhaul in our entire political system, including what we allow as donations to political campaigns and what is acceptable as political solicitations etc. The time is right to establish firm guidelines with enforceable limits before we end up with a system so corrupt it would take citizens picking up their arms to rectify.
Jan
6:38AM MAR 14TH 2014
Sorry, I wouldn't give him a pot to pee in. He makes me sick and uses all the taxpayers money for his unnecessary vacations and golf trips. I try to be nice about him but it is really not how I feel about him or her. I am an older person who does not like how I feel and I have never been against anyone as much in all my 76 years.
Michael
6:29PM MAR 14TH 2014
Tsk tsk, President Obama is so uppity. Unlike those fine Bush's who never did anyhing wrong or lied to get the country into war and destryed the economy with their tax and fiscal policies or turned Florida into a pay to play state for political and economic favors. Yep, the Obama's, too big for their britches.

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