I’m a big fan of Obama, and have publicly supported him on this blog several times. I think, by in large, he’s done a great job of managing the presidency and engaging in traditional politics — which is, in my opinion, his biggest (and most annoying) failure.
Obama stopped mobilizing his supporters when he took office. His email database, SMS database, and social lists have been relegated to un-targeted and 2nd-rate messages. Used effectively, those tools could have been extremely powerful tools in Obama’s push for agenda items like healthcare. It would have galvanized and involved a broad audience of people, which would have made the public view of the debate more of a citizen v. citizen issue.
This would have been messier. It might have even cost us healthcare reform. But if Obama pushed his main agenda points by proxy through millions of supporters who signed up to be involved (email/SMS/social), it would have ushered in an age of consistent engagement by forcing the other side to engage their base similarly.
Obama could have created a legacy of being the man who brought the public back into the fold, who engaged the common man more than once a term. That’s one of the many reasons I voted for him — because he represented that promise. Instead, you hear that “Social Media in the Age of Obama” is all about how this marketing channel is changing campaigning. Trust me, that wasn’t the part of the process that needed better engagement tools.