Obama the Political Entrepreneur

Bret Swanson, a senior fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation and friend of CEI had an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal today. Swanson draws incredibly interesting parallels between Obama’s tactics in the election and the free market policies that Obama often rejects.

The most compelling example of this is Swanson’s recognition of the Obama campaign’s tactic of empowering grassroots networks with modern communications and organization tools:

The results of Mr. Obama’s decentralized Web effort were staggering: 8,000 Web-based affinity groups, 50,000 local events, 1.5 million Web volunteers, and 3.1 million donors who contributed almost $700 million. Republicans, Charlie Cook reported on Nov. 3, believe their large but impersonal centralized databases could not match the tacit knowledge, individual initiative and agility of Mr. Obama’s diffuse social networks.

These entrepreneurial tactics adopted so successfully by his own campaign run counter to Obama’s stated policy positions:

The only way a president can maximize economic growth is to unleash diffuse networks of entrepreneurs. As economist Bob Litan of the Kauffman Foundation says, “Government can’t compel growth.” But Mr. Obama’s plans — “card check” legislation to allow workers to unionize a workplace without a secret ballot election; curbing free trade; a government-led “green economy”; and higher tax rates on capital and entrepreneurs — do not reflect his campaign’s deep trust in individuals.

Hopefully Mr. Obama’s policy positions have been effected by this campaign and he comes to see the power of individuals working in a decentralized way.  From what I’ve seen over the past few days I have little reason to think this is true, but I also believe in change.

Read Swanson’s whole piece in the Wall Street Journal.