What happened to Barack Obama's on one occasion vaunted political machine? The outfit that put upwards of 8 million volunteers on the street in 2008 - known as organize for America - is a ghost of its previous self.
Its staff has shrunk from 6,000 to 300, and its donors are miserable: receipts are a fraction of what they were in 2008. Almost no one in politics believes it will turn many competitions this fall. "There's no possibility that OFA is going to have the slightest crash on the midterms," says Charlie Cook, who tracks congressional contests.
Desert is to blame. After Obama was elected, his following aides ignored the army he had created until it eventually departed. No one was in charge; decisions were often deferred but rarely made. By the time they realized they needed more troops, says longtime consultant Joe Trippi, "Their clique had taken a leave from politics." (See Mark Halperin's take on the coming Republican tsunami.)