I agree with Andrew Sullivan both about the increasing silliness in the right-wing echo chamber and about the appropriateness of Obama’s response to the “inside” quote:
But there’s a deeper question here. If Obama believes – as is certainly the case – that change needs to happen from the outside as well as the inside, why oh why did he fold OFA into the DNC after his election and disband its army of field organizers, rather than keeping it in being? There was no reason to let the Tea Party movement go unanswered through the first Obama Congress and the 2010 elections. Obama’s bargaining position with Congressional Democrats as well as Republicans would have been infinitely stronger if he’d had his own political organization still in the field.
I suspect that the decision reflected Obama’s basic Whiggery – not entirely consistent with his Hamiltonianism – and his Constitutional conservatism. A President with his own independent nationwide political organization would have been an innovation, and would have shifted the balance between Executive and Legislative branches in a way that would have appalled the Framers (again, other than Hamilton).
But I continue to believe that it was a huge opportunity lost, and one that cannot now be retrieved.