How's that 'Grass Roots' effort coming, Barak?

Eh, not so good if the truth be told. Perhaps people were distracted by the Super Bowl and Oscar nominations. Maybe they were too busy with other stuff.

Whatever reason, it appears that Obama's vaunted grass roots efforts to influence the vote on the stimulus bill has come a cropper. So called "Stimulus House Parties" are not going over well with the faithful:

Few supporters are answering President Barack Obama's call for nationwide house-party gatherings this weekend to build grass-roots support for his economic stimulus plan.

A McClatchy survey of sign-up rosters for a score of cities across the country revealed only 34 committed attendees in Tacoma, Wash., as of midafternoon Friday; in Fort Worth, Texas, only 54, and in Sacramento, Calif., just 78.

"Before the election, we would have had 500 to 800," said Kim Mack, 46, a Sacramento city-facility manager who's hosted house parties for political figures and causes since the mid-'90s.

Even in Washington, policy-wonk capital of the nation, only about 500 people had signed up.

Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, called the interest level "considerable" for what he described as "the first national call to action aimed at helping to keep people informed and active in advancing the president's agenda."

Obama the candidate used house parties to recruit volunteers and raise money with great success, but this is the first time that a president has tried to mold his supporters into a post-election lobbying force.

It promises to be an uphill battle, several supporters said.

"A lot of people, once Obama got elected, thought, 'Well, we're done now,' " said Cheryl Kopec, 47, an Iraq war veteran who lives in the Fern Hill section of Tacoma. As of Friday afternoon, Kopec had filled only nine of 30 seats for an economic stimulus gathering at the local library.

This is what happens when you depend on a cult of personality for success. It may work fine to get people to the polls but as far as governance is concerned, most cultists will sit back like any other American and let you do the heavy lifting.

The real test will come Monday night when Obama goes on national TV to try and get people to call in and put pressure on their senators to pass the bail out bill. This may, in fact, have a much bigger impact since he is only asking people to pick up their phone and make a call.

Anything beyond that will prove to be a much more difficult sell.