In the wake of last month's election, I read several articles pondering how the Obama (TM) campaign's ability to marshal and utilize volunteers might translate to his administration.
One opined that the incoming Obama (TM) administration would have at its disposal a built in PAC constituency, as the campaign had collected data from citizens who had been willing to donate and to volunteer time. The thinking went that perhaps Obama (TM) could appeal directly to citizens to contact local and state representatives demanding support for legislation. Think of all those donation requests you get from various PACs asking you to sign petitions or contact your senator or congressperson. Now think of them as coming from the White House.
This sounds good, but the reality thus far has been that it is not the PAC model that has dominated the Obama (TM) administration's use of donor and volunteer lists but rather that of multi-level-marketing (MLM). Obama (TM) has become a brand name, fit to be put on tee shirts, coffee mugs, or whatever. And brand names are not so good at getting people to do stuff--they are primarily about getting people to buy stuff.
Earlier this week, I got a campaign from the Obama (TM) administration. It might have explained why the president elect thinks we need a new stimulus package. It might have explained his cabinet picks or tried to stump for Jim Martin in the run-off in Georgia. It might have outlined Obama's (TM) thoughts about a why a bailout for Detroit's big three is a good thing. It might have done a lot of things.
What it did was ask me for money. Again. This is roughly the sixth time that Obama (TM) for America has asked me for money since the election. If I send them $35, they will send me (I am not making this up) a four year calendar, decorated with pictures of the campaign trail.
Look, I like Obama (TM).
I voted for Obama (TM).
I just wish that Obama (TM) for America treated me a little bit more like its constituency rather than its customer base. And I wish that Obama (TM) for America acted a little bit more like leaders and a little bit less like vendors.