Look, I love Erza. Read him all the time. But like the rest of us, he can occasionally be full of shit:
Guess who tweeted this: “This Black Friday, take 10% off all purchases of...gear with code 10%TURKEYDAY”
Wal-Mart? Best Buy? A hedge fund trying to unload Greek bonds?
Nope. That was the official Twitter account of President Barack Obama — excuse me, President @BarackObama. And it’s not the first time Obama’s 2012 campaign has sounded more like a commercial for Al’s Used Car Lot.
Last month, “Barack Obama” e-mailed me with the subject line “Last chance at dinner.” “Because you and I don’t have a lot of chances to have dinner together,” he — or, more accurately, a campaign staffer claiming to be him — wrote, “I hope you’ll take advantage of the one that’s coming up this fall.” Then he asked me to donate some money so I could be entered into a raffle to have dinner with him.
Another e-mail, again from Obama, carried the subject line, “If I don’t call you.” Again, the upshot was you could donate money to be entered into a dinner raffle. But as Garance Franke-Ruta noted at the Atlantic, the e-mail writers at the Obama campaign had taken one of the most distinctive voices in American politics and left him sounding like a plaintive boyfriend.
All of this is, of course, a fundraising effort. And it’s working. The Obama campaign has received donations from more than 1,000,000 individuals, and 98 percent of those donations were for $250 or less. Some of those donations, to be sure, are Obama schwag. When you buy a hat or a shirt, technically, you’re donating to the campaign, and the campaign is sending you a token of its thanks. But it’s hard to argue with the results: at this point in the 2008 race, the Obama campaign had fewer than 400,000 donors. “This is what a grassroots campaign looks like,” the campaign brags in an infographic celebrating the million-donor mark.
But there’s something tawdry about it. This isn’t transformational politics. This is, almost definitionally, transactional politics. You give me money for my campaign, I give you a beer koozie with Vice President Joe Biden’s face on it.
I asked the Obama campaign about that seeming disconnect, but didn’t get much back. “We don’t talk specifics about merchandise because we don’t talk specifics about fundraising in general,” Katie Hogan, the campaign’s deputy press secretary, told me.
In a sense, these e-mails and tweets — and the annoyed, exasperated reactions many of their supporters have had to them — perfectly encapsulate one of their biggest challenges going into 2012: resolving the yawning chasm between the sort of politics America wanted from the Obama campaign and the sort of politics, the Obama administration has found, work in Washington.
All this was a preamble to a moderately decent piece highlighting the President's accomplishments while in Office, and the difficulties of changing the culture in Washington. (File under No shit, Sherlock).
But I want to ask, were any of you annoyed or exasperated by that Obama Email? Or were you like me, swimming around the site seeing if there was anything you'd like to buy.
This is what concerns me about my Hometown. This is another instance of the damn bubble again, and it confirms what we all know. It's not just the Presidents who live in it. Nine times out of ten, its the people in the Washington cocktail circuit who live in it. These are the people writing the columns, making the policy and talking to each other about the rest of us...all without the benefit of the rest of us being a part of the conversation.
Simply put, Ezra. I know of exactly ZERO people who were annoyed or exasperated by the President's fundraising efforts, and I'm betting I talk to a lot more actual Obama Supporters than you do. I know of exactly ZERO people from among the Liberal "disappointed" set who were annoyed or exasperated.
Now, I don't know of any one who bought anything either. My guess is they looked, they shopped around a little, then trashed the email, and went back for a nap during the Frisco-Baltimore game.
And "tawdry" who the hell said anything about tawdry??
This is not something actual Obama Supporters are talking about, sorry Ezra. This is all in your head.
Who exactly are these people Ezra is talking about--...
...ooooh, that's right. A bunch of Washington DBs talking to other Washington DBs.
Sorry, this one got on my nerves.