It was noted after the successful campaign by Barack Obama that he had an e-mail list of some 3 million people, of whom I happen to be one. Obviously I wasn’t exactly his staunchest supporter since the incoming President and I operate on completely different political wavelengths.
Much as Bill Clinton went about his terms in office, it appears the Obama presidency may be one of perpetual campaigning. I got a hoot out of the e-mail which showed up in my inbox yesterday:
This holiday season, celebrate the historic accomplishment of our movement for change. Treat yourself or a loved one to a limited edition Obama coffee mug.
Make a donation of $15 or more right now and get an official Obama mug to mark an amazing year:
Items purchased by December 15th are guaranteed to be delivered before December 25th.
When you make your donation, you’ll be supporting the Democratic National Committee. The resources they invested in the 50-state organizing strategy made this movement possible — help us build for future victories together.
Share this amazing moment with your friends and family. Thanks to supporters like you, we all have the opportunity to bring real change to America.
(Emphasis in original, modified to eliminate link.)
I suppose it’s par for the course since President Bush certainly made his share of pitches asking me to donate to the Republican National Committee. But it just seems a little, well…tawdry to receive a mug. (Then again, a coffee mug was my one of my premiums when I renewed my Limbaugh Letter subscription a couple years back. But my black-on-white EIB mug would clash with the Obama model, and in any case I’m not a coffee drinker.) Next thing you know, for a $100 donation people would receive a lovely tote bag made from recycled soda bottles or woven all-natural hemp. (And what is the carbon footprint on that coffee mug?!?)
But with even a 1% success rate on 3 million e-mail addresses, at $15 a pop that would be nearly another half a million dollars to the DNC for perhaps a $60,000 investment – I’m figuring $2 a mug and that may be a lot. That’s the beauty of having a large e-mail list; also by making the beneficiary the Democratic National Committee I believe the donation limits are larger so tapped-out Obama contributors can reach a little deeper in their pockets. Hey, I thought we were in a recession.
A week or so ago, I briefly brought up the name Richard Viguerie, best known as the man who pioneered the concept of direct mail solicitation for political purposes in the 1970’s. Say what you will about his ill-fated Presidential run in 2004, but Howard Dean may have done more damage to the conservative cause in running the DNC than he ever would have as President. This latter-day Viguerie was among the earliest to use the internet to fund a campaign and I’m sure his e-mail list was the kernel for Obama’s much larger e-mail list. While there is a percentage of e-mail addresses that become non-functional over time, there’s nowhere near the cost in e-mail distribution that sending out snail mail entails.
(Not only was that a complete sentence with sound thinking, I truly enjoyed rhyming three words in a row there.)
It will be interesting and perhaps worrisome to find out just how good of a marketing tool this will be for the Obama agenda. While the individual Congressmen may see this as so much spam, diligent and motivated people are valuable in any campaign and just by the sheer number on the Obama list it’s likely that he’ll have a lot of helpers in enacting his agenda – a point made clear by this most recent e-mail is that Obama and the Democrats are going to ask a lot of favors.
On the whole, while a coffee mug doesn’t stoop to the level of the “Yes We Can Opener” perhaps P.T. Barnum was more right than we know.