Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Do They Keeping Asking for Money?

In the days following the horrific and tragic terrorist attacks in Mumbai, President-Elect Barack Obama has introduced the country to the newest players in his administration - the National Security Team.

In an email to campaign supporters, Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe filled us in on the coming appointments:

"Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator from New York and former First Lady, will serve as Secretary of State.

Secretary Robert Gates, the current Secretary of Defense, will continue to serve in that role.

Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General and a former United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, will serve as Attorney General.

Janet Napolitano, Governor and former U.S. Attorney for Arizona, will serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Susan E. Rice, a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, will serve as Ambassador to the United Nations.

General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), former Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander of the United States European Command, will serve as National Security Advisor.

Barack's national security team has been assembled to represent all elements of American power, diplomacy, and leadership that will be vital in overcoming the challenges of the 21st century."

Then the email directs readers to this video of the Team's recent press conference:

But the email wasn't simply sent for informational purposes. At the bottom of the email is the often seen "Please Donate" button.

As Kenneth Vogel at Politico points out in an article today, the $6.3 million of taxpayer money allotted for the Presidential transition is not enough to pay for the enormous staff required. So the Obama camp is turning to one of the best source of private donors in the country - former campaign supporters.

"He raised $1.17 million in the first 11 days after the election and needs about $4.5 million more in private donations…Recent presidents have raised private transition money because the government's contribution isn't enough pay all the staff needed to vet appointees, study agencies, and chart policy."

But this is the first time a President-Elect has turned to his campaign email list for such fundraising purposes.

So When Will They Stop Asking Me For Money?

You might be thinking that it will be over after the transition is complete and the inauguration is over. But consider this: who will the President turn to after the next Hurricane Katrina, massive forest fire, terrorist attack, or even South Asian Tsunami? Taxpayer money will no doubt be appropriated - but with new efforts to decrease the deficits it will not be enough.

Private donors are a great source of cash for these sorts of tragedies. Many politicians, including Obama, sent similar emails following Hurricane Gustav this summer. Governor Bill Richardson - the future Secretary of Commerce - sent such an email to supporters earlier this year to help with forest fires in California, long after his Presidential Bid was over.

And it will continue with the re-election campaign in 2012.

Of course, you don't have to put your money down every time you receive an email - in fact, you won't. As you get more and more, you will give less and less.

So we have to beg the question. Given the need to raise money again in 2012, is this really what Obama should do with his email list?

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