Obama asks for Gustav help

Get out those credit cards.

First test of whether the Obama email list is a substantial civil-society asset or not. The campaign sent out an email signed “Barack” asking the donor/supporter list to give to the American Red Cross, and the request is also top center on the main campaign webpage.

I can’t figure out whether the click-through somehow tells the Red Cross that the donor was referred by Obama, so I simply made my contribution “In Honor of” Barack Obama. (There’s a check-box on the donation form. You’ll want the mailing address: Obama for America, P.O. Box 8102, Chicago, IL 60680)

Seems to me that if you gave to Obama, giving the $10 that’s the minimum on-line Red Cross donation is an obvious decision. How much more than that to give is less obvious; maybe you prefer another relief group or have other priorities for your charitable giving. But this is a pretty minimal request from Obama; if we think the guy’s a leader, then we ought to be willing to follow.

I’m also on the McCain list, which averages one or two emails a day. So far, no similar request from that quarter.

Update I just read that the campaign also sent out text messages, asking supporters to make $5 contributions by return text.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com