Sunday, September 28, 2008
Two Monroe Street Library patrons finally get their Obama yard sign
We've been wondering why there have not been nearly enough Obama yard signs in Madison. The Madison Obama headquarters is right in our neighborhood, next to our branch library, and we figured it would be easy to get one. We've been trying for some time, but they never seemed to have any when we asked. Yesterday I went in and asked again. They said they had none available, because they were fulfilling requests for a huge waiting list with thousands of names on it, but that the waiting list was getting counterproductive. They would continue it through the weekend and then open their supply up to walk-ins. They said I should come back Monday. I'll be out of town Monday, so I asked T to stop by Monday. She wasn't having it. She went back to the headquarters and soon returned with a yard sign. I know she's more charming than I am, but I also suspect they just didn't want to disappoint someone who might have been (and was) a Hillary supporter.
We're happy. We finally have our yard sign, but I still wonder about the distribution. The yard signs and other paraphernalia clearly are used to help raise money. Nothing wrong with that in general. But why aren't yard signs in a class of their own? They're so inexpensive to make now that they're just a plastic baggie that slips over a wire frame, you could blanket entire neighborhoods with free signs for less than the cost of a few TV commercials. It seems it would be such a powerful means of visually communicating a groundswell of support. Just wondering...
UPDATE: OMG -- I thought our difficulty in getting a yard sign was a matter of campaign inefficiency, not policy. But, as my commenters and The Washington Post point out, it's the latter. Campaign organizers think yard signs are not effective, that the cost outweighs the benefit; that they're unnecessary because the candidates already have high name recognition by now (??!!); and that yard signs sap energy from the campaign because after people put up their sign they feel they've done all they need to do. This is absolutely nuts -- a liberal neighborhood without Obama signs suggests his supporters aren't willing to publicly stand behind their candidate. What kind of message is that? It's hard to escape the suspicion that this has more to do with campaign consultants simply prefer spending money on TV, on which they get a commission, to spending it on yard signs, on which they don't. Yikes!