Obama's Missed Opportunity

Campaign emails don't usually excite me.  I'm on so many lists that some days it's all I can do to even glance at them.  But the subject line of Obama's latest email caught my eye.  It read: Organizing Fellowship.  The word fellowship got me interested.

From the email emphasis mine:

I got my chance on the South Side of Chicago, as a community organizer, and it was the transformative experience of my career.

It allowed me to put my values to work and to see that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, when ordinary people come together around a common purpose.

The experience changed the course of my life -- and I want to share that kind of opportunity with you.

That's why we're introducing a program that's going to train a new generation of leaders -- not only to help us win this election, but to help strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.

The Obama campaign has set up an application page on their website and included a video with the Senator urging people to apply. The email ends with Obama saying that by working together ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

But there's a problem.  The fellowships don't pay a salary and they don't offer a stipend.  How many ordinary people, excluding students but honestly most students can't afford to do this either, do you know that could apply for an unpaid three month position?

I'm stuck on the word fellowship.  At first glance it looked like the campaign was creating something along the lines of The Campaign Corp that Emily's List runs or Students for a New American Politics.  But the closer I looked the more it seemed like another internship, with an emphasis on community organizing.

I hate to be critical because the idea itself is good.  But it could have been so much better.  Does the fellowship create any new opportunities or is it just another avenue for the usual suspects who would otherwise be interns?  Most campaigns and organizations can't afford to pay stipends or wages for these positions, but Obama is working with a much larger budget (and vision?).  If anyone can afford to create a genuine fellowship program within a campaign, Obama can.  If anyone understands the importance of grassroots activism in local communities it's Barack Obama.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Fellowship, Intermship, Progressive Infrastructure (all tags)

Comments

76 Comments

Not for everyone

Not for everyone, but some will have the werewithal to do this.  People unable to work for one reason or another.  Stay at home parents who have time while the kids are at school.  Retired folk.  Young people on summer break from school.

I think it's admirable that Obama is giving these opportunities, and I'm sure as president he'd offer grants for this sort of work (it's very close to his heart, after all).  That said, all of his money needs to be going to winning the presidency and lower offices for Democrats.  That's all there is to it.  He can do a lot more for community organizers if there's a Democratic president and congress than if we're still squabbling with gridlock.

by Dracomicron 2008-04-04 07:14AM | 0 recs
MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

A-ny-thing.

How dare they organize a program wherein young people can volunteer their summers to improve their communities.  How dare they!

by Shem 2008-04-04 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

That's really a cheap shot with absolutely no basis in fact.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

Basis: That this cheap attack on a call for young Americans to volunteer their summers to improve their communities is front page material here.

by Shem 2008-04-04 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

Cheap shot: "MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything."

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

Yes but the truth hurts.

by MNPundit 2008-04-04 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

In this case, it's not the truth.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 06:15PM | 0 recs
"Obama Organizing Fellows"

These "Obama Organizing Fellows" will be trained to work in Obama's general election campaign, not to "improve their communities." Obama has done nothing more than stick a pompous and egotistical label on a call for people to learn how to work as campaign volunteers. Come spend your summer as an unpaid trainee, so you can spend your fall as an unpaid campaign worker. When Obama was a "community organizer" in Chicago, he was paid.

From the Chicago Sun Times:

"Plouffe described some of the 'small things in the wee hours' the Obama campaign was doing for November, assuming that Obama will be the nominee. . . .

"Continue precinct-level organizing. Last year there was Obama U. The campaign is already launching the 'Obama Organizing Fellows' program to train students or recent graduates to work this summer. An 'underappreciated part of what happens in the fall, which is, in all the battleground states, the Obama organization is going to be stronger than the McCain organization at the grass roots level,' said Plouffe."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/87058 7,CST-NWS-sweet01.article

There is nothing wrong with Obama training his volunteer campaign workers, but there is nothing altruistic about it either. Nor does it have anything to do with "community organizing."

by freemansfarm 2008-04-04 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

FWIW I voted for Obama in the primary.

by Melissa Ryan 2008-04-04 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

And?

It's still a cheap, inaccurate attack on a call for young Americans to volunteer six weeks (not three months) of their summers.

by Shem 2008-04-04 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

That's not what I take away from this diary. I think this is an Obama supporter who is offering an improvement that might help the campaign.  That type of a positive suggestion or tweak to the system is always welcome IMO.

I completely agree with you that some of the people at this site will find a way to rail against Obama no matter what.  The guy could cure cancer and they'd say he's an asshole for taking careers away from so many oncologists.  It's true.

I don't think that this is one of those cases.

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

I don't take your diary as an attack. I just think you haven't considered the practical implications of your suggestion. Right now Obama has an opportunity to cash in on a lot of young voter enthusiasm, both for his current campaign and for the country and party in general. So, it's good that he sees the value in this and is using.

The other end of this is that he's involved in a hard fought campaign, and needs to prepare for a potential general election. Siphoning funds off from those efforts would be a highly questionable move. Arguably he could fund this through a PAC, or something similar. But that would just smack of trying to skirt campaign finance laws.

So, hopefully the value of this program is realized and it gets expanded to paid fellowships after the general election. Right now, though, it seems like the smart move is to keep it entirely voluntary. But that's just my take.

by noop 2008-04-04 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD will find Obama at fault for anything.

How dare they organize a program wherein young people can volunteer their summers to improve their communities.

I dare to criticize because I had to work summers to earn money for the next college year.  Perhaps you rode a gravy train in college but I did not.

by KimPossible 2008-04-04 08:27AM | 0 recs
Gravy train?

I went to college on Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.  I got my hardship drivers license so I could start working when I was fifteen years old, and my family's main income earner died when I was sixteen years hold.

I still gave two summers to kids' camps.

Don't act like you know me.

by Shem 2008-04-04 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Gravy train?

And don't act like you know others...  and that your experience somehow makes you an expert on what's being discussed.

That said, I commend you for your hard work and getting past your obstacles.  Good on ya...

--sam

by samizdat 2008-04-04 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Gravy train?

Did I miss the comment where shem claims to know others or that his/her experience amounts to being an expert?

What I saw was an inaccurate generalization followed by shem refuting that generalization by relating a personal experience.  I am pretty sure that shem is the world's leading expert on shem's experiences.

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

How is this any different from the students (and often graduates) who work, unpaid, for months in congressional offices or in similar situations. It is still a great way for young people to get their foot in the door, it will look great on a resume, and will give them a head start on others who want to work in this field in many ways.

It sucks that it doesn't offer a stipend, I agree, but it will still be a great learning experience for those who can do it.

by JDF 2008-04-04 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

That's the problem -- who can afford to work WITHOUT PAY for 3 months? Even as a former congressional intern, I got paid.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I never got paid as an intern.  I believe that my experience was the norm.

by rfahey22 2008-04-04 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

SO who provided your food, clothing and shelter?

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

House an Organizing Fellow -- If you have a spare room, you can help by offering housing to an Organizing Fellow near their training or near their eventual assignment. We haven't set locations for all of the trainings and assignments, but if you sign up, our staff will be in touch as the campaign grows:

http://my.barackobama.com/fellowshousing

Obama's campaign is innovative, creative and is building the party. Hillary's campaign is a galumphing joke.

by Bee 2008-04-04 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

That still doesn't answer the question of who's supporting these interns. Not every one has a trust fund or rich relative.

It also doesn't answer the question I posed to rfahey22.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 08:42AM | 0 recs
I would assume their parents are

supporting them, or grandparents, or both.  Most college students are getting help from family members.

Personal anecdote:  When my friend's two kids were in college, she would send out the annual fundraising letter to her (fairly large) family to raise money for books and help with dorm costs.  Tuition was covered by grants, loans, etc.

I would ask her if she wanted to go to lunch and she would say 'Are you kidding?  I've got two kids in college, can't afford lunch.'

My mom helped me out when I was in college.  These days, I kick in to help my grandson get through.

That said, my grandson switched his major to Poli-Sci because during this election he developed a huge interest in politics.

by GFORD 2008-04-04 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Are you normally this abrasive?  I coupled my internship with thesis research, so I was able to get a research grant through my college.

by rfahey22 2008-04-04 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Thanks for proving my point that most interns are paid.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

and who payed?  Or are you only interested in half truths?

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Uh, I didn't prove your point, buddy.  So far as I can tell, your only point is that the only people who take internships are rich kids on trust funds, or wealthy retired people.  I was neither, nor were the other college-aged kids in my office (Herb Kohl's).

by rfahey22 2008-04-04 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Yes, KnowVox is always this abrasive.  A real ray of friggin' sunshine.

Evidently KnowVox's disposition has an inverse relationship to size of the overall delegate gap that Barack Obama enjoys.

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 08:58AM | 0 recs
It's a minimum of 6 weeks, not 3 months

You will be assigned to a community where you'll organize supporters. Assignments will begin in June, and you'll be required to work a minimum of six weeks over the summer.

by Bee 2008-04-04 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I had the exact same thought.  It seems like all the best opportunities to intern are unpaid - it's nearly impossible to get a paid internship in Congress, for example, unless you work for a Republican senator.

Frustrating for people like me who need money week-to-week, but as long as there are enough trust-fund babies who will do it for free, why would anyone pay for interns they'll get anyway?

by leaveonlyfootprints 2008-04-04 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

it's nearly impossible to get a paid internship in Congress, for example, unless you work for a Republican senator.

That's not true. I worked for a Democratic house member and got paid.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 07:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity
I came across this Fellowship last night was extremely excited about it, until I realized it was unpaid. I'm a young (25)working profession right now and would be more than willing to give up some monetary security to join and train with the Obama campaign. In fact I would love to make a transition into politics (and especially be apart of Obama's campaign), but it's just not financially possible if programs like these are unpaid internships. Maybe that's what they are going for. It's just sad that they are missing out on a great opportunity to train a new generation of progressive activists.
by Ian Campbell 2008-04-04 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

A new generation of progressives are going to be trained by this program whether you decide to participate or not.  Some of us, including less-than-well-off folk, still freely give our summers to good causes.

I can't believe people are spinning a new opportunity created by a campaign into a missed opportunity.

by Shem 2008-04-04 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

It's simply not a viable program for the average person who isn't independently wealthy.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I'm not sure about you, but I work 12 months out of the year.  It's really not an option to give up even 6 weeks of pay.

That said, there are still people out there that can benefit from a program like this...  it just won't be me or anyone like me.

--sam

by samizdat 2008-04-04 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

let me get this straight you like the idea put forth but you think the campaign should make it a paid fellowship? I doubt he can do that now as he still campaigns in the primary, right now the idea is for people who are passionate about learning these skills will volunteer to be trained on their dime. I doubt he can spend money now to pay for people in these programs. I bet its something he could implement while running in the GE or after he's elected.

by jax8 2008-04-04 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I agree, I was interested in doing this before I realized it was an unpaid internship. This will be a great oppurtunity for rich kids who can afford to do an unpaid internship for the summer, but for most of us it something we can't do. I will be working for one of the 527's instead, hopefully.

by Mr Sifter 2008-04-04 07:16AM | 0 recs
Hillary's Super delegate lead drops sharply

Here is the bad news folks...

In December, according to an Associated Press tally, Clinton led Obama by 106 superdelegates. In February, her lead had been cut to 87. As of Thursday, it was 30.

This is from the LA Times.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/ nation/la-na-superdelegates4apr04,1,4816 771.story

Its almost over, then we can all come together against John McShame.

Go Democrats!

by Silence Do Good 2008-04-04 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

The sign up page doesn't seem incredibly detailed. Perhaps you might want to email them to see if they do provide compensation? I'm going to assume they provide accommodation and food.

Although.. on the other hand, something like this is a great opportunity for any young person. It would be nice to encourage those who cannot afford not to have summer jobs to apply, but you can't really sniff at it.

by grass 2008-04-04 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity
I spent 2 summer months in 68 after graduating H.S. unpaid, working with the UFW organizing in the fields of CO.
Changed my life.
This will do the same for those who pursue it.
by nogo war 2008-04-04 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

its tantamount to an unpaid internship. people do it all the time. this is a silly front page diary.

by aaaa05 2008-04-04 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Ridiculous. I don't know anyone who can go without pay for three months, except rich kids using a trust fund or retirees on a pension.

by KnowVox 2008-04-04 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I'm not a rich kid and I would have done this during one of my summer vacations while in college.

by tessellated 2008-04-04 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

The people in my office fell into neither category.

by rfahey22 2008-04-04 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I'm sure as hell not a rich kid and I've volunteered two summers of my life to kids' camps.

by Shem 2008-04-04 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Wow.  31 minutes on 1 thread on 1 webpage and 4 examples of you being wrong pop up.

Astounding how anger can keep some folks from seeing what's right in front of them.

I volunteered for a summer (11.5 weeks) and didn't get paid.  I worked nights at a movie theatre in college to buy my Ramen noodles.

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity
Huh? Unpaid internships are the norm in many fields where kids value on-the-ground experience more than eating something other than ramen. They're everywhere in the entertainment industry, for instance. You sacrifice for a few months, then you end up with contacts and something great on your resume that helps you get a better job than you otherwise could have.
by jere7my 2008-04-04 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

No one has mentioned teachers yet. Also, small business owners who can set their schedule could do this.

For those who can't devote the time, there is no shortage of volunteering opportunities with the campaign. I've volunteered for Obama. They've done an excellent job of giving people lots of ways to donate their time and effort in way that fits their schedule.

by tessellated 2008-04-04 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I just signed up for myDD (been lurking for a while) to respond to this post.

Many public interest or community organizing work starts out unpaid - thats just the nature of the game.  The idea that this kind of work is only for 'trust-fund' babies is offensive and stinks of unamerican classism (is that even a word)?

If you are dedicated you can often find a third party thats willing to fund your work, such as your university.

Whether or not you support Obama, you can't deny his celebrity status.  If he can cash in on his fame to encourage others to do community work - more power to him.  This may just be a token PR gesture on his part, but to me, its a lot more meaningful than most of the garbage coming out of either camp.  

In the end, community work (often through churches), makes a bigger difference than most things we place a lot more emphasis on in media and politics.

by direwolfc 2008-04-04 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

direwolf,

I am glad that you moved form lurker to sign up commentor.  As a lurker, if I'd seen you at the window all I'd have said was come on in.  Glad to have you, just please don't murder me.

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 09:35AM | 0 recs
Notice I used the word stipend

My background is in nonprofit work.  I understand you don't do this sort of thing to become wealthy.  And I understand that most organizations have to rely on unpaid internships.  I've been a volunteer and I've been an intern.  That kind of support is invaluable.

My point is that the Obama campaign is in a position to offer an actual fellowship, and I wish they'd gone ahead and done that.

by Melissa Ryan 2008-04-04 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Notice I used the word stipend

Yeah, it would have been good if it was actually a fellowship.  Obama has just generated so much enthusiasm among younger people in college or recently out of college.  If their enthusiasm is well placed (in America and not him), it would be great if he could channel it towards doing more community work, which seems to me to be the larger issue about this 'fellowship'.

I guess I've been sort of waiting for him to pivot the enthusiasm of his supporters towards helping solve real problems instead of just helping him get elected.  I'm young, but I've honestly never seen the kind of enthusiasm he generates among young people towards this country.  People who otherwise are more interested in just doing well for themselves (nothing wrong with that) over the course of this campaign genuinely seem to care about the country.  Let's hope that means a commitment to more than just a vote in the fall.

by direwolfc 2008-04-04 08:11AM | 0 recs
While I agree...

Like I said before, Obama can do a lot more for community organizers as president than he can as senator.  Barring that, as a senator with a Democrat in the White House.

Right now he needs to be focussed on winning back our country.  The fact that he's still putting people in communities in touch with one another even now is proof that he's still true to his Chicago community organizer roots.  He didn't have a lot of advantages or incentive to get into the game when he did it; the best he can do now is show that there's other ways to succeed other than just doing the money and power thing from the get-go.

by Dracomicron 2008-04-04 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Notice I used the word stipend

I agree with you Melissa.  The campaign has the organizational wherewithall to at least offer stipends or compensation to those who need it.  This could be rebranded as an internship with need-based scholarships for those unable to participate in something like this.  

At a minimum, he should not use the word fellowship.

by Redstar 2008-04-04 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Notice I used the word stipend

Try suggesting it to the campaign.When I was an Americorp I wrote to the sponsoring agency, to suggest ways of giving the Americorps some additonal financial supports(carfare).

Agencies that are doing leadership development for example miss so many oppotunities to develop talent from the commmunities they are attempting to assist. It is wonderful that Jay Rockefeller stayed after his VISTA commitment,but it would have been really grand if some one from Paducah could have had a similar experience.

by Ida B 2008-04-04 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Notice I used the word stipend

Try suggesting it to the campaign.When I was an Americorp I wrote to the sponsoring agency, to suggest ways of giving the Americorps some additonal financial supports(carfare). It was a sacrifice for me to do but as someone changing careers it was a way to get the experience I needed and because I made so little I was eligible for both Food Stamps and Medicaid which was a help.

Agencies that are doing leadership development for example miss so many oppotunities to develop talent from the commmunities they are attempting to assist. It is wonderful that Jay Rockefeller stayed after his VISTA commitment,but it would have been really grand if some one from Paducah could have had a similar experience.

by Ida B 2008-04-04 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Notice I used the word stipend

I work for a nonprofit too in Washington, DC.  And you probably know just how hard it is to find people to work in nonprofits.  

My point is that the Obama campaign is in a position to offer an actual fellowship...

As usual, the Obama campaign is playing with words.  "Fellowship" makes the job sound more important than "unpaid internship."  And you're right: "fellowship" implies there is some stipend attached to it.  After all, graduate "fellowships" are paid.  

by KimPossible 2008-04-04 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

  I agree. I have been recruited by several Democratic campaigns, but they refuse to pay me a dime.  I would just expect living expenses.  It's time for Obama to reciprocate and help his own supporters.  People can't always work for free.

by cilerder86 2008-04-04 08:09AM | 0 recs
What's with all these Diaries?
If you look over at the Recommended Diaries, 2 of the 5 current diaries, plus this silly front page post, have same basic theme.... Obama supporters are rich elitists trust fund babies.

Is this really helpful and interesting discussion? Can we move beyond such silly insults?
by xtrarich 2008-04-04 08:22AM | 0 recs
Not my point at all

I'm saying that most Obama supporters aren't rich elitist trust fund babies.

by Melissa Ryan 2008-04-04 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: What's with all these Diaries?

A look at the size of the average donation and the number of donors with relation to each campaign makes it clear that the data indicates the opposite.  That's the funny part.

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/donord ems.asp?filter=A&sortby=S

by lockewasright 2008-04-04 09:39AM | 0 recs
This diary is hot garbage

One of the worst that I've seen frontpaged at MYDD.

by bigdcdem 2008-04-04 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

How is this any different from AmeriCorps?  Aside from the pay part?  Not being snide, just sounds very familiar to the Clinton I initiative.

by jarhead5536 2008-04-04 08:35AM | 0 recs
What does it matter?

The more people doing good work, the better.  How does it matter what particular organization it's with?

by Dracomicron 2008-04-04 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

which is similar to VISTA which how Jay Rockefeller got to West( by G-D) Virginia and became a Democrst. I am a ex Americorp Americorp isn't that similar btw.

PPS and I am positive VISTA was similar to something.

by Ida B 2008-04-04 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

Is the Obama campaign going to pay for their room and board?  If they did that, the applications would be pouring in.

by Spanky 2008-04-04 08:46AM | 0 recs
The Paid Internships w/ Obama are already gone

They're called "field staff". The Obama campaign has been up and running for sixteen months right now. I'm sure there are plenty of under-25s working in politics for the very first time that started in March of 2005.

Do we really think think the Obama campaign let go of the people who, on their own, organized Boise State's students for Obama starting last summer?

by niq 2008-04-04 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

you guys are pathetic. grasping at straws. no creds left for you.

by lindab 2008-04-04 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

If you read further you'll see that the OP is an Obama supporter.  Maybe you should... you know... read before making comments.

--sam

by samizdat 2008-04-04 09:17AM | 0 recs
Don't let the 'small donors' meme fool you

Obama has plenty of well-heeled young supporters that will sign up for this. That is his base.

by ocli 2008-04-04 10:06AM | 0 recs
You guys are killing me

"I love Obama, he is the only hope for America,  but does he expect me to work for free?  Get real!"

by ocli 2008-04-04 10:10AM | 0 recs
Disagree

Well, I don't love him and don't view him as the only hope for America, but I do support him.

But this is an aspect of my fellow progressives that drives me crazy.  We fight for good pay, healthcare, etc---but then expect the people on the front lines of that battle to work without good pay and healthcare!

At the very least, there could have been two tracks created (compensated and not).  But to expect people to work for free means that only the well-off can participate.  

by bosdcla14 2008-04-04 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

I completely agree with you.

As an Obama supporter, but more importantly, as a student who has already volunteered with the campaign, I'm exactly the kind of person to which this program is directed.  

And I can't do it.

I'm signed up to be a "Neighborhood Leader" with the Democratic Party of Oregon, but they're asking much less of a time commitment from me.  Obama's campaign is asking for 30 hours a week during the summer.  I will already be working 30-40 hours a week, and at SOME point I'd even like to enjoy my three months off school.

If this was a position where I could join, work hard, and substitute (or even approach substituting) the income I would be getting from working a real job, I'd take it in a heartbeat.  In that case, there would be no job I WANTED to do more.  In this case, however, I simply don't have the ability to pull it of.

And one last note - this is to Shem.  Shem, I've spent a lot of time on MyDD, written a few diaries, engaged in wars of fact and reason with some of the more delusional Clinton supporters on this site, and generally witnessed most of the vitriol that can be spit against Obama on this site.  I actually have taken (and am taking) a big break off from commenting, only adding to discussions where I see there's something to be added, and always trying to keep things fairly positive.  So I understand why your first inclination would be to defend something that you see as an attack.

But this isn't an attack piece by any means.  Obama DID miss an opportunity - it's not saying he won't win in the fall, or that he's a bad person, or anything else.  Just that he could have gone about doing this particular campaign in a way that the author feels would have been more effective.

Nada mas, nada menos.

by The Great Gatsby 2008-04-04 10:26AM | 0 recs
It's like an internship

I have plenty of students that do things like this, typically at NGOs in and around NYC and D.C. If the student can prove that they were not paid and are willing to write a paper based on the experience, we'll even give them course credit to "pay" them for their time. It's our way of giving back and encouraging them to toward social activism after they graduate.

by professor 2008-04-04 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity
I think you're wrong. The spirit of the fellowship would change with pay. My husband and I are considering offering our spare room. If I were a student, I would do it in a heartbeat.
by grasshopper 2008-04-04 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Missed Opportunity

My brother-in-law had a three month unpaid internship with Maine Public Radio. He's young. He waited tables and did some catering to pay his bills. Unpaid internships are quite common.

by Grassroots Mom 2008-04-04 01:27PM | 0 recs

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