I spotted this bumper sticker recently on a Dumpster in San Francisco. And it got me to thinking: Who’s paying for these? I mean, it certainly looks like an official BarackObama.com product, with a union printing label and the proper font. I know there must be a reasonable explanation for who funds these presidential bumper stickers, as well as…

…the buses, banners, signs, websites and other components of the government’s propaganda machine in favor of a health care bill that nobody seems to have read. (Photo above courtesy of El Marco, who documented a recent health care rally in Denver, featuring true astroturfing — government organized pro-health-bill protesters facing off against individual unfunded anti-health-bill protesters.) I suppose Obama has kept his campaign fund and organization going, even after the election is over; now it works to promote his agenda as president, beyond merely having worked to get him elected in the first place. And I suppose the funding for these propaganda materials comes from Obama fans donating to his campaign fund — right? Right? (Anyone who has any info about this topic, please post it in the comments section below, because I’m truly curious.)

Anyway, it seems that this style of governance is almost unprecedented in American history. I don’t recall there being any propaganda materials manufactured and distributed by the Bush campaign itself to promote the No Child Left Behind Act, the invasion of Afghanistan or Bush’s tax cuts. I don’t recall seeing buses driving around America during the Clinton administration as rolling advertisements for NAFTA. In fact, the only similar government-sponsored propaganda drives that I know of occurred during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s term, first during the ’30s promoting the WPA and other economic policies to combat the Great Depression, and then again during the ’40s to promote wartime emergency measures for WWII (“Buy U.S. Savings Bonds,” etc.) Can anyone think of any other president who has operated this way, aside from FDR and Obama?

If Obama is already president, why is he acting like he’s still campaigning? It seems we’ve entered a new phase in American history: the Neverending Campaign, in which there is no break at all between elections. Is this healthy? Or a form of political mania?

51 Responses to “Government-issued Health Care Bill propaganda: The presidency devolves into a neverending campaign”

  1. 1Ringo the Gringo on Aug 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm:

    I went to Henry Waxman’s secret town hall at UCLA on Aug 21 and there were a few hundred pro-Obamacare demonstrators there with pre-made signs complete with the Obama logo. All of the 10-15 anti-Obama protesters had home made signs.

    The weirdest thing was seeing all these Obama supporters holding signs which read simply, “Thank You” in bold letters, with the official Obama symbol over it, and the Obama website below.

    “Thank You”????…What the heck kind of protester marches around with a pro-government sign that says “Thank You”?

  2. 2Anonymous on Aug 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm:

    Constantly campaigning shows that he does not take voters for granted. I believe it was always a goal of his campaign to keep using the network and donation system established before his election in the future. I consider is way healthier than all the shady lobby work currently operating against health care reforms that are so necessary for this country.

  3. 3Shawn on Aug 30, 2009 at 6:47 pm:

    Perhaps Whip Inflation Now with Ford?

  4. 4Stone K on Aug 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm:

    The Bumper sticker on the dumpster seems like surreal irony… However since garbage collecting is a union job in SF it may not be accidental.

    Ringo: did you get pictures of these signs? I would love to find some and add the amendment “For Nothing” on them.

    Anonymous: Shady work against health care reform? So the work of Unions, Acorn and other well known and well established left leaning lobby organizations are innocent of “Shady” activities? What a crock…

    Unions are working very hard to get this “reform” through, why? As far as I have seen most have well establish health care and retirement packages in place for their members… So why do they fight so hard for that reform? Not for some altruistic reason, there has to be some kind of reward for them.

    To quote hamlet “aye there’s the rub”.

    They have mismanaged and abused their position for so long, built up their own self value so high that they have begun to implode. They can no longer maintain the costs of it’s own system that they need a bail out… And where is that bail out coming from? Health care reform.

    One of the reasons for high health care costs is thanks to the ridiculous demands from union labor. Required pay increases with no guarantee of increased or maintained productivity output. Increasing benefits based on seniority not value of work or personal improvement. And the inability of companies to remove useless and under performing employees without costly and time consuming procedures. Now WE must bail out the Unions and they are using their power, numbers and ties to the left to push through heath care reforms that will benefit them but is opposed by a majority of Americans.

    Loading up “town halls”, using very visible union members to intimidate and silence opposition and donating money and resources to “pro-health care” officials and programs… That does not seem like “shady lobby work” too you?

    My guess (not knowing you and not being able to look in too your eyes to see your response) I will guess that you will refute my arguments while knowing inside I am correct.

    Oh and by the way, if you think that I am misinformed about Unions and other pro-health care “reform” organizations, please know I have family, friends and associates who are currently or have been Unions members. I currently have a cousin who’s Union job is about to dry up because his union refused to make any concessions to the company it was “working” for. Now a HUGE factory near my home is shutting down, and guess what the Union is doing? Running to the government to get them to convince the company not to close down… Rather than working with the company to prevent a shut down they are demanding the Government stop the shut down… So the Federal government is going to prevent a private business from acting in it’s own best interests thanks to the Union lobbying… Seems a little shady to me…

  5. 5Dave Surls on Aug 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm:

    “I spotted this bumper sticker recently on a Dumpster in San Francisco.”

    Can’t think of a more appropriate location for it.

  6. 6zombie on Aug 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm:

    3 Shawn

    Perhaps Whip Inflation Now with Ford?

    Hey, good memory! I think they indeed made those ’70s-style “buttons” with “W.I.N.” on them.

    In retrospect they seem so puny and lo-tech!

    Then again, what exactly was Ford proposing that the populace do to “whip inflation now”? In fact, quite the opposite happened: America elected Carter, and inflation then got much much worse under his blunderous economic scheme. Yeah, those “W.I.N.” buttons really did the trick.

  7. 7richb on Aug 30, 2009 at 11:17 pm:

    That sticker is where this turkey of a “healthcare” bill should be: in the dumpster of history. Why would any country consider socialized and nationalized medicine at this time, when most of the countries stuck with it look for ways to escape from it?

    On a sidenote: I am glad I am not the only one that noticed how the conservative protesters have homemade signs vs. the liberals with the pre-made signs. And the conservatives are the ones criticized for top down organizing. Huh,,,,,,,, Once again its all wrong. The government, or I should say taxpayers are paying for the pro-Obama signs, there is no way they are paying for it on there own.

    And though it being sold as “reform”, it isn’t reform,,,,, its not even close.

    Someone else will have to clean up this mess, that will be the reform.

  8. 8Christina on Aug 31, 2009 at 3:50 am:

    “How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever someone upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever someone upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American Flag?”

    “We have jobs.” said Andy.

    -P. J. O’Rourke

    I might add, in the wake of the Craigslist recruiting, that for the Lefties, protesting often IS their job.

  9. 9Guy Average on Aug 31, 2009 at 7:37 am:

    When Gerald Ford did his infamous WIN presentation on national TV, the lights were so hot he broke out into a profuse sweat, which was an image used to mock him. It was later revealed that this was something that the TV studio had intentionally done, hot lights and lowering the thermostat on the AC in the studio, to further indoctrinate the public in Ford’s supposed image as a bumbler and stumbler.

    Barack does not have that problem with the TV networks.

    (If you got a shot of the people off camera they might be drooling or there might be a tingling leg or two).

  10. 10Pork Soda on Aug 31, 2009 at 10:13 am:

    I currently have a cousin who’s Union job is about to dry up because his union refused to make any concessions to the company it was “working” for. Now a HUGE factory near my home is shutting down, and guess what the Union is doing? Running to the government to get them to convince the company not to close down…
    Stone K on Aug 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm:

    Sounds like the NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA


  11. 11Pork Soda on Aug 31, 2009 at 10:17 am:

    “Thank You”????…What the heck kind of protester marches around with a pro-government sign that says “Thank You”?

    These idiots who think that their street theater is is just too cute:


  12. 12EL Rider on Aug 31, 2009 at 4:15 pm:

    The Washington Post wrote about the formation of Organizing For America but they didn’t dig into the funding for what was described as “Obama 2.0″.


  13. 13Albert Neurath on Aug 31, 2009 at 5:23 pm:

    A fitting place for that sign indeed. I can only think of one better place, namely on a public toilet.

    I haven’t seen astroturfing like this since the Chinese government hired pro-government demonstrators during that whole thing about Tibet and the Olympics.

  14. 14Stone K on Aug 31, 2009 at 8:17 pm:

    Pork Soda: “Sounds like the NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA”

    Got it in one!

    My cousin has worked at the plant since it opened.

  15. 15Squanto McButterpants on Aug 31, 2009 at 10:42 pm:

    #9,there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

  16. 16GWB on Sep 1, 2009 at 11:49 am:

    #15 Squanto

    where did that come from? There was nothing in #9s post about Eastern Europe.

    back on topic, I’d like to say that the people who think we do not need health care reform need a serious wake up call, and the people who think that the current bill is “reform” need a swift kick in the groin.

    I like to compare our current health care system to an old car. It runs, but it could use a tune-up. The current bill seems to be like junking that old car and buying a new Hummer.

  17. 17Guy Average on Sep 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm:

    One thing that could be done would be to allow the insurance companies to compete with one another across state lines and regions of the country, unlike now where competition is restricted by regulation. This would, of course, require a belief in a free-market system.

  18. 18bluestateblues on Sep 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm:

    i just love the way we all have to do it now ‘for ted.’ omg, …ted represented nothing more than an political family name which led to his entitlement of sweeping scandal under the rug. only a lib could be so blind.

  19. 19Squanto McButterpants on Sep 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm:

    Could someone else explain my post to #16? I’m too tired from wading through all the stupid I’m finding here.

  20. 20Ken on Sep 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm:

    “I haven’t seen astroturfing like this since the Chinese government hired pro-government demonstrators during that whole thing about Tibet and the Olympics.”

    The Chinese government HIRED people? Give me a break. I”d like proof (and by “proof” I mean conclusive evidence, not “they were all wearing the same wind-breakers and came on the same bus.” That means nothing). There are enough Chinese in China and abroad who are “pro-government” that they wouldn’t need to hire anybody. If only you could have been in China at that time and seen their level of…uh…”intensity” you’d understand.

  21. 21JonnyN on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:43 am:

    Barack Obama’s government and campaigning is like a bicycle: it has to keep going. If it stops it becomes impossible to balance.

  22. 22Doctor Jeff on Sep 3, 2009 at 9:54 am:

    Lets not forget that David Axelrod who is one of Obama’s chief advisors was the chief strategist behind Obama’s successful presidential and senate campaigns is probably behind this using the same strategies that worked during the elections. It certainly has all of his usual touches. It is great use of the new softer touch bully pulpit approach to help extend the Obama socialistic agenda on our country. I would not be suprised to see this branding Obama approach to other agenda items as well in the near future.

  23. 23KC on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:29 pm:

    As usual, you have noticed and raised an interesting (and curious) issue which sort of escapes me also. For various reasons, I don’t think that we see quite the level of continuous campaigning in my neck of the woods but I can only guess that politicians have come to conclusion that people’s ideas are ever changing, somewhat fickle and not too deep. Therefore, maybe they think, that superficial promotions, balloons and bumper stickers on the dumpster are good insurance.

  24. 24Albert Neurath on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:46 am:

    I assume, Ken, that you are a resident in China? Very well, I defer to your judgement. The pro-government demonstrators at the San Francisco rally were very well organized; to the point where it can be fairly assumed that they were organized by an outside force. Whether that was the Chinese government, I do not know.

  25. 25buzzsawmonkey on Sep 4, 2009 at 10:35 am:

    I noticed those “Thank You” posters, and some others, at some video or other of one of the townhall events. Same block-cap Gill Sans lettering as the Obama campaign, same Obama logo, same use of Prussian blue as background for the signs.

    I think it was during the Reagan years that breathless stories appeared in the media about Reagan’s powerhouse advertising men who were acting as advisors telling him to stay on point with the “message of the day” (any reporter queries to the Administration got only the “message of the day” instead of an answer to what they were asking), Reagan’s supposedly masterful use of media, etc. And, of course, the mainstream publications which wrote about this uniformly decried the pollution of politics with advertising.

    How pallid all that seems now before the juggernaut branding of Obama. The “O” logo, the color and type coordination, the incredible multiplicity of pro-Obama stickers and posters and buttons and G-d knows what else, the YouTube videos and websites and Personal Pre-Presidential Seal (OK, he took a little flak for that); it’s like a blitz for McDonald’s or KFC.

  26. 26christmasghost on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm:

    The weirdest thing was seeing all these Obama supporters holding signs which read simply, “Thank You”

    I saw exactly the same thing at Mike Thompson’s “townhall meeting”….more Kabuki theater than anything else. When I asked the rocket scientists holding the signs where they came from they all said variations of “I dunno…”
    But Thompson obviously had had a secret strategy meeting with his BFF Nancy Pelosi and the fools color coded their shills so Thompson…not the sharpest tack in the box anyway…would know who to call on…and he did.

  27. 27buckykat on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:43 pm:

    Where is the outrage? The communications director of the National Endowment for the Arts is encouraging artists who receive government grants to push the Obama agenda. http://www.nypost.com/seven/09042009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/politicizing_the_arts_187980.htm
    Based on the evidence of Obama’s falling poll numbers the propaganda doesn’t seem to be working.
    Also, they seem confused. Organizing for America, which promotes Obama’s initiatives, was out in my community a couple of days ago urging people to pressure Sen. Feinstein (D CA) to support the health care public option. But on the same day the news was that Obama himself was backing away from the public option.

  28. 28Rose on Sep 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm:

    I agree – all you have to do is compare the signs.

    The regular people have had scribbled signs, with very detailed personal messages.

    The ACORN/SEIU/activist-lab backed true astroturfers are very well collateralized, with professional signs, banners, bumper stickers, T-shirts, business cards, the whole works. The same is true of the predatory litigious fake environmental groups.

    Thanks for your work. It’s always eye-opening to come here.

  29. 29K on Sep 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm:

    I’m sitting here looking at a “No Child Left Behind” pencil and stationary set. These were given out in massive quantites at a parade in my hometown during Bush’s presidency. This propoganda and “stuff to hand out” is totally the norm for politics, maybe you’re just now paying attention.

  30. 30arhooley on Sep 6, 2009 at 10:38 am:

    Sorry for the off-topic. I hear that 1) you have bombshell after bombshell on Van Jones, that 2) he is incredibly ambitious, and that 3) you predict he’ll be in Democratic national politics come 2020. Why don’t you provide us with everything you’ve got on him now?

  31. 31Horse on Sep 6, 2009 at 11:05 am:

    Sharks never sleep nor stop swimming. They require significant consumption to maintain this way of life.

    Where does the Obama campaign get its resources to keep swimming? Perhaps organizations like Acorn and unions, and wealthy business owners. The same organizations and businesses getting billions of government money, creating a little ecosystem to keep them all alive. So the failed stimulus was at least stimulating to the permanent Obama campaign and cohorts, which was probably the real reason it was needed ASAP earlier this year.

    What they forgot is sometimes the ever swimming shark does occasionally get caught in nets and traps. And the Obama administration is currently caught in a few of them.

  32. 32pat on Sep 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm:

    Why is there a continuing campaign instead of governance? Because that is the way views the nation. The left is not there to solve mundane problems like unemployment or street signs. No. It wants to transform America and the world into a model society. And since leftists seem to believe really crazy stuff…….there might be a bit of pain. As Ayers once opined, 20 million Americans might have to die for his model society. That was one ninth of the population at the time.

  33. 33pat on Sep 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm:

    I wish i could type.

  34. 34pat on Sep 6, 2009 at 7:59 pm:

    You know I once did a home grown environmental campaign. Very successful. I got 400 bumber stickers for $400 dollars. High quality plastic. Got the contributions after calling 3 friends.

  35. 35mudskipper on Sep 6, 2009 at 11:57 pm:


    Mark Lloyd wrote a chapter for a book entitled: ‘Lessons for realistic radicals in the information age’. The book is: The Future of Media: Resistance and Reform in the 21st Century. Might be worth checking out:

    Mark Lloyd, Lessons for Realistic Radicals in the Information Age (2005), states, “communications policy is central to our unique republic”. He goes on to add, “this basic framework of our democracy has been destroyed. by deliberate policy decisions that have allowed one segment of our society to dominate communication.” He then discusses constitutional mechanisms supporting speech and the press as well as “the health of the republic being more important than the interests of merchants”. He elucidates the elimination of these items’ affect on the republic, in the form of a society whose communications policies are built around the market needs of capitalism rather than the sociological needs of the populace.

  36. 36Adrenalyn on Sep 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm:

    well, his campaign is still in full swing as evidenced also by the way he created buzz on the school chat coming Tuesday September 08

    he fed some line to critics by saying he would talk about one thing, gave a rough outline
    ginned up a bunch of flak
    then inserted a very nice and sappy, sanitized speech and cried foul, thru his media/blog allies

    and thanks to leftwing news and blogs, has managed to allow the left to mock the right as kooks

    nice work mister president ! and campaign managers…..

  37. 37pat on Sep 8, 2009 at 9:14 am:

    Zombie, I found this line in an American Spectator article;

    “When confronted with the 2004 9/11 truther petition by the White House communications staff, Jones, according to sources, initially blamed his staff at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The petition was spun by the White House as Jones simply not having read the material closely. Within an hour of the White House statement with Jones’s apology, another document came to light indicating that Jones had helped organize a 2002 truther protest march in San Francisco. Jones, according to White House sources, denied any involvement. ”


  38. 38Guy Average on Sep 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm:


    Indeed it was a campaign speech, and also a convenient distraction since a “serious crisis” is not currently available to exploit to take the focus off of the headlong rush to Change What We Believe In.

  39. 39bill-tb on Sep 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm:

    I just know that if Bush had doen this there wouldn’t be any comments from the state run media, as there is none now from the state run media.

    I thought Obumbers Sales Call in the House went well, shrill lies every sentence, I doubt here were any sales made though.

    At some point, most intelligent people realize no one is buying their shuck and jive ‘free elixir’ act.

  40. 40Anonymous on Sep 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm:

    Interesting how the health care protests are chock-o-blog with raving lunatics, yet suddenly your interest in documenting crazies at protests seems to have disappeared completely!


  41. 41Squanto McButterpants on Sep 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm:

    #40, exactly!

    Hey zombie, how about covering a Tea Party protest?

  42. 42scottishbuzzsaw on Sep 14, 2009 at 5:29 am:

    Thank you for all your hard work over the years, Zombie. It’s been much appreciated.

  43. 43Squanto McButterpants on Sep 14, 2009 at 8:30 pm:

    OMG! Health care PROTESTORS with pre-made signs!!! It’s a LIBERAL CONSPIRACY!!!111eleven!!



  44. 44Anonymous on Sep 18, 2009 at 8:13 am:

    Without reading the whole article…When I was a FRESHMAN in highschool, a class mate of mine created a group on myspace that said bush should die. The secret service came to fucking school and questioned him. They went that far.

  45. 45laura on Sep 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm:

    I know this does not answer the question about where the money is coming from, however it does pertain to this topic:


  46. 46Anonymous on Oct 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm:

    some of the most beautiful signs ive ever seen…considering how many he killed i think its only fair…of the course the main dif is that these signs were made by independent people and had no ties to move on and the like…the signs you yokels carry around are sponsored by faux news et al in your (ahem) grass roots…still, i think those were just lovely and hopefully justice will be served for those last 8 criminal years…hang em high!

  47. 47Henry massingale on Oct 15, 2009 at 6:13 pm:

    Health Care Reform

    For You,

    As I search for a way to reach people, I have found it hard to say what is needed to unite people in one voice, to be as one with all views. To build a program supported by all. When people ask me how did I come up with a program such as this, I say that I asked God to help me.
    Within this world of men it is hard for many to take faith in such words, so I say to all that if you and I stood before God, that all that is created within this web site is true and honest and it is free to you to build on.
    Government leaders ask us, if we have any ideas, I saw this on TV, but how am I to say to them that God opened my mind and I was given a chance to share this with all and to unite all as one.
    No more words, please take the time to visit us on google.com, look for page 1 American dream, and you will see http://www.fascmovement.mysite.com and please if you like this concept PAY IT FORWARD.

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