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?