Maybe Barack Obama has a fundraising problem in the Twin Cities.  When Monte Bute wanted to display his support for Obama on his lawn and communicate Hope and Change to his neighbors, he got a rude awakening from the local Obama HQ.  After securing a commitment from Bute to door-knock on a weekend in the future, they gladly offered him a lawn sign … for $8 and up:

A few days ago I received a letter from Barack Obama, pleading that I “rush a generous contribution” to him. I placed the return envelope in my checkbook.

The same evening I got a call from his campaign asking me to door-knock on the weekend. I already had plans but I agreed to future weekends.

Then I requested a lawn sign. The volunteer informed me that I could buy one at campaign headquarters.

Buy one? Purchased in bulk, a two-color lawn sign might cost the Obama campaign $1. I checked the Obama ’08 Web site. They offer the budget-conscious supporter a generic 26-by-16-inch sign for $8. For those Obamites into conspicuous consumption, the site advertises a variety of 22-by-15-inch designer signs for $19.99. If this were an oil company, the Democrats would be accusing it of price gouging. As Kurt Vonnegut put it, “So it goes.”

That’s one hell of a markup at Team Obama.

As Bute points out in his cri de coeur, the Obama campaign looks pretty mercenary for a “movement”.  Last week its “free” tickets to the acceptance speech at Invesco Field turned into a demand for uncompensated labor.  Now it wants to charge people for the privilege of advertising on their property.

Even more laughably, when Bute challenged them on this policy, they explained that they had to find a revenue source after rejecting “contributions from PACs and lobbyists”.  Really?  On the same day that Bute’s column appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Los Angeles Times reported on Obama’s solicitation of contributions from those same PACs and lobbyists to get the DNCC out of the red in Denver.  How many more lies can Team Obama tell to get cash out of the saps who want to support The One?

They won’t get any from Bute.  He says he will not donate to the Obama campaign nor work on their behalf until they stop charging for lawn signs.  Bute also wants to charge the Obama campaign for the hours he spent writing an early op-ed singing his praises.  Perhaps Bute, a professor of sociology at a local university, should learn from his experience and understand the fundamental baloney of Hope and Change.

And a note to Team Obama: If you’ve started to disillusion the academics in Minnesota, you’re really in big trouble.

(via King Banaian, who wonders whether the true value of a lawn sign is in advertising or revenue)

Update: Some note that John McCain sells campaign signs through his website as well.  However, that would appear to be for those who don’t go down to a campaign office to get one for themselves.  (The McCain site doesn’t charge for shipping, for instance.)  I’ve never heard of anyone getting charged for a sign at an HQ, especially not those who volunteer to work for the campaign.