A reader explains why it shouldn't be under-estimated:
After seeing Obama's speech on the steps of the Springfield courthouse, I gave him $50. The next month I signed up for a small recurring gift. Then somewhere in there I bought a t-shirt and a hat. A couple times the campaign invited me to match a first-time donor, and I'd give another $25. I also bought a t-shirt, and then a hat at a small $100 fundraiser (it was November and I was cold). The recurring gift stayed through the primaries, but then every so often he'd get beat and I'd want to lend a hand with another $25. In an e-mail today announcing the June fundraising figures, the Obama campaign told me what I've donated: $1,103.78.
I had no idea how much I'd donated! But since I spent it over the last 15 months, it just kept adding up. I make $50K a year, so this is actually a fairly sizeable chunk for me if I ever had to write it out as a single check. And it's hard not to think about all the other things I could have done with $1,100. But at the same time, it's hard not to feel a little proud, too. I've never given to a candidate before in my life. But I really do feel like I own a piece of the campaign.
I've never subscribed to the belief that money in politics was a bad thing. But I'm starting to feel that the $2,300 cap, combined with Obama's pledge not to accept PAC money, is a good thing. I will keep giving those small $25 and $50 gifts when I can/when I feel like he needs it. There are so many more like me ... I think that when we see the results in November, Democrats and Republicans are going to be aghast at how much Obama and his million donors has changed the political landscape.
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