Inside Politics Weekend: Missing volunteers

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POST-OBAMA DEPRESSION

What has become of all the grass-roots volunteers who worked so tirelessly to get Barack Obama elected president? No one knows at the moment, apparently.

The priceless bank of 13 million e-mail addresses and information on thousands of field organizers and neighborhood coordinators now lies fallow - vexing Marshall Ganz, a public policy expert at Harvard University.

Momentum is waning, he warns.

“Is this really what ‘building on the movement to elect Barack Obama’ is going to look like? I can’t believe this was put out by the same people who trained organizers in how to do house meetings in the campaign over the past two years,” Mr. Ganz told the Los Angeles Times.

Some claim disenfranchised Obama volunteers are now depressed and have nothing to do.

“This is the problem with a huge fake grass-roots campaign based on the extraordinary qualities of an individual and not a cause or ideology,” observes the Gawker.com.

“Unless Obama does decide to actually become a dictator or cult leader, it will be more or less impossible to harness the energy of all these millions of kids for any purpose, because none of them agree on what needs to be done beyond electing Obama.”

But Obama strategist David Plouffe disagrees. He has already organized a series of “Change is coming” house parties for lapsed volunteers.

“This grass-roots organization has always been about more than an election,” he said in a mass e-mail to the troops. “We’ve only just begun.”

MAD MOMENT

It is truly a cultural moment when Time names Mad as one of the Top-10 magazine covers of the year — right up there with the hoity-toity New Yorker and the Economist.

The September issue of Mad magazine, which morphs President-elect Barack Obama and fictional Mad mascot Alfred E. Neuman, is “cultural commentary,” says Time art director Arthur Hochstein.

“Hear me out on this one. First of all, can you be stupid and smart at the same time? Corny and truly funny? Yes, I believe, to both,” he explains.

And note to Michael Beschloss, Doris Kearns Goodwin: Mr. Neuman now marches in the historic cavalcade of America.

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