I just started reading the stories here and here about the Obama campaign’s ham-handed takeover of a passionate volunteer’s MySpace site dedicated to Barack Obama. That site at its peak before the takeover had 160,000 friends. The nearest competitor, Hillary Clinton’s MySpace page has almost 43,000 friends. A stark contrast. The Obama campaign offered Joe Anthony a fee to take over the profile. When he came back with what sounds like a modest amount given the community he built alone and the value of that community to Obama as a source of voters and volunteers, the Obama campaign sought to cut him out so they could have the url and with MySpace.com’s help had Anthony’s access to his own profile blocked. News Corp strikes again! Good job Democrats at playing into your political opponents’ hands.

The idiots at Obama’s campaign weren’t able to keep Joe’s friends though. The new profile at the same location is up to 16,000 friends. That’s rapid growth, sure. The campaign is betting they can build the numbers back up given enough time. Even with a boring MySpace page that looks like it’s had the soul sucked right out of it.

I have a few problems with their “strategy”. If the Obama campaign didn’t understand how the netroots would react to this behavior and active assault on the netroots and why it might have been worth 10 times more money than Joe was asking than for people like me and other bloggers with even bigger megaphones to not write posts like this? — wow, they must be really and truly incompetent.

Which makes me question Obama himself and why he would have such arrogant, small-minded, deceitful, hypocritical jackasses working for him. It makes me question his understanding of community engagement and empowerment, since he just crushed one. One devoted to supporting him. What’s his campaign’s plan for communities who aren’t on their side? It makes me question the things he says about wanting to be a campaign that represents all Americans. At My.BarackObama.com, the images say “This Campaign is About You.” Apparently, maybe not.

Above all, it makes me continue questioning where I will put my vote. I won’t forget this, that’s for sure, because it says a lot to me about how Obama really treats the everyday people supporting him behind the scenes. This type of disrespect for others and corner-cutting — faking it til you make it — can often trickle down from the top management. What’s different today is that the screwing of people like Joe Anthony can’t take place in the dark anymore. Not in the same way thanks to the blogosphere and people like you. The Clinton and Edwards campaign have always shown sincere respect for the netroots. It’s hard to say that about the Obama campaign looking at this story if it’s all true.

However, I am certainly interested to hear the Obama campaign’s side of the story…

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