First Lady Michelle Obama turned 51 today, and she wants your money.
In possibly one of the most cynical and tasteless birthday celebrations of recent times, Mrs. Obama has featured prominently in the Democratic Party’s promotional emails and social media feeds in recent days in order to try and extract money from followers.
Firstly, and undoubtedly approved by Michelle Obama, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent out the following email to party members.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Michelle Obama’s 51st birthday is three days away.
And I bet that you think the First Lady is pretty great — so I wanted to make sure you got the chance to sign your name to her birthday card:
Thanks, — she’s going to love this.”
If you click the link to sign the card, you then get directed to a donor page seeking a financial contribution. Here’s what you’re greeted with.
“Thanks for signing our card for Michelle! Now, can you take the next step and support the democrats?
Unlike our opponents, we don’t take money from special interests, corporate lobbyists, and political action committees.
What we have is supporters like you. Join us by making a donation today.”
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) January 14, 2015
Pretty, cynical, huh? Well, the same stunt has been played out on Twitter by Mrs. Obama and the Democrats, who have been tweeting the link to the page where the First Lady’s card can be signed numerous times over the course of this week.
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) January 17, 2015
If you click the link, you’ll then land on a web page asking you to leave your personal details and sign her birthday card.
If you do choose to sign Mrs Obama’s digital card, you are then magically transported to a squeeze page with the sole aim of wringing a donation to the Democrats out of you, all because it’s Michelle Obama’s birthday. And what better way to celebrate the First Lady’s birthday than donating $2,000, right?
While many Americans may be happy to wish Mrs. Obama a happy birthday, and some supporters of Michelle may even be more than willing to take the time to sign her online birthday card, is this really the type of behavior one should expect of the First Lady and the Democrats?
Surely the invitation to send Mrs. Obama your birthday wishes by simply signing the card would suffice? Is it really necessary to turn the event into a cynical political stunt aimed at squeezing some money out of supporters? Although some followers appeared to miss the point, the reaction of the eagle-eyed on Twitter was understandably negative.
@TheDemocrats How much money you guys asking for?
— Tio Tomás (@TuPadreDice) January 14, 2015
Indeed, many have compared Mrs. Obama’s tactics to the type of stunt often pulled by small-time internet marketers, and indulging in behavior unbecoming of the First Lady of the United States.
It appears that Michelle Obama is once again courting unnecessary controversy. But as long as you pay up, she’s unlikely to care.