Tasteless headline in tribute to what Democratic bronze medalist John Edwards is doing with the e-mails of sympathy he solicited after announcing his wife's incurable cancer:
Visitors to the Edwards site who choose to "send a note to Elizabeth and John" are first taken to a heartfelt letter from the candidate that was written the day after he learned that his wife's cancer had returned. Edwards thanks readers for their "prayers and wishes," vows that he and Elizabeth will "keep a positive attitude always look for the silver lining" and declares that "our campaign goes on and it goes on strongly."
Anyone who then chooses to send a note of sympathy to the Edwardses—and, thus, provide his or her e-mail address—automatically becomes part of the Edwards campaign's online e-mail database, a list that is crucial to any campaign's ability to raise vast amounts of money over the Internet.
If you sent a note to the Edwardses before the critical March 31 end-of-the-quarter fundraising deadline, you would have received frantic e-mail solicitations from the campaign, such as the one on March 28 from Edwards campaign manager David Bonior titled, "96 hours to show substance works." The solicitation asked for "$25, $50 or any amount you can afford to give."
Caveat emptor, obviously. If you're using a form on a candidate's website, you should deduce that you're joining a vast and pitiless Borg and it will send you e-mails until you unsubscribe or your grandchildren die of old age, whatever comes first. Edwards' campaign was smart to transform its crisis into a fundraising opportunity.
That said, the public tear-shedding about brave Elizabeth Edwards and the heroism of people who spend all their time running for president can stop now, thanks. These people aren't normal.