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Obama Says No "street Money"

I think Ben Smith is right about the implications of this Los Angeles Times story on Obama's refusal to dole out "street money." Ben writes:

The trap, though, is that if Clinton activates the machine, she's probably pulling out Obama voters. The risk to Obama isn't so much that Clinton invests -- as her backing from local leaders may oblige her to do -- but that nobody does.

Exactly. If Clinton ponies up, there's really no way to make sure the beneficiaries vote for her. (Reminds me of a Wire episode--season three, I think.) Which means they're unlikely to, since support for Obama in the African American community is so high. If you're a "volunteer" for a local political organization, getting paid by the Clinton campaign is the best of all worlds--you get paid, and you get to vote for the candidate you like. The only scenario you want to avoid is not getting paid at all.

I guess the risk for Obama is that Clinton doesn't have the $500,000 it would cost to activate the local machinery, according to the LAT. (Or that her campaign can make the same strategic calculation Ben and I are making and decides there's no percentage in inner-city turnout.)

--Noam Scheiber