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Thread: Was Barack Obama right to opt out of public financing?

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Was Barack Obama right to opt out of public financing?

    On the night of Sept. 16, Barack Obama will not be in Cincinnati, Ohio, or Lebanon, Va., or Grand Rapids, Mich., or any of the other swingiest regions of the swingiest swing states. Instead, the Democratic presidential nominee will start his evening at a 46,000 square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills, then proceed to the posh Beverly Wilshire hotel, where rooms start at $495 a night. Needless to say, Obama won't be prospecting for votes in the Golden State, where he currenty leads Republican rival John McCain by an insurmountable 15-point margin. He'll be mining for money.

    It wasn't supposed to be like this. When Obama opted out of public financing--unlike McCain, who gladly accepted an $84.1 million check from the American taxpayers on Sept. 5--the chattering classes predicted that his efficient Web-based small-donor money machine would rake in "around or above $300 million" for the two-month general election campaign, a sum even larger than his record-shattering $272 million primary haul. But as we noted (first on July 11 and again on Aug. 19) "the real surprise" of this year's cash chase is that "it's much more competitive than anyone expected." Take July, for example. While Obama netted a massive $51 million--again clobbering McCain, who racked up $27 million--the important statistic to look at is the combined amount of cash-on-hand for each candidate and his party (i.e, how much is actually available to spend on getting the nominee elected). In this case, the totals were nearly identical: the Republicans finished the month with $96 million in the bank ($75 million for the RNC, $21 million for McCain) versus $94.3 million for the Democrats ($25.8 million for the DNC, $65.8 million for Obama). In other words, the "mighty" Obama and "measly" McCain--who raised only $120 million over the course of the entire 16-month primary campaign--were tied. So much for the punditocracy's pecuniary predictions.


    Unfortunately, August isn't looking any rosier for Obama. This morning, The New York Times reported that "the campaign is struggling to meet ambitious fund-raising goals it set for the campaign and the party," collecting "in June and July far less from Senator Hillary Rodham Clintonís donors than originally projected" and pushing donors to give more with letters characterizing their recent efforts as "extremely anemic." Meanwhile, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder added that "after a year of telling donors not to contribute to 527 groups, of encouraging strategists not to form them and of suggesting that outside messaging efforts would not be welcome in Obama's Democratic Party, Obama's strategists" are now "hoping that Democratic allies"--i.e., 527 groups--"will come to Obama's aid."

    Why now? According to the Times, Chicago characterized its own monthy haul as the "best...yet" (think $60 million or so). That said, "a California fund-raiser familiar with the [DNCís] August performance estimated that it raised roughly $17 million last month, a drop-off from the previous month, and finished with just $13 million in the bank"--about half of July's war chest. In terms of cold, hard cash, then, this probably means that Obama started September with around $90-$100 million in the bank. The McCain campaign, meanwhile, managed to rake in a record $47 million for its coffers and another $22 million for the party, finishing the month with more than $100 million on-hand money that it has now turned over to the RNC. Combined with McCain's fresh infusion of $84 million in public funds and the $100 million RNC fundraisers expect to raise in September and October, that would leave the GOP with about $300 million at its disposal. To keep up, Obama and Democrats have to rake in about $100 million a month from now until November 4. That's $25 million more than their best combined monthly total to date. They're going to need all the help they can get.

    In truth, the problem isn't that Obama doesn't have enough dinero. He has--and will continue to have--tons, most of which he can invest at his own discretion (unlike McCain, who's only allowed to direct a small portion of the RNC's disbursements). And when Obama's primary donors cut checks for the general, he'll likely get more. Given that Chicago is bent on expanding the map--and using its own resources to do it--that's an important distinction. The problem is that--compared to his publicly-financed Republican rival--Obama may not have enough money to justify the costs of opting out. While McCain spends the two-month sprint to the finish wooing voters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania without stopping to replenish his coffers, Obama will have to work harder than ever to keep the cash flow coming. That means more fundraisers in like the one next week in Beverly Hills (or the one with Bon Jovi last week in New Jersey) and less time on the trail.

    No doubt that on Sept. 16 Obama would rather be in Ohio than Beverly Hills, listening to a working mom talk about her economic struggles instead of listening to Barbara Streisand sing. No doubt his political strategists--keenly aware of how the rest of American will interpret Streisand + mansions + Hollywood--would agree. But it isn't quite working out that way.

    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/stumper/archive/2008/09/09/was-obama-right-to-opt-out-of-public-financing.aspx



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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Everybody knew that was dumb on his part anyway.. he thought this time it would be "different", that the electctorate would come to its senses after 8 years of Bush.

    Never under-estimate the stupid.
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    Yeah, never underestimate stupidity of the masses.

    Just for once I'd like to have some middle class or lower class conservative explain to me how they can keep on supporting a regime that goes out of its way to make their lives harder. The Bush administrations policies only help the wealthiest 5% of the population. Most of their supporters take it in the rear yet never figure out they're being screwed. How do you justify supporting those that hurt and belittle you?

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    See, this is where someone with more political milage have known better.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Yes, because Obama has nobody on his team with political mileage.

    Newsflash everybody:

    ONLY HILLARY CLINTON WOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.
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    No Grimm, anyone who had been doing it say as long as his/her whole first term of office as opposed to one year.

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    Obama's money problems
    Ed Lasky

    Barack Obama promised to accept public financing of his general election campaign. This commitment earned him support among some liberals in the primary campaign. But after clinching the Democratic nomination, he broke his promise (a nasty habit of his) and opted out of public financing, believing in his own powers -- not just to stop the melting of the ice caps but also to continue to raise massive amounts of money.


    He justified his betrayal with imaginary threats regarding the power of 527 groups allied with the Republican Party. If anything, his party and candidacy benefits more from such groups than McCain-Palin.


    Now it appears the One's powers may have weakened. Campaign money woes are mounting . The 50 (or is it 57) state strategy is a thing of the past as offices are being closed.


    Donors are being pressured to ante up to stay in the money game, reports the New York Times. They are being admonished -- particularly in his home state of Illinois -- to work the phones and pull out the checkbooks:


    After months of record-breaking fund-raising, a new sense of urgency in Senator Barack Obama's fund-raising team is palpable as the full weight of the campaign's decision to bypass public financing for the general election is suddenly upon it.


    Pushing a fund-raiser later this month, a finance staff member sent a sharply worded note last week to Illinois members of its national finance committee, calling their recent efforts "extremely anemic."


    At a convention-week meeting in Denver of the campaign's top fund-raisers, buttons with the image of a money tree were distributed to those who had already contributed the maximum $2,300 to the general election, a subtle reminder to those who had failed to ante up.


    The signs of concern have become evident in recent weeks as early fund-raising totals have suggested that Mr. Obama's decision to bypass public financing may not necessarily afford him the commanding financing advantage over Senator John McCain that many had originally predicted.

    I guess the Jon Bon Jovi fundraiser (tickets $30,800 a person -- this is how the other .00045% lives) and the prospect of hearing Barbra Streisand sing are just not doing the trick.


    Or is it the prospect of having to hand out large amounts of so-called street money to get out the Obama vote that is driving the need for money? The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that politicians in the battleground state of Michigan are suggesting that the Obama campaign start spreading the green:


    Some black politicians have pointed out that the Obama campaign could help itself in some urban neighborhoods by deploying what's called "street money" -- essentially, paying people to spend time cajoling folks into filling out registration forms and getting them properly filed. Payment of street money isn't illegal, but it has unsavory connotations

    The Philadelphia Daily News has already reported the Obama campaign intends to hand out street money in Pennsylvania to "pump out the turnout in November" and will partner with Democratic ward leaders (something Obama has gained wide experience with by being part of machine politics in Chicago and marrying the daughter of a Daley Machine operative). Of course, as noted by Catherine Lucey of the PDN, such an "unsavory" practice "represents exactly the kind of transactional politics Obama has run against".


    Obama's claims that his "management" of the campaign shows he has the skills to be President.


    Barack Obama contends that he is more experienced in executive matters than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin because he has managed his presidential campaign for the past 18 months.


    Speaking on a cable news channel Monday night, the Democratic presidential nominee said he is better prepared to handle a disaster like Hurricane Gustav because of his pursuit of the White House.

    Profligate spending is a Democratic habit. Maybe that's because so few of them have ever run a business or dealt in a "reality-based world". When one's career has always depended on taxpayer or tax-free foundation money, the grasp of the realities of meeting a payroll is tenuous, to say the least.


    Barack Obama now has to keep dunning donors to feed the beast of his campaign. Maybe he should have cancelled the trip to Berlin and the Invesco extravaganza. How many millions of dollars were squandered on these ego-affirming exercises?


    We know how Obama ran through and wasted $100 million in charitable donations when he headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, with no benefit to the schools and students of Chicago (though grantees, including a former Students for a Democratic Society pal of William Ayers, benefited).


    His management of the campaign yardstick comes up short. He needs constant infusions of cash to operate. This sounds suspiciously like his vision of American government: constantly overspending and going back for more (aka, tax hikes) when spending exceeds revenues.


    If he becomes President, you can predict fairly securely, based on his performance, that he will also run through your money with abandon.


    With Barack Obama what you see is not what you get. His new kind of politics is merely a new kind of packaging.

    American Thinker Blog: Obama's money problems

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    See, this is where someone with more political milage have known better.
    Yeah, I can think of a certain Senator with more political mileage who blew through a $100 million in campaign cash by Super Tuesday and had to put up some of their own cash.

    But if Obama's smart he'll do what he did with Hillary and force McCain to overspend on ads

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Yeah, I can think of a certain Senator with more political mileage who blew through a $100 million in campaign cash by Super Tuesday and had to put up some of their own cash.

    But if Obama's smart he'll do what he did with Hillary and force McCain to overspend on ads
    Oh how I wish McCain would have to blow through Cindy's beer money! I've often wondered at the lunacy of spending zillions of dollars for a job that doesn't pay that much and focuses the unblinking eye of the public on every aspect of your life.

    I got a letter in the mail asking for a large contribution to the McCain campaign that stated that Obama had a much bigger war chest and to not let Obama have the most campaign money.. yadda yadda yadda Republican lies.. I wrote 'ENOUGH!' on it and mailed it back to them on their own dime.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    The majority of McCain's 'campaign' stops are at hotel fundraisers, but when Obama is preparing for one in California, he's obviously circling the drain?! Give me a break!!

    Obama's handled his campaign and the funding better than any candidate among them.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    People forget Obama earned $8 million in donations in one day after Palin's speech, while McCain only picked up $1 million, during the Republican Convention.

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