Campaign Money

  "Money Corrupts the System" Crowd Missing in Action

Political candidate should raise and spend as much money as they can or want in campaigns. Government limits on freedom of speech always produce unintended consequences.  But like many conservatives, I feel pummeled by the impact of Democratic/liberal money this cycle. The causes and consequences of the money gap require a much longer post/discussion. 

I just want to make one narrower point today. If you consider the amount of money the Obama campaign raised this cycle and combine it with the various Democratic campaign committees (e.g. Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) they will raise a total of over $1 billion this cycle. That's never happened before. And that also doesn't include any labor or liberal 527 money.

Good for them. But join me in a little thought exercise. What would the so-called reformers be saying if Republicans blew the doors off fundraising records?

I explore the numbers in more detail in this  column in the Washington Times today and end with this caution.  Republicans should ensure they're never outspent like this again. But once they ratchet up the fundraising next cycle, get ready for the "reformers" to charge the GOP's trying to "buy the election."

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Campaign $

How much of our trailing way behind in fundraising is due to McCain accepting public financing, does that make a difference at all?  One way to increase Republican money is to follow the Obama model and turn off all fraud checks so that anyone, anywhere in the world can give as much money as they want!

couldn't agree more

Some of my favorite GOP ads done in the NC and KY Senate races have centered around pointing out that an awful lot of funding going to their Democratic opponents isn't a result of grassroots support from their fellow Kentuckians and North Carolinians but a thick funnel of money coming from the kind of Democrats with whom few Southerners share priorities and worldviews.

I will be the first to say that the GOP needs to pivot off the binary religious issues since they tend to get a little simplistic and turn off many people who are religious but find the context inappropriate for national politics. But the people in North Carolina do need to know that Kay Hagan, should she be elected, owes a chit or two to radical, aggressive atheists from Massachusetts. They may not care and may ultimately elect Hagan anyway, but they do need to know. Bottom line.

Minority Leader McConnell has put out ads noting how much money Senator Schumer is spending on his race. Southern Democratic electoral success depends on separating yourself from national Democratic leadership, so ads like this are anathema.

You know what, though? I don't see the money gap as being permanent at all. Our big money sat on the sidelines this year because of McCain, plain and simple. We do have catch up to do, and although Howard Dean makes me cringe as a person, it was probably smart to bring him to the DNC because he does know a little something about fundraising on the Internet...

But when Dobson funds Bachmann, it is OK?

Let's not forget that both sides airdrop money over borders - Michele Bachmann owes a chit or two to Dobson.


I think the voters of MN-6 need to know that, too.

The "why" is important, too

I generally agree with the article and the comments, but I find there's a misconception around fundraising that is focused on process, i.e. being better at raising money on the Internet, as the primary cause for success/failure this go around.

True, the Ds have some really good processes in place to raise campaign funds, but $600 MM alone for Obama?  You don't get those numbers because you have better flow on your website for accepting campaign donations, or because Howard Dean is a great salesman, or there are no fraud checks.  Especially in a declining economic environment.

There is a larger force at play.  I would suggest the leading cause that Obama has raised so much cash (and the other organizations along with him) is that many of their donors feel a sense of purpose in making that donation.  There's a significant chunk of the electorate that feels very turned off by the current administration, and they feel they're making a positive difference by making that donation.

I don't think the same argument can be made for the bulk of R donors this year.  By contrast, contributions to McCain's campaign are being sold (at least how the pitch was made to me) through a negative lens -- donate to me because of "that one".  There's a big difference between buying something that makes you feel good vs. buying something to avoid something bad, and that's what the pitch looks like right now.  And it is exaggerated by McCain continually calling out the fear factor, i.e. "watch out for Obama-Reid-Pelosi".

The Ds have a lot going for them in this election, including a better frame of reference on the sales pitch.

I think the Palin pick was a

I think the Palin pick was a good way to help close the enthusiasm gap -- but you're right, it's still there.

I blame McCain for the big Texas checkbooks staying closed this year and the Christian Coalition and others staying out of it. He truly dislikes those people. He calls them out in public all the time. Again, Palin helped, and not just because of her own evangelical creds, but we still have a gap. Why would the 527s come in? McCain is not their friend.

Now, to Obama. Yes, the enthusiasm on the part of his supporters is amazing. I can't wait to see the post-election analyses of the campaign because I am sure there are things we could learn. But the reasons for the fervor scare me and it's not a model I want the GOP to follow. Think of the nouns people use around him: "Hope", "Change", "Progress." He is a secular Jesus for the purveyors of and wallowers in a materialist victimology that's become a cancer in American society. I'm ashamed to admit that seeing the whining and complaining that Obama is banking on to get elected has made me disdain so many of my fellow Americans for the way they're so ready to eschew self reliance and stand in line for a handout. I do not doubt we have problems and I do not doubt the need to make life easier for the American middle class, but Obama is cashing in on a self pitying, pathetic strain of American society that makes it obvious why Oprah is his biggest supporter.

I'd rather be a minority forever than get in a cyclical competition with these people over who feels your pain more acutely. Bush tried it and look where we are --picking up the pieces.

Not as important as the "how".

That gazillion dollars is not coming from millions of ordinary Americans looking for "hope and change". It's coming from the same handful of wealthy fat-cats who have always funded the Democratic party.


Fat cats

Reps have their own fat cats, and they've stayed away. Strategy, tactics and organization count more than money. BHO has done very well at all three of these; McCain . . . he proves my point. No strategy, barely any money at the start of the general election, and bad organization. Although he will most likely loose, he won't by as much as a Reagan/Mondale blowout. Even in a bad Rep climate.

Reps should only be thinking about it's plank and the discipline to follow it.


Are you sure about that, Jon?

3.1 million donors to the Obama campaign last I heard. That's a lot of fat cats.

You are mistaken.

There may have been that many donations to the Obama campaign. It's a pretty big leap to get from there to that many donors.

The Obama campign purposedly does not keep the data needed to determine the number of donors, since that data could also be used in prosecuting them.

yes i call bs too. last i

yes i call bs too. last i checked, (and of course the past few months could have thrown things way out of whack), the average donation to the RNC was about half that of the DNC.

It's an amazing shift in demographic support that the mainstream media should be covering, and probably would be if the shoe were on the other foot.

But what story is there?

So they raised more? And they do report on this. but it's a one-liner news item if there are no consequences. Barack has raised more, DNC has raised more and . . . DNC should just say 'no'?

Welcome to the free market! According to the Obama people and the liberal controled MSM, it works.

Maybe we can thwart them in the next election by being more socialist than they are. State controlled elections will take care of the democrat problem.

No, I mean a story that

No, I mean a story that debunks the notion that the Democrats are the party of the little guy and Republicans only represent big business. Those two things are only a fraction of each one's coalition.

Yeah, but . . .

Both parties try to cast themselves as fighting for the average person. McCain's got Joe the Plumber and Obama's got the arthritic grandma. And for the average, non-aligned person, it's a total sell on both sides. I don't think there will be some  political techtonic shift if the MSM blew the story of average campaign contributions.

The MSM has been talking about how much Obama's been raising. That's not a secret, the MSM is covering that. But like Wright and Ayers, the mass audience doesn't care. The MSM is a for-profit venture. If it's not selling, it's not going to be highlighted. Even if you and some other people really, really, really want them to.

I really, really, really hate pop music (I have a little girl and I curse the day she gets into manufactured boy-bands), but damn if I can get people to stop buying it. That's why it's not really worth discussing. You're better off cutting your loses in this catagory and focus on what matters. . . to others. That's how you win an election. You figure out what other people care about, not force what you care about on others.

I think you're right that it

I think you're right that it wouldn't cause a political shift...I just get tired of people assuming that Republicans are out to screw the average person and enrich themselves. Of course a lot of the establishment GOP is making that a hard sell *cough* Stevens *cough* but I guess I'm just venting.

who and who much

Again, I think it's irrelevent who or how much is donated. In terms of how much, you're going to hit the law of dimished returns. McCain isn't losing because of this.  Both parties has grass roots donations and big money donors. I don't think money sways elections.

And philosphically, I don't think names should be kept. As long as you are a citizen of this country, donate away. I don't believe in coorporate or foreign donors.


Not so

Both parties has grass roots donations and big money donors.

The Democratic Party has always relied heavily on the donations of a small number of very wealthy individuals. I'm sure that's the case this year, although they are fraudulently hiding that fact.

I don't think money sways elections.

You're funny.

And philosphically, I don't think names should be kept.

Which philosophy would that be? Oligarchy?


not not so

The Democratic Party has always relied heavily on the donations of a small number of very wealthy individuals. I'm sure that's the case this year, although they are fraudulently hiding that fact.

Maybe Dems have more, but prove to me there's some cabal of Dem donors that far excede the right. Some proof other than insistance.

You're funny

No, I'm serious. Maybe 'sway' was to wrong word; I think it is not in the top five important factors. I go back to my original premise: McCain losing has little to do with money. I think money is more a reflection of success than a cause of it. There's quite a bit of thought out there about this . . . I'm not original in thinking this.

Which philosophy would that be? Oligarchy?

Libertarian. As long as I'm not breaking any laws, its no one's damn business how I spend my money. Too be honest with you, after Bush opening the doors to pervasive survaillance, the Dems don't scare me one bit more than Republicans.

Absolutely right.

Today's Democrat party is bought and paid for by George Soros and his ilk.  In fact the wealthiest Congressional Districts are currently represented by Democrats and will most likely go for Obama. 

I have never cared who gives what and how much to what party but I do believe that any contribution should not be kept secret.  In other words if you don't like who is contributing to so and so, then vote for the other guy.  There is absolutely nothing "libertarian" about keeping contrbutions secret.  When you are talking about funding a candidate for public office then you are talking about the public interest and not a private investment.

Obama touts his "transparency" agenda

This could be an area where the right and left have common interests in pressing for legislation for transparency in election funding and voter registration. I would certainly support making the whole thing much easier and clearer.

Obama is fond of pointing the "Google For Government" legislation he sponsored with Tom Coburn -- one of his "bi-partisan" bona fides don't you know -- we should consider pushing him on this. Maybe Senator Coburn would help us.

Fair enough

I disagree with you about the Soros thing, but as far funding in a public office . . . you got point.


....... I agreed with that too soon.  Geoge Soros DID give a few million last election cycle to MoveOn or some group like that and still lost. That's because George Soros only has one vote. MAYBE all financing should be public, but I return to my original point . . . the law of diminishing returns. So far, no one has ever outright bought an election. Much on this particular topic is carping becuase McCain was totally out classed. If McCain was the one raising more money, no one here would be griping about it. Dems are winning because they are working the system and talking about issues that matter during this cycle. Reps are not. Start paying attention to things that matter. The question money in the campaign is a result of success not always a cause of it.


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Much on this particular topic is carping   tiffany jewellery  becuase McCain was totally out classed. If McCain was the one raising more money,