When far more is not enough
Posted by aogMonday, 15 September 2008 at 20:44 TrackBack Ping URL

I have been reading about the Obama campaign having fund raising issues but if the campaign has $77M cash on hand at the end of August, what’s the problem? That’s nearly what the McCain campaign can spend, so why not just coast, figure on picking up $8M with some low key effort and focus on the campaign? Why the presumption that matching isn’t nearly enough for Senator Obama, that he has to massively outspend Senator McCain? What does that say about his real level of support and / or his executive skills?

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cjm Tuesday, 16 September 2008 at 02:34

maybe they are lying about the amount on hand, and the amount they are raising.

David Cohen Tuesday, 16 September 2008 at 08:01

This is an interesting question and I’m not sure what the answer is. It might be that federal financing means that McCain gets money without paying for fund raising operations, which can eat up a good amount of the money raised. Also, consistent with their “everyone hates George Bush. McCain is George Bush. Everyone hates McCain” campaign logic, they expected a walk to the nomination and really believed in a 50 state strategy, so now they’re committed to spending lots of money in places that make no sense.

But these are just guesses.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 16 September 2008 at 08:43

Mr. Cohen;

I understand the cost of fund raising operations, but that just makes the original question sharper — why burn money for that if you don’t need it? Given what he’s brought in so far, I would think raising $8M over two months wouldn’t require much investment.


That’s quite possible too. They may also have huge accounts payable that make the “cash on hand” an inaccurate proxy for how much they can spend in the future.

John Weidner Tuesday, 16 September 2008 at 14:27

Their burn rate is higher than McCain’s.

But I’d guess the real problem is that they don’t actually have anything to say. They have to go for advertising in quantity to make up for lack of quality.

They could spend a billion dollars on ads trying to make Biden seem useful, or Obama seem to believe in something, but that would just be a billion dollars worth of lipstick on the pig…

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 16 September 2008 at 16:39

Mr. Weidner;

Yes, but why is the burn rate higher? Just to raise more money? That seems counter productive. It could be because of the points I mentioned at the end of the original post — Obama is simply less popular and so needs more advertising, or his managerial skills are sub-par, or both. Real insurgents generally need less money.

John Weidner Tuesday, 16 September 2008 at 18:59

Managerial skills lacking, I’d say. Plus a wrong picture of themselves. Both he and Hillary were noted for having very large staffs, and burning through a lot more dough than necessary. Both considered themselves “anointed” at early stages, and spent like they expected to have the wind at their backs.

Sort of like the dot.coms. For a while spending a lot of money and thereby looking exciting and successful and cool really works. More money flows in. Excitement grows. People want to join the parade. But it can’t last, and in a campaign things move even faster than Internet time.

And part of the genius of the Palin pick is that she’s sucked up all the oxygen.

Think of that wing-ding at the stadium with the Greek temple. That’s so dot.com, like throwing your own rock concert or giant Super Bowl party. And less than 24 hours later McCain utterly deflated that balloon. I’m surprised people don’t seem to see just how hilarious this is. Even if we lose, we are sure getting some good laughs!

David Cohen Wednesday, 17 September 2008 at 22:25

We’re seeing campaign ads here in Massachusetts. Obviously, there’s no need to run ads in Massachusetts. They could be aimed at New Hampshire, but there has to be a better place to spend money than to capture NH’s 3 electoral votes. Seems like money wasted.

cjm Thursday, 18 September 2008 at 01:22

i bet a bunch of it is being pilfered.

Gronker Thursday, 18 September 2008 at 02:57

The dems are obsessed with form over function. To them, in this overlong campaign season, they see money raise as their only measurable goal. To them, its like votes. Polls, votes, speech turnout, MSM love; these things are not a means to an end for them but the point of their campaigns. The more they raise the more successful they are. The party finally has a rockstar to package so they are maximizing their returns. After Gore and Kerry, this must be like a dream come true.

Besides, if Obamessiah retires the debt for Hilary’s campaign as per the deal, he will have to retire everyones, and that costs money. And the money in his campaign fund is political power post election, win or lose.

What I want to know is, per democrat thinking, shouldnt the Obamessiah campaign be taxed for windfall profits?

cjm Thursday, 18 September 2008 at 08:59

maybe — after he loses in a landslide to mccain — obama can use the left over funds to start his own church.

John Weidner Thursday, 18 September 2008 at 19:00

You might find this piece by Patrick Ruffini interesting: Yes, Obama Turning Down Public Financing is Still an Epic Mistake

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 19 September 2008 at 12:38

Yes, that’s a very interesting article. The take away is that the McCain Crew seems to have thought through the post Convention campaign much more thoroughly than the Obama Organization. The essence, for those who don’t read it, is that the McCain campaign set up a system that, while it cuts the efficiency of donations in half,

  • increases the total possible take by much more than twice
  • pays off in secondary political benefits should Senator McCain win
  • nets the McCain crew a free $84M in federal matching funds

If true, definitely well planned. It looks like the Obama Organization just presumed their glamor and massive cash flows made planning irrelevant. The standard sort of hubris astute observers have come to expect.

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