Thursday, October 30, 2008

Okay, Here's Something that Annoys Me About the Obama Campaign

I doubt it should come as any surprise to anyone who reads this blog when I say that I sent $20 to Barack Obama's campaign. Earlier I had volunteered some time and canvassed my neighborhood to get out information about early voting, but I hadn't given any money, and on the heels of the $4 million dollar infomercial, I figured that every little bit helps.

It took approximately 30 seconds for me to receive an e-mail confirmation and thanks for my contribution:

From the beginning, this campaign has been built and funded by supporters like you giving only what they can afford.
It took less than 2 hours for me to receive a request for further donations:

Kenneth --

I'm the Chief Financial Officer for Barack Obama's campaign. I track the donations coming in and the expenses going out.

I asked for the opportunity to write to you directly so that I could try to explain what's happening right now.

This organization has thousands of employees and spends millions of dollars a day -- and at the moment we're doing it without a safety net.

Our spending plans have been stretched by John McCain's negative attacks and the overwhelming resources of the Republican National Committee.

As of October 15th, John McCain and the RNC together had nearly $20 million more in cash than the combined total of Obama for America and the DNC. And just this week, we're facing new and unexpected spending against us in Montana and West Virginia.

Your incredible generosity has gotten us this far. But right now we need your help more than ever to get this campaign across the finish line.

Please donate $25 or whatever you can afford right now

That's not really what's bothering me though. John McCain and the RNC have 20 million more than they do? Really? What about this at CNN (not exactly a McCain shill):

"It's evidence, if you needed any, that the Obama campaign has more money than there is ad time left to buy," said Evan Tracey, director of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. "This is flexing the muscles."


The Obama campaign reported last week that it had raised a record-shattering $150 million in September.

Obama has outspent McCain by a huge margin, according to CNN's consultant on ad spending.

Between the time the two candidates clinched their party's nominations in the spring and October 25, Obama spent more than $205 million on TV ads. McCain spent more than $119 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Believe me, I'm the wrong one for McCain to approach with the Obama lied about taking campaign financing argument. If he can raise more money through contributions than through public financing, God bless. But don't try to have your cake and eat it, too. Don't turn down public financing because you can raise more money without it, outspend your opponents by a wide margin and then complain that they have so much more money than you do.

Believe you me, I'd happily drop another $20 if it could guarantee I didn't ever have to hear the words "President McCain" (and maybe another hundred if I could be assured of never, ever hearing the words "Vice-anything Palin"). I might begrudgingly drop a few if I thought it was really needed. But by being disingenuous in its appeals, the Obama campaign keeps itself from being able to make me believe them when they make the most effective appeal. I'm not saying they are the boy that cried wolf, exactly, but I am saying if it walks like a boy that cries wolf, and quacks like a boy that cried wolf...


Doug said...

Ken, the Obama email emphasizes their spending, and they said the McCain campaign had more money as of 10/15, which was probably true, especially in light of this:

Sounds like McCain raised a bunch of money all of a sudden through some fundraising dinners. It's possible that Obama spending was at an all-time high and yet contributions were winding down since the election is so near and he is high in the polls. So I don't think the email was necessarily disingenuous, even if Obama has spent a lot more than McCain over the course of their campaigns.

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Doug, maybe.

Here's another link, though ( that just said that Obama campaign is upping ad buys in Arizon, Georgia, and North Dakota. The latter two I understand, but even pro-dems seem to be glossing the Arizona buy as either a) gloating; b) trying to force McCain to spend money in places other than critical swing states because he has less of it; or c) an attempt to draw media attention to polls in these states to get the constant (I think false) claim that things are "tightening" off the news cycle. The letter I posted from the campaign said they are facing "unexpected" spending in West Virginia and Montana.

I understand and appreciate an all fifty states strategy, but West Virginia (while bordering Pennsylvania--and I would argue that sometimes border city buys are about reaching viewers in neighboring states) hasn't ever quite gotten in play. It's not that I begurdge spending in Arizona and Montana; I don't. But I begrudge spending there being presented as an emergency necessity rather than a strategic decision.