100 Million Dollar Man

Interesting:

Leading Democratic fundraisers predict that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will raise hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few months if he opts out of public financing and begins raising money for the general election.

Specifically, they say Obama could raise $100 million in June and could attract 2.5 million to 3 million new donors to his campaign.

These fundraisers say Obama could increase his fundraising dramatically because of three factors: a boost of enthusiasm among Obama donors following his clinching of the nomination; the migration of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) donors to his camp; and the mobilization of big Democratic donors who have given little so far this year.

Record-breaking projections give Obama strong incentive to pass up $85 million in public funds that his opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), has said he would accept.

First, help make it happen:

Goal Thermometer

Second, how does John McCain get to opt out of the system that he adores without paying a political price? I guess ignoring campaign finance laws he thinks should apply to everyone else is “Change he can believe in,” but shouldn’t he at least get some bad press out of it?






30 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    McCain will get a pass from the press on all those, so-called, ‘issues’ as long as he continues to give journalists special invitations to the No-Girls-Allowed club.

  2. 2
    Scott H says:

    Additionally, non-Democrats (like me) who are waiting for the Democratic Party to settle on a candidate to contribute.

    Was it very long ago when the complaint was that Republicans would always have the advantage of mounds of money? Worse for the Republicans, the Democrats now also have the advantage of small donor, as opposed to large special interest, cash.

  3. 3
    Jake says:

    It is interesting to me that McCain’s basically dropped the pressure on Obama to live up to his “promise” to also accept public funding. He was hammering Obama on this for awhile, well before he was the “presumptive nominee”. Lately? Not so much.

  4. 4
    evie says:

    We can’t expect McCain to unilaterally disarm — there is no way he can be expected to opt in if Obama doesn’t.

    What I’m irritated about is Obama dragging his feet on announcing his decision to opt out. I cannot for the life of me understand why he just doesn’t opt out now. McCain is going to go after him whenever it happens, so better sooner than later. And if he DOESN’T opt out, I’ll flip. Obama is going to have to spend a LOT more money fighting off the smears than McCain. And a 50-state strategy is, well, expensive.

  5. 5
    ThymeZone says:

    It is interesting to me that McCain’s basically dropped the pressure on Obama

    My hunch is that they realized that they were just putting a spotlight on Obama’s rock star candidacy, on his phenomenal ability to raise money from the grassroots and small contributors. It embarrasses them, and they’d rather sulk and be quiet about it than try to bark about it.

    “Waaah … my opponent is better liked than I am” just didn’t turn out to be all that effective a campaign theme.

  6. 6
    ccham44 says:

    What I’m irritated about is Obama dragging his feet on announcing his decision to opt out.

    Perhaps he’s waiting for 4th of July week, when McCain can whine all he wants, and no one will be around to hear it?

  7. 7

    Note: I’m an avid Obama supporter, so please don’t take this the wrong way…

    Didn’t Obama say he’d use public funds if his opponent did as well? Assuming that’s true, it’s always concerned me since he can raise so much more. Doing so would hamstring his efforts. On the other hand, can’t McCain now point to this as an example of going back on his word?

    Seems like the only out Obama can have is that he points to the record number of small donations (my first donation to Obama was because of Balloon Juice) and try to argue that he’s actually encouraging more democracy by getting more people involved.

  8. 8
    The Moar You Know says:

    Laws are for people who didn’t marry billionaire beer heiress trollops.

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    Obama is allowed to change his mind. As J.M.Keynes said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

  10. 10
    ThymeZone says:

    he’s actually encouraging more democracy by getting more people involved.

    Pretty sure the Obama campaign has already put that idea out there. If I can find a link for that I’ll post it.

    It dovetails with the idea expressed in my previous post, namely, putting a light on McCain’s inability to raise money.

  11. 11
    Mike P says:

    IIRC, Obama never said for certain that he would absolutely accept public financing. And honestly…let McCain call him a hypocrite if he backs out. McCain is a hypocrite on almost every major issue. I doubt it would be a story for more than a few weeks at best.

  12. 12
    Andrew says:

    Didn’t Obama say he’d use public funds if his opponent did as well?

    McCain has violated the public funding requirements. The FEC is worse than useless, of course, so nothing will happen regarding McCain’s illegal loans.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    Second, how does John McCain get to opt out of the system that he adores without paying a political price? I guess ignoring campaign finance laws he thinks should apply to everyone else is “Change he can believe in,” but shouldn’t he at least get some bad press out of it?

    I don’t really care if a candidate accepts or rejects total public financing. But I do get alarmed if either candidate gets too cozy with secret donors. So far, McCain has been most culpable in this respect, as recent news stories note:

    The White House announced today that Bush will be featured at three McCain campaign fundraisers in Arizona and Utah next week, and Bush will be with McCain in Arizona before breaking off for Utah. Each of the events will be closed to the press, but White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters that there’s “a chance” for a joint public appearance at some point.

    It also bugs me that the media just rolls over for this kind of BS instead of digging a little deeper to find out who the big donors are, and don’t ask “what have you got to hide” questions of McCain and others who indulge in this kind of thing.

  14. 14
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    Obama said he’d work with the GOP candidate to work for public financing.

    Thing is, the GOP thrives on 527s like the Swift Boat Posse. So I don’t know if they could.

  15. 15
    AkaDad says:

    Obama’s average donation is under $100. I would say that is public financing.

  16. 16
    rachel says:

    The Moar You Know Says:

    Laws are for people who didn’t marry billionaire beer heiress trollops.

    True. (BTW, just because he called her names doesn’t mean we have to; guessing from the look on her face whenever I see her, being married to him is its own kind of Hell.)

  17. 17
    J sub D says:

    I predict that Obama will bypasses public financing. He’ll have a bigger war chest that way. I ferevently hope that all of the supporters of campaign finance laws scream and holler, claiming that “It’s unfair. We need to stop the influence of money in politics!”. It won’t happen. The silence will be deafening.

    Second, how does John McCain get to opt out of the system that he adores without paying a political price? I guess ignoring campaign finance laws he thinks should apply to everyone else is “Change he can believe in,” but shouldn’t he at least get some bad press out of it?

    I hope he pays for his part in the bi-partisan assault on free speech. The McCain Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Incumbent Protection Act is McCains lame attempt to convine the public he is no longer beholden to special interests.

    Does anybody here swallow that?

  18. 18
    JasonF says:

    Senator McCain has already played fast and loose with the campaign finance laws. He obtained a loan based on his pledge to use public financing in the primaries, then opted out of public financing when he won in New Hampshire and the money started rolling in. He also got on the ballot in a number of states based on a promise to use public financing, thereby bypassing a requirement to collect a certain amount of signatures. This has all been mostly ignored by the press, but if he starts making a big deal about campaign financing, it will (I hope) come back to bite him.

    As for Senator Obama, he pledged to explore public financing with the Republican candidate. But he’s also made it clear that his version of public financing doesn’t mean “Both candidates opt into the system, then 527s spend tens of millions of dollars attacking the candidates.”

  19. 19
    John S. says:

    As for Senator Obama, he pledged to explore public financing with the Republican candidate. But he’s also made it clear that his version of public financing doesn’t mean “Both candidates opt into the system, then 527s spend tens of millions of dollars attacking the candidates.”

    Bingo.

    Obama isn’t so stupid as to willingly forego his ability to raise money in exchange for McCain having 527s do all his dirty work for him.

    Obama’s offer of public financing to McCain was a ploy to get McCain to give up his only advantage which is 527 groups, PACs and lobbyists (which for Obama is moot since he already has closed off those sources of funding).

    McCain was outmaneuvered again by Obama. And it won’t be the last time it happens.

  20. 20
    flyerhawk says:

    What I’m irritated about is Obama dragging his feet on announcing his decision to opt out. I cannot for the life of me understand why he just doesn’t opt out now. McCain is going to go after him whenever it happens, so better sooner than later. And if he DOESN’T opt out, I’ll flip. Obama is going to have to spend a LOT more money fighting off the smears than McCain. And a 50-state strategy is, well, expensive.

    He’s dragging his feet because he still has cash on hand from his primary run. He can continue to use that money whereas McCain is broke. As it stand McCain is under a lot more pressure to either take public financing, which he can’t do, or break his own pledge.

    Best case scenario is that McCain has to break the pledge first.

  21. 21
    enplaned says:

    Need to update the fundraising goal — perhaps to $30K?

  22. 22
    BC says:

    The FEC, which releases money to the campaigns, does not currently have a quorum – so they can’t give money to the campaigns now. Obama opted out of public financing for the primaries, which is where we are until the convention. He still has oodles of money on hand and I’m sure he can get more if needed. General election money can’t be spent until after the conventions, which means that neither Obama nor McCain can use that money until September. If the Senate does not confirm candidates to FEC, public financing in the general election can be at risk. I understand Congress can direct money to the candidates if the FEC is not operating.

  23. 23
    El Cid says:

    I think it would be a good time to start giving to the DNC again now that the primary is over. I want as many House, Senate, and local pickups as possible.

  24. 24
    Shade Tail says:

    I was under the impression that Obama had opted out of public financing a long time ago. Am I mistaken? I definitely remember reading that he had never promised to use the public financing system, contrary to McCain’s claims.

    Speaking of whom, McCain is protected by “his base”; i.e. the press. So he’s probably figuring on never being held accountable for his lies, flip-flops, rank hypocrisy, and possible out-right law breaking. And considering that the FEC is completely toothless right now, thanks to republican obstructionism on new board appointees, there’s a good chance he’ll get away with it.

  25. 25
    crw says:

    I think it would be a good time to start giving to the DNC again now that the primary is over. I want as many House, Senate, and local pickups as possible.

    The DSCC and DCCC are also options to fund all those local races.

  26. 26
    NR says:

    The DSCC and DCCC are also options to fund all those local races.

    I don’t like to give to party committees because they might use my money to fund a Lunsford or a Musgrove. Don’t get me wrong, I hope those guys win because they’re better than the Republicans they’re running against, but my money is a limited resource and if it’s going to go to political candidates, I want to make sure it’s going to candidates who are going to fight hard for the things I believe in.

    So I give directly to progressive House and Senate (mainly Senate this time around) candidates. That way I can be sure of where my money is going.

  27. 27
    crw says:

    So I give directly to progressive House and Senate (mainly Senate this time around) candidates. That way I can be sure of where my money is going.

    Absolutely. That is clearly the best way to go if you are well informed and definitely know which candidates you want to support.

  28. 28
    Neo says:

    If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?
    OBAMA: Yes. I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.

    Going back could undermine the ability of an Obama Administration to negotiate in “good faith.”

  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:

    On the other hand, can’t McCain now point to this as an example of going back on his word?

    As McCain is currently breaking the very finance laws he helped write, that would be a no.

  30. 30

    […] As much I as support this decision – Obama could potentially raise over a billion dollars, public financing would be an immense handicap – his justification is a little silly.  It boils down to: “the system is broken, therefore I don’t have to actually honor my prior statements.”  To borrow a metaphor*, I can’t get out of a speeding system by saying “the system is broken.”  I have to either be honest, or give an explanation which actually makes sense. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] As much I as support this decision – Obama could potentially raise over a billion dollars, public financing would be an immense handicap – his justification is a little silly.  It boils down to: “the system is broken, therefore I don’t have to actually honor my prior statements.”  To borrow a metaphor*, I can’t get out of a speeding system by saying “the system is broken.”  I have to either be honest, or give an explanation which actually makes sense. […]

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