Democrats had no complaints about the campaign finance laws in 2008, when Barack Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in favor of exploiting his own fundraising prowess. Obama smashed all records for spending on a presidential campaign, and reportedly outspent John McCain by five to one in the closing weeks of the campaign. If any Democrat was unhappy about that disparity, I don’t recall it.
The Democrats had every reason to expect that their money advantage would be even more pronounced in 2012, with Obama running as the incumbent and with their party in control of the Senate. But things haven’t worked out that way. So far, the Romney campaign has more than matched Obama in the money race, and energized Republicans seem to be equaling if not exceeding the Democrats’ fundraising pace for House and Senate elections. So Democrats, unaccustomed to being on the short end of the money stick, are getting nervous.
Today I got this terse email from Barack Obama:
If you’re with me, then I need you right now.
We’re just days away from the mid-year fundraising deadline — this is the biggest test yet of our commitment to win in 2012. We can’t fall short on this one.
Donate $3 or more right now to elect a Democratic majority in Congress.
I’m not sure when Barack and I got on first-name terms; I suppose it was when he started asking me for money.
The Democrats’ anxiety about the fundraising race was manifested in a second email that I received over the weekend:
Call it the Koch Convention.
Apparently mentioning the Koch brothers is the Democrats’ most reliable means of extracting money from their voters. Are Democrats really as obsessed with the Kochs as their party seems to think?
This weekend, the Koch Brothers are holding a secret gathering of billionaires to plot their strategy to buy the election.
The Koch event isn’t secret, which is why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee knows about it. In fact, it was reported in the newspapers. It just isn’t open to the public. Nor is the semi-annual Koch seminar a “gathering of billionaires.” I’ve been to two of them, and I can assure you that neither I nor virtually all of the other attendees are billionaires. Nor are the seminars used to “plot…strategy to buy the election.” Democrats are odd: they think it is a fine thing when unions extract dues from members against their will and use that money to advocate for liberal ideas with which many union members disagree. On the other hand, they think it is dirty pool when conservatives spend their own money to advocate the ideas that they believe in.
They plan to throw millions — if not billions — of Big Oil money into Super PACs to smear the President and Democrats across the country.
The idea that any individuals would pour “billions” into the election campaign is ludicrous. The DCCC apparently realizes that its voters aren’t very good with numbers.
If you don’t think our country should be for sale, it’s time to do something about it.
Fight back against the Koch Brothers: Donate $3 or more to help elect a Democratic Majority for President Obama >>
I’m not sure this is the optimal approach to fundraising. If I am a Democrat and have just been told that the Koch Brothers may spend billions on the election, I wouldn’t think that my $3 is likely to make much difference. I might be tempted to hang onto my money.
Unlike the secret money that’s flowing into our elections, when the Federal Election Commission deadline hits, we have to disclose our donations to this campaign.
One wonders how dumb the leaders of the Democratic Party think their voters are. I think most people understand that there are some donations that by law are required to be disclosed, like contributions to campaigns, and other donations that by law do not need to be disclosed. Both parties play by the same rules, and both liberal and conservative donors contribute plenty of money in both categories.
We’re only a week out from the June 30th FEC reporting deadline so we need you right now — all donations today will be matched, doubling your impact:
But wait! All donations will be matched? By whom? If you follow the link, you learn that “a group of committed Democrats” has agreed to match your contribution dollar for dollar. Who are those “committed Democrats?” Rich people, presumably; but it’s OK to be rich if you’re a Democrat.
What I take away from all of this is that the Democrats are worried that the financial advantage they had counted on in 2012 may be going up in smoke.