Obama's Money Machine

There is a good article about how the Obama money machine works. I linked & excerpted for those who don’t want to read it all. Obama is fantastically successful. He has raised more money than ALL the Republicans combined,& and he is not facing a primary challenge. His impressive and expensive operation gets big bucks the old-fashioned way from tele-pestering & big donors, but also has a strong internet component. Excerpts & comments follow.

"In Brooklyn, a boutique firm that specializes in raising money for operas, symphonies and ballets is reaching out to affluent would-be donors. In Los Angeles, another firm is working to move small contributors "up the pyramid" to larger donations. Still another, in Washington, is sorting through voter lists to develop target sheets for telemarketers and get-out-the-vote operatives.

"For all the Obama campaign's savvy with the new tools of social media, a review of its expenditures reveals some surprising details about its dependence on a familiar tool from the pre-Internet age--the telephone.

"In the six months since it was launched, the Obama re-election campaign has raised $86 million, more than the president's eight main Republican challengers combined. It hasn't been easy. Contrary to the popular image of a campaign fueled organically by small donors flocking to a website, the Obama operation is a big-budget affair, investing millions up front to position itself to bring in hundreds of millions over the next year.

".... Events around the country are raising huge donations for a joint Democratic National Committee-Obama re-election effort, with contributions topping out, by law, at $35,800 per person, $71,600 per couple. At the same time, Mr. Obama's telemarketing army is pressing small donors to dig into their pockets for whatever they can spare, in compliance with the $2,500 cap on direct individual contributions to candidates.

"... Publicly, Mr. Obama insists he won't campaign in earnest until the Republicans have selected their nominee. But his campaign has been burning up the telephone lines. In its first six months, Obama for America paid almost $3.3 million to nearly a dozen telemarketing firms, an expense topped only by payroll and postage. Mr. Romney has spent $718,663 on telemarketing so far.

"... The campaign appears to be making an up-front investment in building donor lists that will come in handy later in the campaign. Its contractors are trying to reach people whose history suggests they are likely to give money, either because they are consistent Democratic voters, they have given to environmental or other Democratic-leaning groups or they subscribe to liberal magazines, such as Mother Jones. It is preparing to make a special effort to reach Democrats who have never contributed to Mr. Obama, as well as past contributors who no longer respond to Obama emails and text messages.

"... The Republican candidates have nothing like the donor base the president built in 2007 and 2008. "Obama's got a whole different game," said Rod Smith, who served as finance director for the Republican National Committee and the GOP's Senate and House campaign committees."

Anyway - the bottom line is that Obama is unpopular in general, but will be hard to beat because of his superbly-developed network of money. The Obama strategy will be to deploy the big bucks BEFORE the general election campaign in order to trash his opponents and set the agenda.

A cynic might say that much of the big stimulus money that went to firms like Solyndra owned by big Obama donors was a very early part of the reelection campaign. I don't know if that is true, but it certainly is true that Obama has a stronger money base than any candidate EVER before in American history. This election will be a real test of whether or not money can indeed buy the presidency.

Posted by Christine & John at November 19, 2011 9:43 AM
Comment #332233

It makes you want to choke up and cry to consider that Obama could trash Bush’s record in a country where conservatives out number liberals 2 to 1, especially when you consider how anti-business Obama is.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2011 6:25 PM
Comment #332237


I don’t understand your comment. Do you mean trash Bush’s record in the sense of raising lots more money from a smaller base on liberals?

Obama ran as the “not-Bush” in 2008, and already trashed Bush as much as he could. Bush is no longer president and doesn’t really apply to today’s discussion.

Posted by: C&J at November 20, 2011 8:30 PM
Comment #332240

Which is it, C&J, Obama is a successful leader judging by the donations he receives or Obama is a poor leader judging by the spin coming from the conservative propaganda machine?

Hopefully Obama buys this election and by doing so wakes the conservatives up to the issues many of us talk about, money as free speech, corporate personhood etc., as it seems the buying of elections is ok as long as it is conservatives winning.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 20, 2011 8:42 PM
Comment #332241

Freedom of speech should be an American thing, not a conservative/democrat/libertarian thing.

Unfortunately, we see where the current left comes down on limiting free speech.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2011 8:44 PM
Comment #332253


Obama is a great campaigner and money raiser. This is the point I make. There is a big difference between the characteristics of a campaigner and a president. The campaigner skates over the surface, trashes his opponent and makes promises that sound great but perhaps are not doable. Doesn’t this sound like Obama?

Re raising money in general - I am afraid that Obama used the big money from the stimulus to help donors, as in the case of Solyndra. That is why we have to investigate this process more profoundly.

The danger is not money in politics per se. The danger is politicians using political position to prop up donors. In the classic case, Tweed ring (also Democrats, BTW, as are ALL big-city political machines)would actually get political kickbacks from those they benefited.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2011 4:37 AM
Comment #332254

So all these donors think he is a lousy leader but give him money anyway? Just to bribe him, but the repubs don’t do that! That is just so delusional on so many levels C&J. If you actually believe that…

Doesn’t this sound like Obama?

No not really it sounds like a conservative skating over the surface, trashing his opponent.

The danger is politicians using political position to prop up donors. In the classic case, Tweed ring (also Democrats, BTW, as are ALL big-city political machines)would actually get political kickbacks from those they benefited.

The fact is money spent to influence the elections is spent to get the kickback. It is that simple. Can you name one repub that hasn’t peddled his influence and or vote to get his big donors a return on their investment?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 21, 2011 8:50 AM
Comment #332258

C&J, the point is that Obama and the Democrats can do very well in the money is free speech game, better than the Republicans.

Hard to believe isn’t it? Especially with the Republican politicians bending over backwards to please the 1%. Like Newt, promising to let Wall Street decide how much Social Security recipients receive each month and planning to allow business to layoff mom and pop and hire the kids for less.

If this trend continues, Republican talking heads might start interviewing Roy on their shows.

Posted by: jlw at November 21, 2011 1:52 PM
Comment #332262


Soros, Huffington and most of the pro-Democratic celebrities are part of that 1%.


I think very few Republicans have campaigned that way. It is much harder for Republicans to make such promises, since such things require a bigger government.

In fact it is a fundamental weakness of all conservative positions that they almost always lose a bidding war with liberals.

Posted by: C&J at November 21, 2011 4:39 PM
Comment #332273

Soros, Huffington? It’s sad isn’t it, not all the 1% has gone over to the dark side with Emperor Murdoch.

“It is much harder for Republicans to make such promises,”

Do you mean like promising to gut or prevent a regulatory agency from regulating? Or how about three Republicans named Gramm, Leach, and Bliley?

Surely there are some who are willing to reward smaller government handsomely.

Money going to Democratic politicians always has strings attached to it, but money going to Republican politicians doesn’t? That is a good one.

With Republican politicians it is a reward system and with Democrats it is blackmail payout.

Posted by: jlw at November 21, 2011 10:32 PM
Comment #360789

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