For months now I’ve been receiving fundraising emails from the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee, the various Democratic congressional committees, and the occasional Democratic campaign. The apocalyptic message of these emails has been mind-numbingly repetitive: A cabal of superrich businessmen is out to deny Barack Obama reelection and install as president Mitt Romney, who will line their pockets in return. Nothing less than the future of democracy is at risk. Donate now—before it’s too late.
Recently, though, the emails have been less apocalyptic. And this is why: The Democrats’ hysterical solicitations have worked. Not only did Obama outraise Romney in the month of August, he has outraised and out-spent Romney altogether. Listen to Ken Vogel and Dave Levinthal of Politico: “Through the end of August, Romney’s campaign and the party committees and Super PAC supporting it had raised $736 million, compared to $774 million raised by Obama’s campaign and its party and Super PAC allies.” So forget about the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. If you want to know how to buy an election, ask the Democrats.
Advertisement – story continues below
The saga of Obama and campaign finance is a case study in cynicism. Throughout his career, Obama has portrayed himself as an opponent of money in politics, even as he has exploited the system at every turn. He said in 2008 that he would take public financing, but then became the first nominee in history to opt out. He said in this cycle that he would not allow his associates to fundraise for a Super PAC, but then changed his mind. He has attacked anonymous political giving, but dispatched Joe Biden to appeal to the shadowy Democracy Alliance last November. He pays no price when he makes such reversals. He and his supporters meekly lament that he is a victim of circumstance. The press nods.
As dusk settles on the campaign, the Obama team’s fundraising strategy comes into focus. On the one hand, they bullied conservative donors. The administration drafted an executive order, never signed, that would have required firms seeking government contracts to disclose their political giving. Campaign manager Jim Messina singled out the Koch-supported Americans for Prosperity for attack. Senior adviser David Axelrod went after Adelson. It just so happened that the IRS and the SEC, respectively, opened investigations into Romney supporters Frank Vandersloot and Adelson (the administration says this is all a coincidence). These efforts may not have stopped wealthy Republicans and conservatives from donating to Romney and outside groups, but who would argue that they have had no affect on the margins?
Meanwhile Obama pandered and shamed apathetic liberal donors into writing checks. Contributions were off at the beginning of the year. Greens were upset that Obama had not been radical enough on the environment. Gay donors were angry that the president had not done enough to support same-sex marriage. Many progressive millionaires and billionaires simply assumed Obama would win in November. So the Keystone pipeline was put on hold, the president reversed himself on same-sex marriage, and a steady barrage of alarming emails was aimed at Democratic in-boxes. Sympathetic articles in the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker alerted liberal audiences to the fact that the Obama Super PAC was having trouble raising money. Campaign surrogates fostered the misleading impression that Obama was somehow the underdog in the money race.
Read More at freebeacon.com. By Matthew Continetti.