Team Obama’s quandary: What to do with $30 million? Uh, give it back???*

President-elect Barack Obama listens to a reporter's question ...

Associated Press photo

“Obama campaign mulls what to do with $30 [million] surplus,” The Associated Press headline reads.

Yes, Team Obama, which shattered all previous presidential campaign fundraising records, found itself with $30 million left laying around after Barack Obama won the election on Nov. 4.

But maybe that’s progress from the more than $15 million that Team Kerry had left over after the election in November 2004 — millions of dollars that, if they had been spent on winning the election, as their donors had intended them to be, might have won Kerry the election?

I mean, at least with his $30 million surplus, Obama actually won the election

But the problem is the focus on money in politics and how the Democrats are at least as bad as are the Repugnicans with their money focus. Third-party gadfly Ralph Nader is castigated when he declares that the two major parties are more and more indistinguishable, and he’s castigated because he is correct.

I remember, as though it were yesterday, my experience of the Kerry campaign more than four years ago.

I was coordinating the monthly John Kerry Meetups here in Sacramento. People came to the Meetups and talked about those issues and problems that were important to them. When Kerry’s campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination was on life support in the fall of 2003, attendance at the Meetups nosedived significantly.

But when Kerry came back from the dead like Lazarus in early 2004 and it was clear that he was going to be the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, local Democratic Party hacks who never before had helped to coordinate the Meetups literally took the Meetups over.

The Meetups ceased to be about community and became about kaaa-ching! Yup; we were nothing but ATMs to the Democratic Party hacks. Gone were the discussions about the issues and problems that mattered to people, and money, money, money was the focus of the Meetups right up to election day.

So Kerry succeeded in raising more than $15 million than he spent, but he lost the election.

Brilliant!

What I experienced at the local level is true on the national level: The Democrats are so fucking focused on fundraising that they forgot long ago about Democratic principles.

I’m not saying that Team Obama’s $30 million surplus was entirely avoidable. You want to win and you want to make sure that you don’t fall short of the funds you need.

But Repugnican John McCainosaurus agreed to accept public campaign financing — $84 million, along with spending restrictions — so it wasn’t impossible to determine the limits of what Team McInsane would be able to raise. But Team Obama, which originally had agreed to accept public financing but then reneged on that agreement, ended up raising a record more than $745 million, more than twice as much as Team McInsane raised.

Can you say “overkill”?

I remember all of the fundraising e-mails that I received from the Obama campaign over the course of many months, and over a period of several months I contributed a total of $330 to Team Obama  — money that I probably wouldn’t have donated had I known then that Team Obama would have $30 million left over after the presidential election.

I feel chumped yet once again by the Democratic Party, and if the trend continues, I’ll stop giving money to Democratic presidential candidates altogether.

The $330 that I gave to Team Obama already was hundreds of dollars less than I gave, over time, to Team Kerry — and it was my bitter experience with the Kerry campaign that prevented me from giving more to the Obama campaign — so it’s looking like I’ll be saving myself some money in 2012.

*I know that even if there were a workable way to give the surplus back to the donors, the Democrats wouldn’t do it. However, next presidential election it sure would be nice if we weren’t chumped again, if our donations were used as we were told they would be used when we fucking donated.

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