05 Dec 2008

How Did Obama Win?

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Karl Rove explains that he buried John McCain in an avalanche of money, with large quantities supplied by anonymous sources.

If money talks, we’ll likely soon hear the real reason why Barack Obama beat John McCain. Both men and the national parties will report to the Federal Election Commission today how much money they raised in October and November. And what the numbers will probably show is that Mr. Obama outspent Mr. McCain by the biggest margin in history, perhaps a quarter of a billion dollars.

On May 31, as the general election began in earnest, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee had a combined $47 million in cash, while the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee had a combined $85 million.

Between then and Oct. 15, the Obama/DNC juggernaut raised $658.7 million. I estimate today’s reports will show Mr. Obama, the DNC and two other Obama fund-raising vehicles raised an additional $120 million to $140 million in October and November, giving them a total of between $827 million and $847 million in funds for the general election.

Mr. McCain and the RNC spent $550 million in the general election, including the $84 million in public financing Mr. McCain accepted in exchange for his campaign not raising money after the GOP convention.

How did Mr. Obama use his massive spending advantage?

He buried Mr. McCain on TV. Nielsen, the audience measurement firm, reports that between June and Election Day, Mr. Obama had a 3-to-2 advantage over Mr. McCain on network TV buys. And Mr. Obama’s edge was likely larger on local cable TV, which Nielsen doesn’t monitor.

A state-by-state analysis confirms the Obama advantage. Mr. Obama outspent Mr. McCain in Indiana nearly 7 to 1, in Virginia by more than 4 to 1, in Ohio by almost 2 to 1 and in North Carolina by nearly 3 to 2. Mr. Obama carried all four states.

Mr. Obama also used his money to outmuscle Mr. McCain on the ground, with more staff, headquarters, mail and a larger get-out-the-vote effort. …

To diminish criticism, Mr. Obama’s campaign spun the storyline that he was being bankrolled by small donors. Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, calls that a “myth.” CFI found that Mr. Obama raised money the old fashioned way — 74% of his funds came from large donors (those who donated more than $200) and nearly half from people who gave $1,000 or more.

But that’s not the entire story. It’s been reported that the Obama campaign accepted donations from untraceable, pre-paid debit cards used by Daffy Duck, Bart Simpson, Family Guy, King Kong and other questionable characters. If the FEC follows up with a report on this, it should make for interesting reading.

Mr. Obama’s victory marks the death of the campaign finance system. When it was created after Watergate in 1974, the campaign finance system had two goals: reduce the influence of money in politics and level the playing field for candidates.

This year it failed at both. OpenSecrets.org tells us a record $2.4 billion was spent on this presidential election. And with Mr. Obama’s wide financial advantage, it’s clear that money is playing a bigger role than ever and candidates are not competing on equal footing.

Ironically, the victim of this broken system is one of its principal architects — Mr. McCain. He helped craft the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform along with Sen. Russ Feingold in 2002.

No presidential candidate will ever take public financing in the general election again and risk being outspent as badly as Mr. McCain was this year.

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WorldNetDaily explains that behind Obama’s victory was an organized alliance of liberal big money.

A Democratic juggernaut of local and regional organizations that blast Republicans and promote Democrats using money donated by hundreds of millionaires and even billionaires was a key to President-elect Barack Obama’s win over GOP candidate Sen. John McCain last month. And a new report warns the same attack strategy now is being implemented in states, targeting especially the offices of secretary of state, where elections are managed.

“The Democracy Alliance helped Democrats give Republicans a shellacking in November. Now it’s organizing state-level chapters in at least 19 states, and once-conservative Colorado, which hosts the Democracy Alliance’s most successful state affiliate, has turned Democrat blue,” the report from Matthew Vadum and James Dellinger of Capital Research Center concludes.

The report from the center, which studies non-profit organizations, is titled “The Democracy Alliance Does America: The Soros-Founded Plutocrats’ Club Forms State Chapters,” and is accessible online.

It concludes the 2008 victory for Obama was a result of the outraged millionaire donors to the Democrats who watched another failure for their cause in 2004, after opening their checkbooks for tens of millions of dollars.

“It was born out the frustration of wealthy liberals who gave generously to liberal candidates and 527 political committees, but received no electoral payoff in 2004,” the report said.

George Soros and others “were angry and discouraged after contributing to the Media Fund which spent $57 million on TV ads attacking President Bush in swing states and to American Coming Together which spent $78 million on get out the vote efforts,” the report said.

The result was a victory for President Bush. So in 2005, 70 millionaires and billionaires met in Phoenix “for a secret long-term strategy session.” Their principal point of agreement was “the conservative movement was ‘a fundamental threat to the American way of life.'”

The donors studied the success of conservatives, their network of organizations, funders and activists, including think tanks, legal advocacy organizations and leadership schools. Former Clinton administration official Rob Stein explained Democrats, meanwhile, had become a top-down organization run by professional politicians.

Result? The birth of the Democracy Alliance, “a loose collection of super-rich donors committed to building organizations that would propel America to the left,” the report said.

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