There is a lot of talk about campaign fiances these days. Karl Rove notes:
The Democrats’ official fundraising numbers, released on Wednesday, showed that the $95 million cash-on-hand advantage Obama and the DNC had over the Republicans at the end of April had been cut by two-thirds at the end of May to $33 million. This is in part because the Obama campaign is burning through its war chest so fast and in part because of the impressive $107 million that the Romney campaign and the RNC announced they had on hand at May’s end.
This is significant because in 2008, Mr. Obama won partly because he outspent Sen. John McCain by $325 million between June and November ($850 million to $525 million). . . .
With his political problems mounting, the president needs to buy his way to re-election. But his schedule is increasingly filled with less productive events. For example, he recently attended six fundraisers in Maryland and Pennsylvania that yielded a little over half-a-million dollars per event.
Interestingly, Mitt Romney just raised somewhere between $6 million and $8 million from two events in Michigan.
Rove also points out that Obama is burning through money and getting counter-attacked in battleground states.
Politico is also on the case: “Romney and his super PAC allies and party team raised about $86 million in May, compared with roughly $65 million raised by Obama and his allies, according to campaign finance reports . . . . Taken together, the reports, filed with the Federal Election Commission, paint a picture of a Romney fundraising network built for the new big-money age that appears well positioned to challenge an Obama operation that in some ways is still struggling to adapt.” Romney’s Victory Committee (his joint fundraising effort with the RNC) is also keeping pace with Obama’s DNC-hybrid while the latter is, again, burning through cash reserves.
So what does this all mean?
1. Big donors think Romney can win; Obama’s big 2008 donors have doubts. The Obama fundraising operation is reduced to scaring donors with the prospect of a Romney win.
2. Obama’s anti-business crusade has turned off some previously generous donors from Wall Street and Main Street.
3. Obama continues to lose donors over his stance on Israel.
4. Obama is running a campaign not on his own accomplishments or a potential second-term agenda. But there is a limit to how effective the avalanche of negative attacks on Romney can be. (Obama is already getting heat for his no-hope, no-change bonanza of negativity.) Moreover, negative ads against an equally or better-funded opponent don’t generally move the numbers. Unlike 2008, in 2012 the GOP nominee is not going to be caught defenseless. In sum, a campaign premised on swamping Romney with negative ads isn’t panning out as planned.
5. Money doesn’t guarantee success, but it does reflect how enthusiastic and optimistic your side is. That in turn becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, depressing fundraising and potentially turnout.
I caution that the role of money is overrated in politics. (Ask Texas Gov. Rick Perry whether it is enough to outweigh other factors.) But it’s not nothing. And hence, we see the Obama freak-out, reverberating and intensifying in the media.