Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shoe on the other foot

It feels so weird to support a candidate who can push resources into offense instead of playing defense. Usually, the Republicans have the sort of resource advantage that Obama has this year. It's like playing Risk with twice as many armies as your opponents. In the past, Democrats have had to thread the needle, and usually they've failed at it.

Even though the campaign finance shoe is on the other party's foot this year, there are legitimate questions to ask about it, for instance:

  • Money talks, but shouldn't a candidate's message be more important? (Don't get me wrong, I think Obama has plenty of message.)
  • Over 3 million Americans have contributed to Obama's campaign. Will future campaigns be able to sustain this deep grassroots involvement? (If so, maybe there's no need for campaign finance reform. But I'm skeptical.)
I'm sure that a good bit of this additional, incredible surge in Obama fundraising is from bandwagon-jumpers who want to be on the right side of this watershed election. Nonetheless, lots of regular people are still giving. They know which side they're on.

One more thing: The CNN story reports that the Obama campaign says the average contribution is under $100. Problem is, the average contribution doesn't really matter. What matters is the average amount given per contributer.

Update: Atrios makes an important point: With more than half a billion dollars in funds raised, small money from people who want nothing more than a better government swamps the cash from those who want to buy access, and that's a good thing.

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