Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eerie Feelings

This is an addendum to my previous post: A Bite of the Apple.

It took me two days to write that thing. I started on Monday but only finished Tuesday evening. I got stuck Monday afternoon looking for a David Brooks column or blog post where he wrote the Obama Campaign had given substantial funds to various Super Delegates. I spent what seemed like forever looking for it but I couldn't find it. So perhaps I imagined the whole thing and Brooks hadn't said it at all. More likely, he did but I'm such a bad searcher for detail like this that I miss what is right under my nose. Either way, I needed that to make my next point in the piece. Without it I was stuck and I didn't know how to proceed.

Then, lo and behold, in the Tuesday morning New York Times there is another column by Brooks that, guess what, he talks about Obama giving funds to Super Delegates. It was as if my prayers were answered, though normally I don't pray, at least not in so many words. I wouldn't have noted that here but for the rest.

In my post I talked about Obama raising an absurd amount of money - his campaign couldn't have predicted it. This morning (Wednesday) there's a different piece in the Times saying (1) the Campaign has raised more than $150 million, and (2) even his own Campaign Finance team has been surprised by how much cash they have collected.

Mr. Obama’s January surge surprised even members of his finance team. When Meaghan Burdick, who works on Mr. Obama’s online fund-raising efforts with Joe Rospars, the campaign’s director of new media, drew up a set of projections in December, she came up with three possibilities for January in the event Mr. Obama won Iowa, finished second or third, with a victory expected to draw $10 million to $15 million over the Internet.

In fact, the article says they had to revise upward their estimate of how much the collected in January --- to $36 million. So now it appears I'm able to predict elements of the news --- or at least to glean from the disconnected facts that are reported some sense of what is going on before others have put the picture together. Hmmm.

The article also reports about the Obama Campaign flinching on the issue of whether to take public funds during the general election race (presumably against John McCain). The implicit issue, not discussed, is whether given the large war chest the Campaign has now the Campaign would be throwing away a significant advantage by using Public Funds, in which case both the Democratic and Republican candidates will be funded equally. In my opinion the Obama Campaign should take its time to give its answer on this question - no real reason to do so before the primaries in Ohio and Texas - and not give in to the baiting they are getting from McCain. But when they do work it through the conclusion is likely to be - we know how to run an effective Campaign now and we likely can do it for well less than $85 million, so why not take the Public Funds so as to honor the prior commitment? That will leave open the question of to what good use the War Chest should be allocated. I don't know the answer to that question. All I know is that as long as it is not used in a way that would create ethical problems for the Campaign (something I discussed in the previous post) then its existence is largely irrelevant for addressing the question of whether to accept Public Funding.

Here's one other strange thing that happened. This morning I did the stationary bike before work. I'm back watching early West Wing episodes until seasons 3 and 4 of "24" arrive from Today's episode was the fifth show from the first season. In that episode there are a couple of exchanges between Toby and President Bartlett on whether the President's inner demons are holding him back from achieving greatness. Hmmm.

All of this is just coinky dink or, as I said, making sense of what is already known. But it does get you to wonder.

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