It is difficult to watch the Republican primary debates and not think of the many faces that are missing. Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels just to name a few. Is it possible that the Republicans that chose to stay on the sidelines made one calculation, namely that Obama is unbeatable.
If anybody has made this calculation it is not because they believe Obama is doing a great job or even because they believe that economy will turn around before the November 2012. Republican leadership may have made the calculation that they cannot compete with Obama's fundraising machine. To put Obama's fundraising into perspective Obama raised more ($42 million)in the third quarter of 2011 (July-September) than Bill Clinton raised ($41.6 million) in his entire reelection campaign in 1996. On the GOP side of the equation Romney raised $14.2 million in Q3.
In five of the last six general Presidential elections the candidate who has raised more money has won the election. The exception being Bill Clinton in 1996, who lost the fundraising race to Bob Dole. Clinton went on to crush Dole in the general by 10 points thanks in no small part to the 8 points picked off by the fiscally conservative Ross Perot.
If the economy gets worse and unemployment is above 10% then it would bring Obama back to the pack even with outlandish numbers in the fundraising column. But we have seen and will continue to see unemployment numbers can be manipulated. So the absolute bottom line, bare bones, lets get down to brass tacks is the candidate with more money controls the message. And with Obama already able to charm hundreds of thousands of free advertising out of the media, both liberal and so-called moderate media outlets, it gives him a clear message control advantage going into the general. Obama is predicted to raise close to $1 billion for the general and it is difficult to see Romney or Gingrich tapping into both small time donors, big time PAC and draw the crowds Obama draws to fundraisers to raise cash. It just won't happen.
Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie are all young enough to wait four or even eight years give it the 100% effort. A fundraiser like Obama comes along once in a generation and Republicans may be looking to weather the fundraising storm that is Obama. It now appears that the Obama administration/campaign is going to play to his strengths and ramp up the populist generic rhetoric that gave him the White House in 2008. The more money they have the more they will be able to attempt to obscure the record with the soaring rhetoric.
The one wildcard in this election is the economy deteriorating beyond the reach of an Obama administration media bombardment. In a related story that is why we are likely to see additional easing from the Federal Reserve and any measures that kick the can down the road beyond 2012. Kicking down the road will also likely happen in the foreign policy realm.
About the Author: William is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. His areas of focus include politics and economics.