Friday, December 05, 2008

For Sale: The Presidency?

Here is a story the mainstream national media will not write...

Barack Obama and his campaign spent so much money that it made it nearly impossible for John McCain to compete in the 2008 presidential election. President-elect Obama outspent McCain by the biggest margin in the history of politics.

Can you imagine if the Republican candidate had so outspent the Democrat? The "fat cat" Republicans would be vilified as having "bought" the election. In this year's election, not a peep from anyone. Where is the outrage at the possibility that money has so perverted the political process so as to make the playing field unfair for the Republicans? Can you imagine that story ever being written?

Time and again in this election cycle, we saw the differences on the ground in Hamilton County. Obama had more offices, paid staff, signs, buttons, t-shirts, and more of everything else. More importantly, we saw the Obama message on TV, the Internet, video games, radio, and everywhere else. That is what happens when you are outspent 2 to 1 in Ohio.

I am stealing much of the information for this blog post from Karl Rove's recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Read it here.

Why do I write this today? Sour grapes? No.

There are a few lessons here. First, we should never be at a disadvantage financially in the most crucial election for the biggest political job in the universe. Second, I believe it demonstrates one more way that Obama "got a pass" from the mainstream media. This story was covered, but not nearly as negatively as it would have been had McCain outspent Obama by a quarter-of-a-billion dollars and McCain had broken a pledge to take federal funding for his campaign. Third, we can't underestimate the importance of money in politics and we do so at our own peril.

None of this should stop us from looking carefully at what we stand for as a party. None of this should be viewed as Republicans shifting blame for what we have done as a party when we controlled government.

It should be seen as a reality check on what actually happened in this last election cycle. Obama's "post-partisan" rhetoric and new wave campaigning deserves some credit. But, he did it the old fashioned way: he raised and spent the most money ever spent by a politician in the history of the United States. The rock star marketing campaign he waged costs lots of money. He had money to spare.

Rove said it best in his article: "Rather than showing the success of a new style of post-partisan politics, Mr. Obama's victory may show the enduring truth of the old Chicago Golden Rule: He who has the gold rules."