Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obama: A fool and his money

The leeches of the professional consultant class have apparently latched onto Hope:
With a burn rate of $42 million a month, Obama's campaign can just barely sustain its current levels of spending. And what's leftover may not be adequate to run the kind of campaign he needs to win. Just consider despite all the money he's raised, Obama has been outspent on television by 3 to 1 in the last two months. All the stagecraft and theatrics has come with a hefty cost. . . .
Obama's overhead is $10 million more per month than McCain's, and this is likely to increase substantially given his campaign's out of control spending and lofty plans for the general election. . . .
A paid staff of 2,000 is unheard of in the history of presidential elections. Consider that it's five times larger than Bush's campaign staff in 2004. (Emphasis added.)
Adding so much paid staff this early in the campaign is a mistake because, if you have to cut back later -- and Obama can't possibly keep meeting such a bloated payroll -- the negative publicity is disastrous: "Obama cuts staff; cites cash crunch."

Besides which, what's the pricetag for this foolish foreign expedition? Geezy-peezy! Look, ask any political operative about the manpower involved in organizing one -- just one -- campaign rally or fundraiser, stateside. The whole business of travel schedules, advance publicity, media arrangements, hotel bookings, stage set ups, sound and lighting -- when a big campaign is on the road, the logistics of the operation are a never-ending headache that chews through the man hours.

OK, so now try to do this in six or seven countries, with five or six languages, all the customs hassles, etc. The very idea of draining such enormous amounts of money and manpower out of a presidential campaign, a month before the convention, in order to stage a 5-day publicity stunt -- and that is all Obama's foreign trip is -- has to be viewed as what it is: a blunder of epic proportions.

Even if Obama can complete such a trip without committing a costly gaffe (and the smart money says he can't), it's so transparently a P.R. gimmick that the net impact will almost certainly be negative. And it's expensive as all hell.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder's analysis, while worth reading, can be boiled down to (a) Obama's spending is not too high, (b) he's going to have all the money in the world, and generally (c) everything Plouffe & Axelrod do is brilliantly perfect and perfectly brilliant.

The counter argument is (a) so how come Obama's barely ahead in the polls, (b) does nobody take seriously the continuing disgruntlement of the PUMAs, and (c) doesn't this gaudy and expensive foreign excursion look a lot like hubris?


  1. He's walking a careful line. You know as well as I do that if he didn't do this international trip, he would catch flack from the right about not actually getting out there and seeing things for himself. I agree it's not really necessary, but unfortunately such is the nature of the political game these days.

  2. Yadda, yadda, yadda, in the meantime even before he goes abroad to cheering throngs he's getting three times the media exposure as McCain because Johnny's "base", the media, are too embarrassed to cover his gaffes like saying Social Security is "disgraceful" while cashing the checks and the nonsense from Chalabi's stooge Scheunemann that Obama is more like Bush than McCain.

    Here's a clue for ya. If the honorable Maverick John thinks Social Security is disgraceful he ought to send the checks back. Some of us who have been paying double since 1983 so we don't bankrupt our kids when we retire would like to keep that promise without winding up in the poorhouse.