January 16, 2009

Funnels - getting cash into the Right hands

Remember when Barack Obama opted out of public financing for his election campaign? Do you recall the reasons? The video is pretty dry, but the ad piece from Obama near the beginning is very telling.

FYI - Democracy Now is a liberal organization, Massie Rich is with the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization.

So Obama opted out to combat the vast army of Republican 527s lined up to destroy him. He had to do it. In October there were some ads, but nothing huge. And McCain raised significant money (thanks in large part to the RNC, and not his boneheaded allegiance to the federal funding). It doesn't seem that conservatives brought out there wallets as hard as they could have, but it also seems like 527s are one more area we are behind the Democrats on. Where's our moveon.org? Who is our George Soros (with some common sense added in)? Where are conservative donations going and why is it that the efficacy of the use of that money seems so muted? The answers aren't readily clear.

What is clear, is that in order to fund smarter, more effective campaigns in the future, more money will be needed, and funneling it to the right teams is crucial. Fundraising needs to be underway now, but more importantly, who gets the money? The RNC, the 527s, individual campaigns? There seems to be a lack of strategic imperative associated with both the financial sides of campaigning - revenue and expenditures. The strategy needs to be devised quickly on

1) How to collect more money.
2) How to collect more efficiently.
3) How to be transparent in the collection process.
4) Who collects it.
5) Where it goes (i.e. who gets it and in what percentages).
6) How it is spent.
7) Do we have enough 527s on the Republican side and do they have enough backing?

With regard to the last three points it would seem that the 527s are set to be the attack dogs and should be aligned to get the right proportion of fundraising to support that objective, the RNC should get a very significant portion and should be in a position to best align the spending with the opportunities that are presented for seat gains. Very high level thoughts, hopefully the folks inside the RNC have thought well beyond this already and are making the appropriate reviews of 2008. Based on the performance of the GOP in 2008, I'm not convinced that is yet the case.

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