Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Maybe money isn't really the determining factor

Barack proved one of two things in Pennsylvania, either 1) Hillary is extremely popular and a much better campaigner and that only a massive over-spend of money was able to dent that popularity and political campaign skill, or 2) money is not everything and that you cannot necessarily buy an election even if you out-spend your opponent by two-to-one. If the former is true, it shows a big weakness in Barack's story. If the latter is true, all of the chatter about how much more money he can raise than Hillary is completely irrelevant.

Either Tuesday's results in Pennsylvania prove that Hillary is still very much in the game or that a massive over-spend of money is  grossly over-rated. Either conclusion is a good thing.

The win on Tuesday proves that Hillary does not need to raise even half of what Barack raises.

A lot of commentators were claiming that Hillary is essentially out of money and therefore will soon be forced to exit the race, but they neglect to mention the possibility that donors have decided to give her money only as she racks up wins to prove herself worthy of additional donations. On Tuesday she proved she could win even without the extra money.

The $6 million question is now how much money she needs to spend in Indiana and whether spending any money in North Carolina and Oregon other than the minimum required for a modest "air war" and moderate "ground war". Yes, she does need to spend some money, but Barack has proved (either way) that dumping large amounts of cash into states where she is way behind is neither required nor necessarily beneficial.

I personally am less gratified by her win itself than the simple fact that she won despite spending half as much as her opponent. This is great news for those who still believe that ever-rising expenditures of money are neither required nor a sign of winning.

Personally, I think the media gives plenty of coverage to her campaign and it is sufficient for her to simply be out there "on the stump" and continue to give the media a steady stream of sound-bites. And a few debates don't hurt either.

I personally would really prefer that she stay far away from negative campaigning, but it may simply be a reality of "the game." Even Barack, the so-called agent of change and opponent of "the same old game" of politics as played by Washington insiders was completely unable to resist going negative. So much for his positive and hope-filled rhetoric. He ability to enact change is grossly overrated. As he himself said in his speech Tuesday night, change cannot come from the top, it has to come from the bottom up.

In short, Tuesday seems to tell us that money is not really the determining factor in politics. Let us hope that donors "see the light" and donate conservatively to her campaign, just enough to keep her in the game, but not enabling any over-spending. And, let Obama donors increase their donations and let his campaign increase its spending to continue to prove that amassing huge campaign warchests and massive over-spending cannot buy elections in America. To me, his fundraising seems to prove that his story about "changing the game" is an outright fraud.

The Intrade Prediction Market show Hillary as having a 70% chance of winning in Indiana and Barack having a 40% chance of winning. Barack has a 95% chance in North Carolina and 90% chance in Oregon. Hillary has an 80% chance in Kentucky and an 86% chance in West Virginia. Barack has an 80% chance for the nomination. Hillary has only a 19% chance for the nomination, but that has been inching up over the past few weeks even as Barack was cutting her poll lead in Pennsylvania.

-- Jack Krupansky


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