With the first quarter filing deadline now passed—and the staggering amounts of money raised now public knowledge—let us examine what this means for the 2008 race for the White House…
1) The ability to raise money has absolutely nothing to do with being a good President; however, that ability does help you become a better candidate for president and to run a better campaign.
2) Money can not buy you the two most important things you need to win:
A) A unique message that ‘connects’ with the voters;
B) That hunger - or ‘fine-in-the-belly’ - that is needed to inspire voters to join in an effort to change the county;
3) Mitt Romney’s $20 million is impressive - but not at all surprising. Governor Romney was a huge success in the business world at Bain Capital - and his years in the venture capital business put him touch with many well-to-do businessmen. Plus, the Mormon network is powerful and proud to help a fellow believer. Plus, Romney is worth over $500 million - so he ‘knows’ money and how to raise it. His time as head of the Salt Lake Winter Olympics also helps him a great deal.
4) Rudy Giuliani’s $15 million is a good indicator of his New York/ Wall Street strength. That is after all his ‘base’ - and he is known there and trusted.
5) John McCain’s $12.5 million is yet another indicator that his campaign is heading south; everything he does is out-of-sync. His message - more troops for Iraq and ‘I’m more pro-Bush than anyone else’ - is the wrong message at the wrong time.
6) A note here which none of the so-called ‘experts’ on TV ever make: the early money - or the first money a candidate raises - is the easiest money for them to accumulate. Why? Because they’re getting it from previous supporters in their home bases.
So these recently released numbers mean much less than the money raised later this year when donors are tapped out and a candidate needs to sell himself or herself to new donors.
7) The value of money in this race is very over-rated:
Because of the primary/caucus schedule next January and February. With the Iowa Caucuses scheduled for Monday, January 14th and New Hampshire eight days later on January 22 (with Nevada caucuses and the South Caroilina primary in between), the person who comes out of those two events with the most momentum will receive huge free publicity heading into Mega Tuesday on February 5th, where over 50% of each party’s delegates will be chosen.
No matter how much money a campaign has, they’d never be able to advertise in the 30 or so states which are participating on Mega Tuesday; it would be impossible to flood all the necessary media markets. So no candidate will have enough money for paid advertising.
The key is to harness the incredible power of free publicity.
And you get that from doing well in Iowa and then zooming into New Hampshire and doing even better there.
History is replete with candidates who have done this - i.e. Gary Hart, Pat Buchanan - but have then lost because the primaries stretched out for four more months.
Now, the whole shebang happens on February 5th. Period. Whoever wins big that day is the nominee. Period.
So why does anyone need $100 million?
Instead, you need enough to do very well in Iowa and New Hampshire and then off you go.
So, instead of all that money, you need a message and you need to ‘connect.’
So far none of the candidates have either.
Yes, Romney has raised the most money, but the more GOP voters see him, the less they like him. There is something calculating and slick and a bit insincere there...and it holds him back.
Rudy - the Golden Boy up until two weeks ago - is now really getting hammered over his third wife’s third marriage and his stupid statement that he’d be happy to have her attending cabinet meetings (does it remind anyone of Hillary?). Plus the sleaze surrounding Bernard Kerik is infecting Rudy’s once luminescent image.
And McCain is on life-support. His performance in Baghdad over the weekend was disgraceful: claiming a market was safe for all merchants when it took three helicopters and over 100 US Army troops to protect him and his lapdog congressional delegation. The comments from the locals afterwards tell us all we need to know about how ‘safe’ Baghdad really is.
McCain is politically tone-deaf, arrogant, condescending and an awful little man. So to see him wallowing in third or fourth place is a wonderful sight to behold!
Fred Thompson - not yet running - has more excitement going for him than any of the announced candidates. What does that tell us? It says more about those candidates than it does about Law & Order Fred, who may lack that hunger and ‘fire-in-the-belly’ that is a must for winning the White House.
Conclusion: The 2008 GOP race has yet to gel. In other words, it is still wide open. Whoever is ‘up’ one week is ‘down’ the next. There is still plenty of time for a new - and a better - candidate to get into this race and re-take the Republican Party and make it a winning party again.