Carol Platt Liebau: The Money Catch-22

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Money Catch-22

This Washington Post piece notes that neither John McCain nor John Edwards is likely to meet their fundraising goals for this quarter.

That's bad news for them on several fronts. Fundraising isn't just a measure of a candidate's likely strength going forward -- it's a gauge of the current state of the race. McCain's fundraising has dried up despite his start in the race as what was supposed to be the "inevitable" nominee (an early assessment with which I disagreed), in large part because the base can't stand him and because his outspoken support for a terrible immigration bill has only reminded them how often -- and how gleefully -- he's put a thumb in their eye in the past.

John Edwards was struggling to raise money last quarter, if you'll recall, and his coffers started swelling only after the announcement of his wife's illness. His gaffe-prone campaign simply doesn't seem to have what it takes, between the $400 haircuts, the $50,000 speaking fees to lecture college students on poverty, the stint at a hege fund and all the rest.

Polls go up and down, but there's a reason that fundraising is often referred to as "the first primary." It's because the amount of money raised constitutes a "hard number" that can't really be spun, ignored or underestimated in terms of its importance.


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