Obama's money problems

Barack Obama promised to accept public financing of his general election campaign. This commitment earned him support among some liberals in the primary campaign. But after clinching the Democratic nomination, he broke his promise (a nasty habit of his) and opted out of public financing, believing in his own powers -- not just to stop the melting of the ice caps but also to continue to raise massive amounts of money.

He justified his betrayal with imaginary threats regarding the power of 527 groups allied with the Republican Party. If anything, his party and candidacy benefits more from such groups than McCain-Palin.

Now it appears the One's powers may have weakened. Campaign money woes are mounting . The 50 (or is it 57) state strategy is a thing of the past as offices are being closed.

Donors are being pressured to ante up to stay in the money game, reports the New York Times. They are being admonished -- particularly in his home state of Illinois -- to work the phones and pull out the checkbooks:

After months of record-breaking fund-raising, a new sense of urgency in Senator Barack Obama's fund-raising team is palpable as the full weight of the campaign's decision to bypass public financing for the general election is suddenly upon it.

Pushing a fund-raiser later this month, a finance staff member sent a sharply worded note last week to Illinois members of its national finance committee, calling their recent efforts "extremely anemic."

At a convention-week meeting in Denver of the campaign's top fund-raisers, buttons with the image of a money tree were distributed to those who had already contributed the maximum $2,300 to the general election, a subtle reminder to those who had failed to ante up.

The signs of concern have become evident in recent weeks as early fund-raising totals have suggested that Mr. Obama's decision to bypass public financing may not necessarily afford him the commanding financing advantage over Senator John McCain that many had originally predicted.

I guess the Jon Bon Jovi fundraiser (tickets $30,800 a person -- this is how the other .00045% lives) and the prospect of hearing Barbra Streisand sing are just not doing the trick.

Or is it the prospect of having to hand out large amounts of so-called street money to get out the Obama vote that is driving the need for money? The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that politicians in the battleground state of Michigan are suggesting that the Obama campaign start spreading the green:

Some black politicians have pointed out that the Obama campaign could help itself in some urban neighborhoods by deploying what's called "street money" -- essentially, paying people to spend time cajoling folks into filling out registration forms and getting them properly filed. Payment of street money isn't illegal, but it has unsavory connotations

The Philadelphia Daily News has already reported the Obama campaign intends to hand out street money in Pennsylvania to "pump out the turnout in November" and will partner with Democratic ward leaders (something Obama has gained wide experience with by being part of machine politics in Chicago and marrying the daughter of a Daley Machine operative). Of course, as noted by Catherine Lucey of the PDN, such an "unsavory" practice "represents exactly the kind of transactional politics Obama has run against".

Obama's claims that his "management" of the campaign shows he has the skills to be President.

Barack Obama contends that he is more experienced in executive matters than Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin because he has managed his presidential campaign for the past 18 months.

Speaking on a cable news channel Monday night, the Democratic presidential nominee said he is better prepared to handle a disaster like Hurricane Gustav because of his pursuit of the White House.

Profligate spending is a Democratic habit. Maybe that's because so few of them have ever run a business or dealt in a "reality-based world". When one's career has always depended on taxpayer or tax-free foundation money, the grasp of the realities of meeting a payroll is tenuous, to say the least.

Barack Obama now has to keep dunning donors to feed the beast of his campaign. Maybe he should have cancelled the trip to Berlin and the Invesco extravaganza. How many millions of dollars were squandered on these ego-affirming exercises?

We know how Obama ran through and wasted $100 million in charitable donations when he headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, with no benefit to the schools and students of Chicago (though grantees, including a former Students for a Democratic Society pal of William Ayers, benefited).

His management of the campaign yardstick comes up short. He needs constant infusions of cash to operate. This sounds suspiciously like his vision of American government: constantly overspending and going back for more (aka, tax hikes) when spending exceeds revenues.

If he becomes President, you can predict fairly securely, based on his performance, that he will also run through your money with abandon.

With Barack Obama what you see is not what you get. His new kind of politics is merely a new kind of packaging.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker