Inquiring minds want to know — what happened to Mitt Romney’s supposed financial edge? Wasn’t that supposed to be his ace in the hole? Wasn’t he going to “carpet bomb” swing states with advertisements? Now, as it turns out, President Obama has tens of millions of dollars more in his campaign account than Willard.
Well, as the New York Times reports, a lot of this supposed financial edge derived from the Romney campaign’s counting monies in Republican National Committee accounts that cannot be directly used by the campaign as campaign money. This wasn’t illegal — it was just a public relations stunt. Although the Romney campaign claimed that it was raising massive amounts of money,
federal law guarantees candidates, not parties, the lowest available ad rate in the days leading up to a general election. Thanks in part to his army of small donors, Mr. Obama gathered more money in his own campaign account than Mr. Romney, whose advantage lies in raising large checks that primarily benefit the R.N.C.
Mr. Obama began September with a balance of $86 million, even after spending $65 million on advertising. He raised over twice as much money as Mr. Romney in checks of under $200, which donors can give repeatedly without quickly hitting federal contribution limits.
I’m reminded of the Bush Administration claims in 2003 that it would “shock and awe” helpless Iraqis into submission to American “liberators.” It’s also very reminiscent Karen Hughes’ claims in the last week of the 2000 campaign that George W. Bush was closing fast in California — a multimillion dollar head-fake that might have cost Bush the election but for the Supreme Court’s coup d’etat, or Karl Rove’s confident 2006 assertions about him knowing “the math.”
Why the massive claims, then? Because that’s how today’s Conservative Movement operates: a massive confidence game in an attempt to cow the opposition. It’s all hat and no cattle, or in Mitt Romney’s case, all Top Hat and no cattle.
And it never works. The Obama campaign deftly used these claims as a way of energizing its bank of smaller contributors, and wound up having more cash on hand at the end. As mentioned, Bush wound up losing the popular vote, and the 2006 elections. As for cowing the Iraqis — we all know how that turned out.
The entire Conservative Movement essentially operates on a model of assuming that the public and the media are simply too ignorant or too preoccupied to understand real issues. They are right more than I would like to acknowledge. But at this point, it’s really all they have left. And if today’s polls are right, it’s not enough.