Right now the smart money is betting the next President of the United States will be named Obama, and dollars are the primary reason why. As you may have heard, the Senator has flip-flopped on public campaign financing, and now says he will not accept it even though he once thought it was a swell idea.
The government set taxpayer-based funding for presidential candidates at $85 million because, the wisdom went, it would prevent fat cats in the private sector from donating big dollars to influence a potential POTUS. But, like the military, it’s voluntary, and Senator Obama is no longer interested in signing up, even though John McCain says he will.
That’s because, in his defeat of Hillary Clinton, Obama raised about $300 million and his campaign believes he can raise another $300 million before the vote next November. Of course, that is an astounding amount of cash, and puts Obama light years ahead of McCain’s paltry $85 million.
Money might not be able to buy true love, but it can certainly buy TV and radio air time, an army of mercenary consultants, and legions of staff members in every state. Add in the fact that the media generally loves Barack Obama, generously giving him positive news coverage, and you can see some dark clouds on the horizon for Senator McCain.
So it seems like Senator Obama has everything going his way right now. The Bush administration is unpopular, the economy is tanking, and his opponent is 71 years old. Yet, according to Gallup tracking polls this week, Obama and McCain are tied.
As Obama supporter P. Diddy might say: What’s up with that?
Despite his charisma, his appeal to young Americans and the support of a frenzied liberal media, millions of working class Americans, primarily white, remain a bit skeptical of the young Senator from Illinois. That’s what’s up, my man.
Senator McCain has earned respect by his war service and long-time Senate record. You might not agree with him, but there’s no question he has served his country faithfully.
Compared to McCain, Barack Obama is new to national public service and his record troubles some voters. In a largely traditional country, Senator Obama is considered by the National Journal as the most liberal senator on the Hill. Not a great thing in many precincts.
The world is a very dangerous place, and the next President will be intensely challenged. We are talking life and death, prosperity or decline. Many voters understand the stakes and are keeping their options open.
That, of course, is a good thing. Money and the media should not decide the next election. The wisdom of the regular folks should. Both Obama and McCain would be smart to figure that out.