Admin News and a Short Unrelated Question

OK. Well all is not well in the deep dark underbelly of this blog. Sometime soon I’ll get to the bottom of it. Regular blog posting will resume tomorrow (noon? night?). Tonight I’ve got to head to bed early to catch an early plane home. Things went successfully and the next job is local. I’ve started reading a bunch of things on which my regular discussion fellows likely have read more than I, that is neuroscience and evolution … and I still want to write more on the Ratzinger/Habermas discussion.

The rss feed works … but google is ignoring it and I’m trying to figure out why. Well, that should shake out.

Can anybody explain why Mr Obama (and his Democratic) supporters believe that the “regular grassroots” $5 contributor had (and will) be the mainstay of his fundraising efforts when there are 72 million voters (of both parties) eligible, 60% of those vote and only half of that 60% for the Democrat … and he is expected to raise 1 billion? How’s that logic work out?

5 responses to “Admin News and a Short Unrelated Question

  1. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/10/03/obama-s-good-will-hunting.html is from Oct of 2008 but it indicates at that point Obama had raised nearly half a billion with half of that coming from $200 and under donations. http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.php?id=n00009638 indicates the total 2008 campaign was about $750M so one would think that $1B is not an unreasonable fund raising projection for this year, esp. since Obama is running unopposed and from the White House rather than an underdog candidate among a field of contesting Democrats.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/donordemCID_compare.php?cycle=2008 has a chart showing the # of donars by donation size, most seem to be between $1650 and $2300. Obama clearly did beat McCain, though among the smallest donars in the $250 bracket. When I add up the donations and divide by the number of contributors I’m getting an average donation of $1,081.

    So no I don’t think its reasonable to expect Obama to raise $1B with $5 donations, but he will probably do it with modest sized donations ranging from a few hundred to a thousand dollars each, which is probably the new norm in elections these days since the Internet and social media makes it easier to mass large numbers of small donars.

  2. Boonton,
    So when Obama’s campaign finance advisor writes: “Messina continues: “We don’t take PAC money, unlike our opponents. We fund this campaign in contributions of three dollars or five dollars or whatever you can do to help us expand the map, to put more people on the ground, to build a real grass-roots campaign that is going to be the difference between winning and losing.” You are basically baldly stating that the campaign is, well, lying. Same old same old, eh?

    And “average” $1000 donations are not “little people.” You’re wealthy if you’re ponying up $1k for a political campaign contribution (setting aside the untraceable credit card donation mechanisms available to the very wealthy who wish to dodge campaign finance limits).

  3. 1. Technically its not a lie. Messina is using the word ‘fund’ as a verb. Technically one can say the ‘march of dimes’ funded their campaigns with donations of mere dimes, technically true but that certainly doesn’t mean one should assume that no one ever wrote a check for more than $0.10 to the March of Dimes nor even that the majority of funds came literally from people tossing dimes to the group.

    2. $1,000 donation does not denote someone as wealthy, although it does denote them as pretty dedicated. For example, quite a few people faithfully give more than $1,000 a year to their churches without being wealthy.

    You haven’t really established that Obama’s campaign(s) are grass roots funded with small individual contributions. You’ve only knocked down a strawman argument that no one actually made….that the entire campaign will be funded with $5 donations (well $5 originally, now you seem to be shifting to $3 or $3-$5, let me know when you figure out what you want to say)

  4. Boonton,
    On point #1 … uhm, “technically” it’s not a lie … more properly I think “damned lie and/or statistics” ala Mr Twain is more appropriate. No, if the “March of Dimes” actually claimed that 10 cent contributions “funded” their operation then the .0001% of their budget which comes from those dime contributors is technically correct they “contribute to funding” the operation … but in a trivial way and claiming that you get your funding from that is a lie. Just as suggesting (as the Obama campaign does) that they are funded by $5 donors is a lie.

    On point 2 … untrue. A weekly donation of $20 adds up to over a thousand a year. But … few average church members can pony up $1k in a single check without being more than just “dedicated.” Do you think that the number of passionate/dedicated grass roots Obama supporters is smaller or greater than the last election? If smaller (and it should be if you’re being honest), then how is the grassroots going to raise more than last time?

    The 3 dollar figure is not mine but the Obama campaign finance manager statement. I’m not moving the goalposts, the $5 figure is the one that helps your cause the most.

    You haven’t really established that Obama’s campaign(s) are grass roots funded with small individual contributions.

    That’s right. I haven’t established that Obama is funded by grass roots. I don’t think he is funded by grass roots. His campaign claims it is … and that claim is misleading. He is primarily funded by big donors.

  5. Primarily funded by big donors makes no sense. You can’t fund a campaign on big donors and get 3/4 of a billion dollars with the average donation of $1,000.

    #1. Statistics lie, they also lie in accusations of lies. There are multiple ways of measuring how much a campign is made up of ‘big’ versus ‘small’ donars. For example, one way is to ask what does the typicall donor look like. If a campaign had 60M donars who gave $10 each and two donars that gave $300M each, then clearly most of the donors are smal donors. If you put them all in a giant room to throw them a thank you party, almost everyone you’d meet gave $10. On the other hand, if you measure this based on who funded the total, you’d have 50% funded by huge multi-million donors and 50% funded by micro-$10 donors. Since the speaker does not specify which way he’s measuring this, you don’t have the right to assume one way.

    #2. ‘Funded by’ is a vague phrase that technically means such people provided funds. It doesn’t say, unless qualified by some other adjective like ‘mostly’ or ‘nearly all’ or ‘partially’ any given percentage threshold.

    #3. $20 a week? Hmmpppph. Many Christians believe they should be giving 10% of their disposable income to their Church which would likely be more than $20 a week and more than $1,000 a year. As for ‘$1K in a single check’, I only said the average donor gave $1K. Didn’t say how many checks they used to do it nor did I account for the fact that the campaign actually crossed multiple years so a $1000 donor may have given multiple contributions well under $1,000 and did much less than $1000 each year to achieve $1,000 in total donations.

    That’s right. I haven’t established that Obama is funded by grass roots. I don’t think he is funded by grass roots.

    Clearly your thoughts have no impact on reality, and we’ve seen quite often when politics is concerned they are highly likely to be unaffected by reality. There’s no need for you to establish that Obama’s 2008 campaign was funded by grass roots, that’s already been done by those who analyze campaign spending. You’re left to quibbling over what portion of the campaign was financed by $1, $5, $10, $200 and $1000 or more donations. A highly uninteresting topic but you’re free to continue trying.

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