April 16, 2007

Hillary Losing Donors To Obama

Hillary Clinton and her supporters had thought that the 2008 primary race would be nothing less than a coronation march, as the supporters of her husband all came together to return the White House keys to the Clinton family. It turned into a dogfight instead, and some of her husband's former colleagues have decided to back another dog in the fight. Barack Obama has managed to convince some of Bill's big fundraisers to support his candidacy over that of the former First Lady:

As Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton seeks to reassemble the Democratic money machine her husband built, some of its major fund-raisers have already signed on with Senator Barack Obama.

Among the biggest fund-raisers for Mr. Obama’s campaign are as many as a half-dozen former guests of the Clinton White House. At least two are close enough to the Clintons to have slept in the Lincoln bedroom.

At minimum, a dozen were major fund-raisers for President Bill Clinton. At least four worked in the administration and one, James Rubin, is a son of a former Clinton Treasury Secretary, Robert E. Rubin. About two dozen of the top Obama fund-raisers have contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns or political action committee, some as recently as a few months ago.

A list of Mr. Obama’s top fund-raisers released Sunday showed the extent to which the Democratic Party establishment, once presumed to back Mrs. Clinton, has become more fragmented and drifted into her rival’s camp, lending the early stages of the Democratic primary campaign the feeling of a family feud. Some of the movement would have been inevitable given Mr. Clinton’s former dominance of the party.

Why have so many former backers slipped away from the latest effort to elect a Clinton to the presidency? The short answer is that Hillary is no Bill. She does not translate well to the stump, something that many people noticed about her during her run for the Senate. While at times she can be warm and humorous, most often she exhibits almost none of the charm that her husband made famous.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, exudes charm and a gravitas that hides a rather callow CV. He has all of two years in national elective office, and has no depth on policy questions. Obama makes Hillary look experienced, and yet significant figures in Democratic fundraising have migrated to his campaign.

What does that mean for both candidates? It means that the powers of the party have started to realize that Hillary isn't inevitable. Her negatives still have not receded, and the likelihood of her winning a general election depend greatly on the Republicans nominating a stiff. She isn't inevitable even in the primary any more, and the donors have started looking for a better option -- one that they can mold into whatever they need to win it all. Obama, withi his skimpy track record, fits the bill far better than Hillary.

It shows in the donor lists, too. Much was made about Obama's impressive donor lists, which ran over 100,000 names, and his $25 million haul was seen as a triumph of grassroots activism. Reality is somewhat less glowing. Almost half of Obama's Q1 donations came from 4,800 donors who gave the maximum $2300 for the primaries. Hillary got 5,100 maximum contributions, in comparison, and almost 3,000 of those gave the maximum for her general-election fund as well. Almost every dollar Obama got was for the primaries.

Watch the money. If the donors keep shifting towards Obama, Hillary may find her return to the White House canceled due to lack of interest.


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Comments (7)

Posted by JeanneB [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 7:46 AM

Several weeks back I saw a poll that asked respondents what they were looking for in their next presidential candidate.

Most Republicans answered "national security credentials". Depressingly, 87% of Democrats answered "charisma". Thus, Obama's appeal.

They apparently long for another Clinton who can master the Dems' most difficult challenge: advance the liberal agenda by dressing it up in conservative language. Then rely on the MSM to gush over the candidate's "political skills".

Posted by PapaBear [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 7:56 AM

One main objective of a big campaign contributor is to secure access to the politician once elected, and be able to use that access to push the contributor's agenda

Keep in mind the legendary Clinton corruption, and what happens to people in the Clinton gang who have outlived their usefulness

The attraction of Obama is precisely the fact that he's new. He's more likely to be dependent on the people who financed his campaign once the election is won.

Posted by BarCodeKing [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 8:21 AM

Obama: All Your Donor Are Belong To Us!

Posted by KauaiBoy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 9:20 AM

Any help in following the money would be helpful----where can one get a listing of the donors and the companies they work for or run so that we can make responsible economic decisions. For instance: Progressive Insurance owner supports MoveOn.org-----let's bankrupt those already morally bankrupt.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 11:50 AM

she hasn't even let the dogs out yet. probably next spring sometime they will eat him alive. down deep he's probably hoping to be VP.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 2:27 PM

If Obama has any brains at all he'll manage to lose the nomination gracefully and with great "charisma", and then go run for Governor of Illinois. That's his launching point to the White House, if he really want's it.

The Vice Presidency has historically delivered the White House after assassinations and successful predecessors, but Al Gore has almost single-handedly muddied up that path to the point where its almost impassible now. The Governor's Mansion is the best of all possible ways to get to the White House, bar none!

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 11:30 PM

Ah, to be the new kid in school, surrounded by mystery because no one really knows you, able to write your own bio - until you screw up a time or two, and all those who were seeing what they wanted to see in you realize the illusion and go back to business as usual with their old cliques.

This is both Obama's attraction and weakness. Hillary is making a big mistake by acquiescing in the Democrats' avoiding a heavy debate schedule. She understandably wants to avoid questions about her Iraq positions, given the dominance of antiwar elements in the activist base of the party, but her big advantage is her ability to delve into the arcane details of policy options.

Only she and Richardson can win in substantive debates, although Dodd and Biden would also hold their own. Edwards would be well-prepared to defend his health care proposals and to grovel over Iraq, but is out of his depth on the details of other issues. Obama is a deer in the headlights on details.

Debates are what she needs to draw the distinctions between herself and Obama. While her service in elective office is limited, she has been in the midst of policy debates at the executive level for 20 years in Arkansas and the White House, and would show Obama to be the rank amateur he is.

I note with interest that all of the donors to both Hillary and Obama could still max out for the other should fortunes change. The limits are per candidate, not per donor.