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Monday, May 19, 2008

Is President Bush an asset to the McCain camp?

by George Dienhart

I have to say that I suspected that this was going to be Obama’s strategy all along. In order to win, he needs a favorable contrast with someone. The McCain/Obama contrast doesn’t favor Obama, so he is left running against President Bush. I suspect this will be a good thing for Republicans, and President Bush. This is a high-risk strategy for Obama, and it will leave him constantly reacting to initiatives put forth by the McCain camp. In essence, this means that though he chooses to run against President Bush, he is in effect running against both men.

Liberals may be licking their chops at the premise of running against the Bush legacy, but in the end, it will not have the effect so desired by Democrats. President Bush is still extremely important for in the fundraising arena. Since fund-raising is perceived as a McCain weakness, the massive amount of money that President Bush can raise for the RNC is a formidable weapon- a weapon that can be deployed to John McCain’s benefit. Let’s look at some numbers…

So far, Obama has raised $234,745,081 to McCain’s $76,691,826. In the 2004 Election, President Bush raised 374,659,453. In 2000, he raised $193,866,253. Obama currently has about 51 million on hand to McCain’s 10 million. That’s a big head start for Obama, but we must look at some other facts first.

In the 2006 election cycle, an unpopular Bush authorized his PAC to spend 21 Million dollars supporting Republicans in various congressional elections. It is not inconceivable to have a sitting president raise this kind of cash- he’ll probably raise considerably more as most of his appearances will be made to raise money for others, with the money going into their PAC. This group would include the RNC. So far this cycle, the RNC has raised 123,452,533 to the DNC’s $72,828,785. That’s a 50 million dollar difference right there- and most of this money will go to the McCain campaign. The Senatorial and Congressional wings of the party have their own PACs, each generating 50+ million dollars each thus far. Therefore, our new presidential totals are Obama 123 million McCain 133 million. President Bush is most likely good for another 3-5 million dollars if he continues to keep a low profile.

Liberals are now screaming that I am making assumptions about the future, and where the RNC and DNC will spend their respective monies. I can justify that. As much as the far left screams that Republicans are stupid, they are not. The people holding the purse strings already know that the congressional elections are going to be a blood bath for Republicans. They also know that the best-spent political money is money spent on a winner. The Republican with the best chance to win is McCain. As, such, pro-McCain functions and groups will win the lions share of their money. Again- much of this RNC money will be made at events headlined by President Bush. This money will prove to be the “great equalizer” that the McCain campaign needs. The best part of this strategy is that President Bush will never need to be within 1000 miles of John McCain for it to work. Obama won’t reap a similar benefit from Bill Clinton. There is too much animosity between the Clinton’s and Obama now. Look for a relatively quiet election season from the Clintons.

I mentioned another thing that that George Bush will bring to the campaign. That thing would be Christian Conservatives. These are overwhelming pro-life voters. While they are not one issue voters, they do vote heavily on this one issue. The gift that President Bush has already given are his supreme court nominees. McCain has pledged nominees similar to Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. Christian Conservatives may say that they are not going to turn out now, but when they realize how tantalizingly close they are to overturning Roe v Wade, they will turn out in droves. 2 more justices will most likely retire under the next President. The choice for the Christian Right is between having justices that will throw this back to the states (where it belongs) and justices that will kill this issue for another 30 years.

With the Christian Right turning out for Obama and RNC fundraising equalizing the money situation, voters will turn to other issues and realize how far out of step Obama is with the rest of the country. Moderates will then gravitate toward McCain. This should give Republicans at leat one thing to look forward to, in what may turn out to be a brutal cycle.