Though his fund-raising lagged somewhat in May according to the most recent financial disclosures, Senator Barack Obama is planning an extensive advertising effort for the general election, including television spots in states that are known to be Republican strongholds.I stated during the week my support of Obama's repudiation of his former position regarding campaign finance reform, which was clearly a pandering gesture while he was running in seventh place and desperate for attention. Among the reasons I mentioned was John Kerry's "Swiftboating" in the 2004 election by an "independent" 527 group.
The Times’s Jim Rutenberg and Christopher Drew report today on the Obama team’s “multifaceted television campaign”:
Future commercials could run on big national showcases like the Olympics in August and smaller cable networks like MTV and Black Entertainment Television that appeal to specific demographic and interest groups.
He is also dispatching paid staff members to all states, an unusual move by the standards of modern presidential campaigns where the fight is often contained to contested territories.
The Associated Press reports on how Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s donors could fatten Mr. Obama’s campaign war chest while he helps pay off some of her campaign’s sizable debt.
Kerry was in between the primary season and the general election, which could not officially kick off until George W. Bush was officially renominated. The 527 ads were run in this period when, because the campaign had not officially kicked off, Kerry could not use the public funding he had agreed to abide by, and had run out of primary funds.
He was forced to rely on ad hoc fund raising efforts by groups like MoveOn.org to combat the ads. Well, guess what? Progressives, it seems, are notoriously bad about funding things like this.
Obama appears to be positioning himself to battle in all 50 states against McCain, forcing McCain to spend money and effort in traditionally Republican states like Kansas and Virginia. Menwhile, there's a very good possibility that McCain could upset Obama's bid for big-ticket states like California, Florida, Ohio, Texas and even New York and Pennsylvania. The ability of one or the other strategy to work will determine the outcome of the November election, despite early indications that Obama is winning walking away now (51%-39%, according to recent polls).
The key demographic is the group that Hillary Clinton re-energized during the primary season, the working class vote, the so-called Hillary Democrats (nee Reagan). If McCain can hold his base and attract anywhere north of 1/3 of Hillary Democrats and Obama runs into trouble with his base because of whatever moves to the middle he is forced to make to shore up his support with HillDems, McCain could steal the election (allusion intended).
On the flip side, McCain will have troubling shoring up his base if he, too, has to repudiate the policies of the past seven years too fervently, which is why he's changed positions on drilling in ANWR among other things. Lose the conservatives and McCain can phone in the votes he'll receive after that.
Even if Obama loses the race this time, he would likely shore up Democratic votes in states that are usually dominated by Republicans, and perhaps swipe a few more Congressional seats. In 2012, he would be positioned to run again against a President McCain.
Assuming he got past the fact that Hillary Clinton would probably have much more support should Obama fail.