Patterico's Pontifications


McCain Opts for Federal Funds

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports that John McCain is expected to accept federal funds to finance his general election campaign:

“John McCain is abandoning any hope of catching the Democrats in fundraising.

Based on new financial disclosure reports released Sunday, and interviews with his finance team, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee will instead accept taxpayer money to finance his general election and share other costs with the Republican National Committee.

The strategy will allow McCain to stretch his campaign dollars by splitting the cost of television advertising and other campaign activity with the RNC.

But the decision also puts the Arizona senator at risk of being badly outspent – even with RNC help – by a Democratic nominee who will be allowed to spend as much as he or she can raise on the November race.

McCain has raised a total of $72 million for his presidential bid, including $15 million in March. He ended last month with about $11.5 million in cash.

In contrast, Democrat Barack Obama has raised more than $236 million for his campaign. He raised nearly $43 million in March and ended the month with $51 million in cash and no debts.”

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that McCain has championed the benefits of regulation and now he’s feeling the pinch? However, he will receive approximately $84M in federal funds plus joint campaign expenditures with the RNC:

“Under the program, McCain will be eligible to receive $84.1 million from the national treasury to run his campaign between his official nomination at the September Republican convention in Minnesota and Election Day.

Between now and then, McCain needs only to raise enough money to travel and keep his profile high enough not to be forgotten while the Democrats continue to battle one another. If a Democratic nominee emerges with enough time to launch an attack against McCain, a handful of well financed, Republican-friendly outside groups stand ready to quickly come to his aid.

McCain also can spend his summer headlining joint events to help raise money for the RNC, which can allocate millions to boosting his candidacy. The RNC on Sunday reported having $31 million in cash, compared to just $5 million in the Democratic National Committee’s account.

By directing donations to the RNC, money also can be raised in bigger chunks. The maximum donation to the RNC is $28,500; the biggest allowable donation to the McCain campaign for the general election would have been $2,300.”

Money talks in elections and this puts McCain at a disadvantage. It will be interesting to see how well the RNC does in fundraising this summer.

I think McCain’s fundraising problems are due in part to his late start in organizing but it’s also an indication of how conservatives view McCain. For now, conservatives may reluctantly give him their votes … but not their money.


22 Responses to “McCain Opts for Federal Funds”

  1. The likelihood of Baracky honoring his pledge to take federal funds is similar to his pledge to not run for President upon being elected to the Senate.

    JD (5f0e11)

  2. McCain was really “Plan B” for most Republicans. He’s spent the last fifteen years at war with the party – he almost jumped ship less than a decade ago. Sure, Huckabee is a nut and the Mormon is a New England liberal, so we settled on the cantankerous old guy who’s been running every election since before most of us were born. But don’t expect us to be thrilled about it.

    Eric (09e4ab)

  3. Something about being hoist upon a pettard comes to mind.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  4. Well Drew if you are a Republican but won’t vote for McCain then when BO appoints judges to SC, you will be hoist too and not by your pettard. McCain was also not my first choice but he is the preferred choice now, the only choice.

    So, just how much has BO spent so far? Most of the $236 million? Thats a lot of gasoline.

    lynndh (a20f74)

  5. Last I saw, Obama has $51M in the bank and is still raking it in.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  6. This is neither as principled, nor as problematic, a decision by McCain as it might seem at first. The GOP convention is later than usual this year, so the portion of the overall election season represented by “convention to election” is smaller. He’s also certainly hoping to reap collateral benefits from Hillary’s anti-Obama advertising between now and whenever Hillary drops out, which may well not happen until the Dems’ convention.

    But most importantly, this election cycle is going to mark the end of any remaining illusions that McCain-Feingold puts any meaningful limits on spending by ostensibly non-controlled organizations apart from the candidates’ official campaigns. The George Soros and Hollywood types are going to spend a large multiple of what the Obama campaign itself spends, and McCain is counting on Republican-leaning moneybags and their organizations to do likewise, or at least to keep him generally competitive.

    McCain-Feingold remains a travesty, but it’s an increasingly irrelevant one.

    Beldar (adf235)

  7. This is not going well for Bob “it’s his turn” Dole II.

    But it’s nothing compared to how the USA will fair when McCain Lieberman ooops sorry they changed the name of the global warming tax to Warner-Lieberman and the 1.2 trillion dollar tax increase hits home. Did it fool you?

    bill-tb (26027c)

  8. lynndh…I was referring to McCain v his campaign finance “reforms”, I never said I wasn’t going to vote for him. I happen to have some industrial quality nose pinchers.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  9. “McCain-Feingold remains a travesty, but it’s an increasingly irrelevant one.”

    At least someone made an attempt to extract the moneyed interests from election campaigns.

    McCain’s pragmatism may have prevailed only because he sees greater returns on public funds than donations after testing the waters for backing out of his agreement.

    Shame on Obama for not accepting Public Funds.

    I hope he changes his mind. It would be an archetypal moment in the History of American Politics if we shit-canned the blood money of lobbyists.

    Semanticleo (c6f1cb)

  10. What the hell is a “pettard”? Is it anything like a petard?

    Anyway, Beldar has the correct take on this one; Unless she runs out of money completely, HillBillShrillary WILL take the fight to the convention. She doesn’t care about the state of the Democratic Party AT ALL, and as long as conservatives get past any reluctance they have (I’ve contributed to the McCain campaign; have all of you?) things will be fine.


    What the hell is “spell check”? Is it anything like a button on your web browser’s tool bar?

    Missed It By THAT Much (f1ee22)

  11. I am somewhat confused. McCain spent the bulk of the Bush presidency helping to prevent Bush’s judges from being confirmed. Now we must vote for McCain so he will appoint conservative judges.
    I haven’t decided to leave the top spot blank, yet. I am leaning that way. The Washington Republicans have gone out of their way to denigrate conservatives this election cycle. If McCain wins then Washington will know they don’t need conservatives. They’ll go back to the old Rockefeller Republicans and the gains since Reagan will be gone.
    I must go cling to religion and guns now.

    Peter (c36902)

  12. I really wonder who he will pick for veep.

    MamaAJ (788539)

  13. Lindsey Graham.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  14. I have come around to casting a vote for McCain, or rather, against the Dem nominee. If he picks his buddy, Graham, I will have to think about this decision again.

    JD (5f0e11)

  15. #11 – dont forget he also wants to extend the Bush tax cuts even though he was originally against them. of course its an easy promise to make to sound conservative since he knows a dem congress wont ever vote to extend them

    oh and DRJ:

    For now, conservatives may reluctantly give him their votes … but not their money.

    – DRJ

    uh, unfortunately he did get my money, and money from a bunch of other conservatives. but he will never get my vote!

    chas (3fb29b)

  16. #10…
    Thanks for asking: Yes, it is a red-neck, cousin-marrying, snaggle-toothed, Ozark-inhabiting distant relative to a “petard”. But it still hurts just as much when it’s stuck up your …!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  17. #11, Peter: “I am somewhat confused. McCain spent the bulk of the Bush presidency helping to prevent Bush’s judges from being confirmed.”

    Given the TOTAL UNTRUTH of your second statement, there is no doubt that your first statement IS true. During the first 5 years of the Bush presidency the Senate approved 208 of his judicial nominees, while Senate Democrats filibustered against a total of 10 nominees. Bush placed 6 people into the judiciary as recess appointments.

    The only thing McCain and his “gang of 14” did was to preserve that filibuster for Republicans to use when Democrats are in control of the Senate and The White House — something that MIGHT be the case next year.

    Missed It By THAT Much (f1ee22)

  18. #16 …
    My guess is that it’s a good thing then that McCain has been hoisted upon nothing.

    Missed It By THAT Much (f1ee22)

  19. #17 – there is absolutely no way the republicans can use the filibuster w/o looking worse than the spoiled brat dems did when they used it. and i would be against using it, if we believe Bush’s deserve an up or down vote we would be very small and petty to not a dem’s nominations get that same courtesy just for vengeance’s sake. its the difference between politics and statesmenship.

    chas (3fb29b)

  20. #19 … Perhaps I overstated the case. The “gang of 14” agreement only applied to the years 2005-2006, which goes to my point that Peter WAY over-exaggerated his assertion that “McCain spent the bulk of the Bush presidency helping to prevent Bush’s judges from being confirmed”.

    By the same token, a future Republican filibuster is not protected from Democrats exercising the “nuclear option”; however, a precedent has been established, spelled out in the “gang of 14” agreement: “Future Nominations. Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should be filibustered only under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.”

    In other words, the best possible method has been set forth, and hopefully will continue to be followed in the future. Post-agreement, far more of Bush’s nominees have been confirmed than rejected, including Samuel Alito. The agreement was all about extending the “same courtesy”; the 14 gang members were 7 Republicans and 7 Democrats. The conservatives who opposed it — and presumably those who parrot the talking points in blogs today — wanted the Republicans to use the nuclear option in 2005, something that would lead to revenge in the future . . . something that, as you accurately noted, is not nice.

    Missed It By THAT Much (f1ee22)

  21. “For now, conservatives may reluctantly give him their votes … but not their money.”…..i am not to sure about that. thing is, i contributed to my first choice Rudy, then Romney. both lost to JMAC and although i havent contributed to McCain yet, i will before its over.

    james conrad (7cd809)

  22. Money talks? Really? Take a look. As of this writing Obama is going to be killed in PA in spite of spending three times the money Clinton has spent, McCain started with zero, rich guys litter the landscape (President Perot, President Forbes, President Rockerfeller, to name a few) and will continue to show up in the eventual electoral body count. Like or dislike Obama, he has shown that two million people sending in $20 bucks is a lot of money—and he has yet to carry a big state. The truth is that you do need SOME money but if you ain’t got nothin’ to offer you will not win. It may even be that having too much money hurts.

    Howard Veit (cc8b85)

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