Money talks

A couple of thoughts about Obama's remarkable ability to raise cash and his decision to skip the public financing of his presidential campaign.

All that money (he will raise $200-300 million for the campaign against McCain) means he's going to win. No doubt. I guaranteed it. He'll be the next President. Money talks. It speaks of the shifting to the center in America to a post New Deal liberal/left rooted in post ideological concepts like individual "empowerment" and "authenticity". It speaks of Obama as a monarchical symbol of American reinvention and hope. And it speaks of his talismanic ability to get tens of thousands of people to give their own money to his campaign. Obama is a natural salesman -- half Clinton, half Reagan -- in a country that runs on sales and marketing principles. He'll be the next Salesman-in-Chief. Yes, money talks. The guy can't and won't lose.

Money talks back too. It's a conversation, to use a much overused term. When donors give money to a candidate, they expect something in return. This is Madison's first rule of politics and the exchange based foundation of America's interest group democracy. The interesting question is what all these small donors, especially those that gave on the Internet, expect in return for their cash. In spite of the Internet, America is a representative rather than a plebiscitory democracy. So how are all these donors going to react when, after Obama is elected, they don't get what they want? In the Obama Presidency, will the Internet, as a parallel political universe, become the place where donors deinvest in Obama, where they claim their money back? After all, in America's consumer-centric, sales and marketing culture, we can get our money back on products that disappoint us after purchase. Should the next Salesman-in-Chief be offering his small investors the same deal if he fails to empower them?