The latest estimates, as evidenced by stories like this one from Reuters, is that Barack Obama will raise $1 billion to run for his re-election in 2012. This amount is likely to dwarf any potential Republican rival, especially when considering that Obama doesn’t have to spend any of trying to win primaries.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of a “grassroots” president planning a 10-figure campaign in the middle of a 13-figure budget crisis rubs me wrong. In other words, I have a much better idea for how a presidential candidate can spend $1 billion. So let me take this opportunity to turn my post into:
An Open Letter to President Barack Obama
Dear Mr. President,
Despite being politically moderate, and despite my occasional chagrin with your policies, I like you as a president. I liked your 2008 campaign, and its grassroots character. I like the glass ceiling you’ve broken, for the benefit of racial relations in this country. And I like the way you tackle issues head on with a minimum of the usual issue-dodging and political mumbo-jumbo.
However, I’m afraid that the end of your first term may mark the end of everything that made your administration a breath of fresh air. Because there are two things that absolutely infuriate so many Americans seeking and end to wasteful government spending: Black-Tie Fundraisers, and Campaign Commercials. As many of us see it, these Fundraisers are literally the place where political power is bought, and the Commercials are where it is sold.
No doubt this is where the majority of campaign money is spent, on these Commercials that everyone hates, and nobody is really swayed by. Are you, Mr. President, prepared to spend a solid chunk of $1 billion on them? I hope not. Instead, I’d like to propose an alternative.
Raise your billion, if you must. But then make an announcement that $100 million of it is going to healthcare for children, instead of your campaign. I guarantee that you will get more positive media attention from this announcement than you would from $100 million worth of TV ads. Pick nine more causes, like safer streets, career re-training programs, drug addiction centers, etc, etc, and give each one $100 million, every two weeks. You’ve seen what that sort of magnanimity does for Oprah. If you weren’t already a media darling, this would seal the deal.
Not only would this plan be a tremendous benefit to American society, it would be a much more affective way to campaign. Except for a little bit of traveling around and pontificating in the final 3 months, no other compaigning is necessary. You’re the incumbent! Make the right decisions, and you have total access to the eyes and ears of the American people. This is your chance to be the Obama that people came to know in 2008, a persona that brought so many people inspiration and hope. Plus, you have the opportunity, here and now, to set the example for future leaders, and unwind the narcissistic trend of over-spending that’s been spiraling out of control.