So, if you watch the news, or even read the news, you may think President Obama's facing a fierce challenge from the Republicans this November. The GOP has several candidates out there and they're all gunning for the Pres.--their hands are wringing, fangs are showing, saliva is dripping, their eyes bulging with intent... sounds intimidating, doesn't it? A lot of folks out there think so. The thing is, the media is presenting an extreme close-up of these guys--if they'd just pull back a bit, we'd all see that, while their fangs are wet and their eyes are piercing, these body parts belong to a tiny rodent who feels utterly and completely cornered.
While it's true the GOP candidates, combined, are raising crazy amounts of cash (even more if you count the money Super PACs are pulling in), Obama is waist-deep in green and despite many of his followers finding themselves disillusioned with him, he would have to lose a LOT of votes to actually lose to the Republicans in November.
But lets look at campaign cash...
According to the Federal Elections Commission's numbers, as of December, 2011, Obama has raised over $86 million for his campaign. His closest competitor in this is Romney who has raised less than half of that--$32 million. Obama's numbers don't include money from PACs, while Romney's numbers do. The mighty Gingrich, the man the media said was dead, then wasn't, then forgot about as Romney and Santorum went head-to-head, but now seems to love again, hasn't been able to raise even a few million--the FEC puts his total contributions at a bit under $2.9 million.
We all know that the amount of money spent on a campaign reflects on the likelihood of said candidate getting elected, and even if that's only marginally true, Obama's 86 million bucks should remind us just how small that Republican rodent really is.
And if you're some sort of crazy non-cynic who believes money doesn't buy elections, then just have a look at the GOP candidates and how they are spending the primary season feasting on each other's entrails. They're cannibalizing each other and making themselves look like horrible people in the process. They're basically doing what the Democrats did in 2004 and almost did in 2008--lucky for them, they were up against a guy who represented everything old, white and wrong with the government.
So, why is it that the media turns around and makes it sound like Obama's got something to worry about when the facts are telling us the opposite? Well, my fellow cynics out there know that it's all about ratings and readers. Why else would Reuters use a headline like "Gingrich steals Romney's cloak of electability as president" which seems to suggest that Gingrich is, somehow, now electable at all. Forget the fact that there is no clear frontrunner anymore. Santorum won the Iowa Caucus, Romney won New Hampshire and now Newt has taken South Carolina. It's a hot and sweaty three-way that's not going to end with an overwhelming winner, which will be necessary to pull enough votes away from Obama to win.
How many Republican debates have there been? How many were sponsored by CNN, Fox News or some other news company? Too many to count. The media is trying reeeeally hard to make this seem like some sort of action movie, but it's plain to see that it's anything but.
So the next time you see someone freaking out or even slightly nervous about Obama's ability to win a second term, just mention the number "86" to them and then add the words "million" and "dollars".
UPDATE 1/24/12, 1:20PM: Late this morning, I saw that the NYTimes reported about how pro-Gingrich super PAC "Winning Our Future" will get a donation of $5 million from the wife of a long time pal of Newt's. Of course, that money will go toward poking Romney's eyes out and not be put toward taking on Obama. Beyond that, a measly 5 mill on top of his less-than-3 mill still puts Gingrich at less than one-tenth of the ocean of cash that the Big-O has lapping at his beach. So, still, the media is trying to create a threat for Obama where there isn't one.
I should clarify that each candidate, indirectly, has more money out there--but that it's all in super PACs which don't have to disclose how much they've raised. It's possible that super PACs that support Republican candidates could have pulled in much more money than the candidates, themselves, have but that wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. Logically, you give cash to the candidate first, then his super PAC if you want to support something the candidate can't. In the end, we can only go with the evidence we have and, right now, that evidence says there's no contest--Obama gets a second term.