When Democrats gained a firm lock on all the power in Washington, one thing that seemed sure to follow was a huge edge in fundraising. After all, Barack Obama is a one-man money machine, and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would surely be able to raise tons of cash from industries worried how Congress might treat them. Instead, their fundraising has been lackluster - and Barack Obama doesn't seem to be helping:
Thursday night’s joint Democratic fundraiser headlined by President Barack Obama is expected to bring in a total of $3 million for the two Democratic campaign committees, according to a party strategist familiar with the event.
The figure is surprisingly low considering Obama’s vaunted fundraising ability during the 2008 presidential campaign and the fact that this is the first joint fundraiser benefiting Congressional Democrats since the party regained control of the White House. It’s also about $11.5 million less than what GOP officials said they raised last week for the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee at a dinner featuring former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)...
Republicans also claimed that Democrats were only trying to lower expectations ahead of the release of the dinner’s fundraising total.
“The reality is that the Democrats have the most successful fundraiser in history as their party leader and Democratic majorities in both chambers who are mining K Street for campaign dollars while threatening lobbyists who meet with Republicans,” NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said. “So this dollar amount sounds less about the real world we’re all living in and more about claiming to meet a faux pledge that they will not accept lobbyist money on Obama’s watch.”
Roll Call makes clear that it's not exactly this simple. The Republican Committees and Democrat Committees count their donations in different ways - and the effect is to somewhat inflate the numbers for the Republican event, at least as compared to that of the Democrats. Most seem to agree however, that the overall number for the Democrats is underwhelming.
One of the excuses offered is that Barack Obama refused to authorize a personal pitch under his name. And if Democrats are quick to point out something so embarrassing, they must be hurting.