FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Obama not to give out street money in PA?
"The single most important thing you can do to get elected is to have street money!" Rendell shouted, adding, "There are people from the Obama campaign here, so let's all say it again. The most important thing you can do to get elected is have street money!"
You may believe or not, as you choose, about whether that recent +2 Obama internal poll for PA was a leak, disinformation, or a motivational exercise. By now it’s probably taken on elements of all three, and we’ll know on 11/05 just how close PA actually was. This state has always been problematical for the Obama campaign anyway, and goodness knows that some of the dumbest things said by Democrats in 2008 have involved PA somehow.
All that being said, I’m missing how this is anything but a public mistake.
When the Philadelphia Democratic Party’s faithful gathered for their pre-election fundraiser last night, conversation among many anxious ward leaders kept coming back to the same question: Would Barack Obama come up with street money?
In the April primary, the presidential candidate spurned the Philadelphia tradition of distributing cash to ward leaders for Election Day operations, saying his campaign doesn’t “pay for votes or pay for turnout.”
Many thought Obama had changed his mind and would provide street money for the general election, but ward leaders said last night that they still hadn’t heard of a commitment from the campaign.
This is, of course, a reversal from what we were told two months ago, more or less: back then, it was airily assured that of course Obama would be handing out the street money. While it may seem self-serving of me to disapprove of him doing that, and to give him credit for not doing it in the primary, I really did think that avoiding paying out this money was the more ethical thing to do. The fact that taking that position also gives my side an advantage in a critical battleground state is merely a sign that virtue is its own reward. For me and mine, at least.
Your mileage may differ on that; and I really can’t fault a Democrat for taking a contrary view. However, the election is now in less than two weeks, and if the Pennsylvania Democratic Party doesn’t know whether they’re getting the money or not… this is the worst of both worlds for the Obama campaign. If they’re not going to hand out this money, they should have said so all along, and given the ward bosses a chance to compensate. If they were, they should have told, say, the Governor of Pennsylvania before he begged for the money in public, for my equally-public amusement. And hopefully, the public amusement of others.
Either way: oops.