Saturday, July 16, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

Well, once again, the debt limit negotiations...except that it's hard to know at this point what mattered, and what was just talking points.

What else? I suppose the drama surrounding the non-appointment of Elizabeth Warren, but certainly more broadly the apparent fact that the compromise over filibusters appears to be breaking down in the Senate, on both executive branch nominations and judges.

Libya, I guess. I'm not as convinced as others that the Murdoch scandals matter a lot; there's a real reporting bias there in that the press always believes that stories about the press are important. I'm not saying that there's nothing at all there, but I do think it's a bit overhyped.

OK; what do you think mattered this week?


  1. Personally, I think the real scoop this week was Michelle Obama's unhealthy lunch at Shake Shack!

  2. A break-in at the Watergate hotel wasn't initially hyped - but unlike the months of investigative reporting that ensued, we already have NewsCorp decapitating a 168-year old newspaper en masse, the current editor-in-chief of News International (Brooks, who appeared to be in the inner circle and about as high as any non-Murdoch), the past editor-in-chief and current editor of the WSJ, and as of today a head honcho at Dow Jones.

    Now I agree that this blows over as far as American Political Impact unless it gets into FOX 'News' Channel proper. But if they were tapping phones of 7/7 victims and ratfucking with a Prime Minister in the UK, how confident are you that the charges of hacking 9/11 victims will be found baseless?

    Are you really counting on Roger Ailes to run a 'cleaner' news operation than Rebekah Brooks did? That NewsCorp executives didn't share tactics and ideas with each other? You're that sure?

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    But that was last week - this week I want to mention Michele Bachmann's fundraising report of just over $4 million (half of that transferred from her Congressional Fund). I think it's something that mattered to the GOP nomination process, only I can't decide how it matters.

    One thing you can say is that by not leaking her numbers, the story pretty much passed unnoticed against debt ceiling armageddon.

    It's said that she raised the fresh money only in the last two weeks of the quarter, and did it with a number of small donors that can keep funding a campaign. But even a million a week is just a bit short of Romney's 2nd quarter pace. And of course Obama's $86 million upped the ante on the entire Republican field going forward.

    And while I still see Bachmann as plausibly winning the nomination, I am seeing her campaign as a bit ragged on the edges so far - as an insurgent (against the Business/Wall St/Money wing) she's going to need to be close to perfect to beat Mitt.

    Bachmann, Pawlenty and (50-50?) Perry would all be appealing to a similar segment of the primary electorate - there's a chance they end up canceling each other out before any of them can get traction.

  3. It's clear that the Murdoch clan can't depend on running News Corp. for very much longer (, which presents a very interesting scenario regarding the future trajectory of the WSJ and Fox News; this strikes me as a pretty big deal.

  4. I’m going to go with Barack Obama’s fundraising numbers. While treated as a non-issue or boring “nuts and bolts” side of the 2012 race by most of the press, bloggers and commentators I think the numbers that have come out so far actually highlight some key dynamics in the 2012 cycle.

    GOP Numbers: With a grand total of 35 million raised between all the GOP candidates I see a clear opening for Rick Perry or someone else (Dan Quale anyone?) to get in, even this late in the game. Romney raised less this quarter than he did in same quarter in 2007. To be fair, some of this might be because he can spend more time doing media events or calling activists rather than donors as his competitors have raised so little dough but still, Michelle Kwan did better at the 2nd Olympics she went to right? The fact is that major fundraisers and donors are not responding the field they have been presented with or are simply sitting on the fence.

    Obama’s Numbers: The prez raised 86 million bucks for his campaign and the DNC through the OVF (Obama Victory Fund) campaign account that’s now set up. That’s an impressive number, indeed the Obama campaign’s goal was 60 million which is what Dubbya raised in the same quarter in 2003. In my opinion the numbers really debunk the “Obama has trouble with his base” meme we have been hearing, well since forever. He raised that from over 550,000 individual contributors with an average contribution of 69$ (statistical inside baseball: because the max you can give to a fund like OVF is over 30K the median-or typical donation-is actually lower.) Clearly the idea that the grassroots movement that propelled Barack Obama into the White House has given up on him needs some tweaking.
    Secondly, this fundraising gap shows some dynamics we will see as the general election begins in earnest. First, Obama will have the cash to run the huge person-to-person oriented campaign he ran in 2008 but even bigger as well as the money to fight it out in any “air war” on TV. If the Republican’s fundraising woes continue they will have to rely more and more on outside special interest and corporate money through those new shadowy organizations we all are now so familiar with. The problem here is special interests, industries and corporations like to buy insurance and could very well end up backing both sides in a fight like this narrowing the advantage for either side and the Democrats have their own secret shadowy organizations. George W. Bush and his political team lead by Karl Rove labored tremendously to build massive person to person based campaigns in 2000 and 2004. While this takes dedicated volunteers and pre-existing political infrastructure it also takes money, lots of it. If this type of fundraising situation continues for the GOP its likely we could see a repeat of 2008 in terms of nuts and bolts campaign realities with a whole lot of tv adds and such from the Republican nominee and not much else.

  5. Obama's warning that Social Security checks may not go out on August 3rd. More statements like that (i.e. detail on how he and Geithner will prioritize payments) and we might actually see the debt limit raised.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?