JOSH ISRAEL responds to the recent rightwing reports about President Obama’s fundraising endeavors — especially as compared with Ronald Reagan’s:
“Barack Obama has already held more re-election fundraising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined,” The (UK) Daily Mail reported Sunday, based on Brendan J. Doherty’s new book The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign. The paper also observed that Ronald Reagan did not have a single fundraising event for his 1984 re-election.
Yeah, well. As Israel points out, there are exactly three reasons for that:
1) the nation’s public financing system for presidential candidates, which went into effect in 1976 and was used by Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush for their re-elections, has fallen apart. [...] The five previous presidents needed to raise money for only their primary campaign, as public financing would kick in for the general. Reagan, meanwhile, was able to avoid raising any money entirely because he faced no primary and thus automatically received the Republican nomination and the the public financing that came with it.
2) President Obama is the first president to run for re-election in the post-Citizens United world. While Other Presidents ran against opponents whose fundraising was limited by individual contribution limits, Obama has to keep pace with not just the Romney campaign, but also with outside groups that can raise and spend unlimited sums of money raised from wealthy donors and big corporations, which on balance support Republicans.
3) Also, unlike most of his predecessors and Mitt Romney, Obama has vowed to not accept PAC money, accept donations from lobbyists, or allow any registered lobbyists to “bundle” contributions for his campaign. That leaves fundraising from generous donors as the only way to afford a modern presidential campaign.