The NYT does a pretty lame Obama organization story [Karl]
Is this really the best the New York Times can do for the big Sunday edition?Ã‚Â The answer is “no,” if for no other reason than that the NYT has done better stories on Barack Obama’s campaign organization than this sleepwalker.
Camp Obama is still claiming that they will be running that 50-state strategy.Ã‚Â The New York Times did that story lamely two weeks ago — and it was still more enlightening than this morning’s piece, which again falls back to the usual:
Aides and advisers to Mr. Obama said they did not believe he necessarily had a serious chance of winning in many of the traditionally Republican states. They said he could at least draw Mr. McCain into spending time and money in those places while swelling Democratic enrollment and supporting other Democrats on the ballot.
There’s also a hunk about microtargeting, personalized GOTV and the extensive voter database Catalist — all subjects covered here, noting that the NYTÃ‚Â did an eye-opening piece on CatalistÃ‚Â back in April — an angle that is in no sense advanced by today’s piece.Ã‚Â Indeed, today’s piece reports that Camp Obama is considering buying data from Catalist when they are already a client.Ã‚Â They note that the campaign is interested in Catalist’s new data on cable TV viewers — but all the paper comes up with for examples are that MTV could reach young voters and BET reaches black voters?Ã‚Â No one in their right mind would be laying out serious bank for those revelations, but the NYT comes up with nothing juicy.
The article also chops up some of the more recent developments on the fundraising front and shoves them in various spots, perhaps to bury the news about Obama’s lacklusterÃ‚Â receipts in May.Ã‚Â That could very well be a temporary phenomenon caused by the strange lingering end of the Democratic primaries, as Team Obama suggests.Ã‚Â But with the Politico’s Ben Smith reporting that Obama has “been firing on all fundraising cylinders in June, courting large donors and small,” shouldn’t the Grey Lady have been able to ferret out a ballpark figure for the first three weeks of June?Ã‚Â And if that data is a closely held secret, shouldn’t that be the story?
Instead, the paper notes only that Camp Obama is looking to tap into money from Hillary Clinton’s supporters and that Obama will be personally attending fundraisers in the coming weeks.Ã‚Â The paper does not even address the angle the AP reported on Saturday regarding the degree to which Obama andd Clinton need each other on the fundraising front.Ã‚Â And neither the AP nor the NYT tells its readers — as the Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel, the HuffPo’s Tom Edsall, and even the NYT’sÃ‚Â Jeff Zeleny already have — the financial details that make them strange bedfellows in this regard.
The NYT’s piece largely ignoresÃ‚Â Obama’s online fundraising machine.Ã‚Â The working assumption of Camp Obama — and most everyone else, myself included — has been that it can be switched back on for the general election, and perhaps mushroom with former Clinton supporters coming home to their party.Ã‚Â But it is possible that the machine may need some retooling.Ã‚Â
Obama’s protracted fight against Clinton gave both sides multiple rounds of primaries and caucuses to which each could peg their fundraising appeals.Ã‚Â There are inherently far fewer such events over the Summer doldrums and even in the general election.Ã‚Â Obama’s website is currently trying to sign up new donors, but the link for setting up an automatic monthly donation is buried near the bottom of the page.Ã‚Â Camp Obama might do well to study some of the devices Howard Dean used in 2004, like the fundraising “bat,” or events like those Ron Paul staged during this cycle,Ã‚Â as possible ways that Obama could get those small donors to keep opening their wallets on a regular basis.
Update: If you want to read a good story on organization, the Cincinnati Enquirer has one on the candidates’ efforts in Ohio:
Four years ago, a swing of about 10 votes a precinct in Ohio would have wiped out President Bush’s 118,601-vote margin. And that would have meant we would all be talking and writing about President Kerry’s re-election campaign right now.
That’s how much an effective ground organization matters in a presidential campaign.
McCain, who locked up the GOP nomination, is playing catch-up to Obama, who started setting up his organization for the Ohio primary.Ã‚Â And while Gov. Ted Strickland has been Shermanesque in taking himself out of Obama’s Veepstakes, he has loanedÃ‚Â Obama’s campaign Aaron Pickrell, the campaign manager who engineered Strickland’sÃ‚Â 2006 winÃ‚Â over Ken Blackwell.Ã‚Â See?Ã‚Â News.