You know how it is when you keep putting off important tasks, like mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, and resolving budget standoffs with Congress. If you don’t handle them when you’re supposed to do so, they end up getting resolved at the most inconvenient times:
President Barack Obama’s campaign expects to raise tens of millions of dollars less this summer than it did in the spring because negotiations over the nation’s debt limit forced Obama to cancel several fundraisers.
Obama’s campaign said Wednesday it canceled or postponed 10 fundraisers involving the president, Vice President Joe Biden andWhite House chief of staff Bill Daley in the past month because of the debt talks, scrubbing events in California, New York and elsewhere.
Only weeks after the president’s campaign reported collecting a combined $86 million with the Democratic National Committee, Obama’s team is trying to lower expectations about its fundraising juggernaut while signaling to its army of volunteers and activists that they need to fill the void. Obama is coming off a bruising battle with congressional Republicans over raising the government’s debt ceiling and is expected to face a formidable challenge from Republicans in 2012 against the backdrop of a weakened economy.
“We’re going to raise significantly less in the third quarter than we did in the second quarter,” said Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager. “We will not be able to replace all of these events just because of his busy schedule. We always knew that he had his job and we had to do this around his schedule, and the truth is we just have to deal with canceling a month’s worth of events.”
Well, if Congress had addressed the debt ceiling and deficit reduction during 2010, Obama wouldn’t have had to spend three whole weeks in Washington negotiating with John Boehner. Democrats failed to pass a budget for FY2011 while they had large majorities in both chambers of Congress. Harry Reid refused to raise the debt ceiling in December during the lame-duck session, specifically because Reid wanted Republicans to get their hands dirty on the debt ceiling.
Obama doesn’t have any excuses, either. Almost as soon as Reid bailed on raising the debt ceiling, Obama’s team began raising the specter of default. What did Obama do to avoid the problem? In February, Obama submitted a budget request that increased the rate of deficit spending. When that flopped, Obama promised to produce a plan to reduce the deficit, using a national address in April to underscore the point. And then …. nothing. No plan, no specifics, just nothing until July, when Republicans offered plan after plan and Obama refused to accept them until utterly forced to do so.
If the President had done his job in February or even April, then none of this would have been necessary. Instead, Obama chose to lead from behind. If that caused him to miss fundraisers, it’s no one’s fault but his own. And that might be a much bigger reason for lower fundraising numbers this summer, fall, and winter.