President Obama appears to be the best there ever was when it comes to raising cash. But that’s because he works so hard at it. As James Oliphant of Government Executive reports:
After two separate recent events in Houston, President Obama has attended 373 fundraisers during his five-plus years in office. That's just about one every five days or so. Assuming he speaks for close to 15 minutes at each event, that's well more than 5,000 presidential minutes consumed by the dirty business of asking people for money. And that doesn't include the prep, the glad-handing and hobnobbing, the photos, the private asides, the travel.
This puts him ahead of the pack, given that:
At this point in his presidency, George W. Bush, a true grip-and-grin guy if there's ever been one, had attended just 200 such events … [Obama] is, in fact, way ahead of the second-term fundraising efforts of not only Bush but also of Bill Clinton, another man who could work a room.
There would be a point, one thinks, at which all this demagoguing for dough becomes unseemly and we can surely expect the mainstream media to alert us when, and if, President Obama approaches it. Meanwhile, there is this to think about.
The president came into office pledged to heal the nation’s suppurating political wounds. To pacify its angry heart and so on and so forth.
But you don’t do that when you are out raising political money. That is an exercise that calls for throwing lots of red meat to the hungry partisans and getting them to believe that unless they write those checks, the barbarians will be soon inside the gates.
President Obama has raised a lot of money but in doing so he has also raised, considerably, the nation’s political fevers.