Life is a Mystery

15 May 2008

Bowling for dollars, and much much more

Joshua Green writes an insightful article about “The Amazing Money Machine” that Obama has built. Two pillars: first, Obama recognized that a source of big money Clinton left on the table was Silicon Valley new tech money and he made sure to pick it up.

I asked Roos, the personification of a buttoned-down corporate attorney, if there had been concerns about Obama’s limited CV, and for a moment he looked as if he might burst out laughing. “No one in Silicon Valley sits here and thinks, ‘You need massive inside-the-Beltway experience,’” he explained, after a diplomatic pause. “Sergey and Larry were in their early 20s when they started Google. The YouTube guys were also in their 20s. So were the guys who started Facebook. And I’ll tell you, we recognize what great companies have been built on, and that’s ideas, talent, and inspirational leadership.”

Second, Obama harnessed the technology social networking in a whole new way and made the big money pale by comparison to the new money.

“What’s amazing,” says Peter Leyden of the New Politics Institute, “is that Hillary built the best campaign that has ever been done in Democratic politics on the old model—she raised more money than anyone before her, she locked down all the party stalwarts, she assembled an all-star team of consultants, and she really mastered this top-down, command-and-control type of outfit. And yet, she’s getting beaten by this political start-up that is essentially a totally different model of the new politics.”

Together, these pillars helped Obama create a campaign organization that continues to thrive even as the primary calms down and the general is months away.

“They’ve gone from zero to 700 employees in a year and raised $200 million,” Steve Spinner says of the campaign. “That’s a super-high-growth, fast-charging operation.”

One of the reasons I am such a believer in Obama? I think he can remake Washington as he’s remade fundraising. If this social network he is building can attract cash to a campaign, just imagine how effectively it can attract talent to an administration. You don’t imagine they will just throw that network away if elected, do you?

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org