May 17, 2004

Fools and Their Money

All over the left-leaning blogosphere-- Eschaton, Talking Points Memo, DailyKos, Wonkette-- ads are running for Jim Newberry, candidate for Missouri's 7th congressional district, promising to "Boot Blunt." The goal is 100 $5 donations, and according to the Eschaton ad (the numbers vary from blog to blog), Newberry is a quarter of the way there as of this writing.

Some pertinent stats on Missouri's 7th, from the Almanac of American Politics: Bush won in 2000 with 62% of the vote. Roy Blunt won with 74% in 2000 and 75% in 2002.

Internet fundraising creates increased efficiency for candidates seeking donors, but this-- not the first example of a guaranteed loser using blog ads to reel in small donors who don't know the district-- suggests that it may, for non-discriminating donors, actually reduce the net efficiency of their political donations.

Posted by John Tabin at May 17, 2004 11:37 PM

You may have picked a bad example of liberal blog fundraising. Kos for one has a comprehensive plan for funding close races. Several pages in his site are devoted to House and Senate outlook, and readers can vote on the races they would like the site to fund.

Also, don't forget that part of the point of funding a race that might not be close is to try to make it closer, thereby nessecitating the diversion of resources there and away from other races.

Anyway, your characterization of liberal donors naiively throwing their money away at unwinnable races is unfair and inaccurate.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 18, 2004 10:57 AM

your characterization of liberal donors naiively throwing their money away at unwinnable races is unfair and inaccurate.

Is it? Two words: Howard Dean.

Posted by: John Tabin at May 18, 2004 04:51 PM

I've noticed the same thing, namely the ads for underdogs-at-best Morris Meyer (TX) and Jeff Seeman (OH). Both are running against entrenched incumbents, both have shaky commands of strategy and grammar (Meyer can't decide whether to call his opponent "Smokey Joe" or "Smoky Joe"). Both are rolling in small donations from Kos et al.

I would add that Kos's chief expert on House races is a 15-year old.

Posted by: Dave Weigel at May 18, 2004 10:33 PM

I would agree with you had Dean actually won the nomination. As it stands, Kerry has broken numerous records for fundraising.

I would add that it's possible to pick a few fools out of any demographic, and once again refer you to the vast majority of viable democratic candidates supported by the sites you mention.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 19, 2004 10:23 AM

Blunt hasn't had a serious opponent in a long time, and he has never won a competitive race in his career.

Posted by: Stirling Newberry at May 19, 2004 12:05 PM