This just showed up in my inbox, as I had signed up to get e-mails from Buddy Roemer’s presidential campaign…
On behalf of former Governor Buddy Roemer, I would like to express our appreciation for your interest in supporting the Roemer 2012 Presidential Campaign. Your generous donation of time and effort as a volunteer for the Governor’s Presidential Campaign is essential to spread Buddy’s Free to Lead message.
At this time I have an urgent task for you. There is a presidential forum scheduled for May 5th in South Carolina to be aired on Fox News. To be on the ballot in South Carolina and included in the forum, it requires a fee of $25,000. We need your immediate help to raise $25,000.
The document linked here is meant to help you in this project. It is a letter written by a very dear friend of Buddy’s. We have been sending this letter to all of our own personal contacts; we would like you to do the same. Use the linked document to introduce Buddy and your role in his campaign to your family, friends, and acquaintances. Encourage them to also forward it on and on… Remember that it only takes 250 of YOUR Gmail, Facebook, Twitter contacts that to get us the $25,000 for the May 5th debate.
Thanks again for your support and I look forward to working with you.
Senior Volunteer Coordinator
Roemer 2012 Exploratory Committee
The linked document in the e-mail isn’t particularly interesting, as it basically rehashes what the e-mail says – Roemer needs 25K to make it to that forum in South Carolina, and he wants $100 from you and all your Facebook friends.
Of course, fundraising is nothing new in presidential politics. Anybody who’s followed elections is aware of that.
But what jumps out here is the ask. A $25,000 fee for that forum in South Carolina is an incredibly small number to be fundraising for if you’re a presidential candidate. One would have to say that if your campaign can’t stand the $25,000 to make the trip over there, it’s difficult to take you seriously. The idea that “we need 250 people to step forward and give us $100 each or we won’t make it to South Carolina” just screams not-ready-for-prime-time.
And that’s why this limit of $100 per donation was such a dumb idea. It’s a gimmick intended to indicate to the public that Buddy Roemer will be more about leadership as a president and he won’t be beholden to fatcat political donors.
But the actual effect of $100 donations is the opposite. What it means is the Roemer campaign will be constantly begging folks on its e-mail and direct mail lists for money. For everything. This time it’s the forum in South Carolina. Next time it’s Iowa. Then it’ll be New Hampshire. Or Florida. Or hiring a few campaign staffers. Or leasing a tour bus. Or putting gas in the bus. Or printing bumper stickers or yard signs. Or producing a web ad. Or getting that ad on TV. And on and on.
At $100 per donor, maximum, Roemer will have to put on a money bomblet – a money grenade? – for virtually every campaign activity he wants to conduct. He will have to work 24 times as hard as other candidates who take the $2,400 legal maximum for the GOP nomination cycle to remain financially competitive. And since those candidates will start with more money they can generate more exposure to the donors Roemer will need to stay afloat than Roemer will get.
And that means Roemer will be doing virtually nothing but fundraising for the duration of his presidential run. Certainly he won’t be alone in that regard, but he’ll be producing less return on that activity than all the other candidates in the race.
The GOP needs serious candidates for the 2012 cycle. At present it has too many unserious ones. And Roemer’s $100 gimmick is already showing he’s one of the latter.