Barack Raises Millions … Now What Does it Mean for the Future?

It's pretty damn exciting that Barack Obama has gotten more than 250,000 people to contribute to his campaign. As I've written before, his efforts to raise small dollar donations is looked upon by those in the Beltway as some sort of scandal, when in fact it's totally admirable in an election system that unfortunately is not publicly financed.

The news, covered by Beltway reporters with typically vapid platitudes and caricatures, made me think about a few important questions that few are asking.

The first set of questions are horse-race-ish: Does being an Obama donor mean you are an Obama voter or volunteer? I think that's a harder question to answer than it seems in light of the fact that we know his campaign (admirably) asks lots of people for fairly small amounts of money. Someone may be willing to pay $5 or $10 just to go see Obama speak, but that doesn't necessarily mean they support him. Hell, I might consider paying $5 or $10 to go see one of the Republicans speak just to hear them and evaluate their skills - but that sure as hell doesn't mean I'd vote for them or work to get them elected. So how much of the 350,000 represents die hard support, and how much represents interest in a media spectacle?

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