Just a Reminder: The President’s Job Is NOT Political Fundraising

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 29, 2012

Although you wouldn’t know it from watching Barack Obama operate:

Barack Obama has already held more re-election fundraising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined, according to figures to be published in a new book.

Obama is also the only president in the past 35 years to visit every electoral battleground state in his first year of office.

The figures, contained a in a new book called The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, due to be published by University Press of Kansas in July, give statistical backing to the notion that Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than any other commander-in-chief of modern times.

Doherty, who has compiled statistics about presidential travel and fundraising going back to President Jimmy Carter in 1977, found that Obama had held 104 fundraisers by March 6th this year, compared to 94 held by Presidents Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.

Since then, Obama has held another 20 fundraisers, bringing his total to 124. Carter held four re-election fundraisers in the 1980 campaign, Reagan zero in 1984, Bush Snr 19 in 1992, Clinton 14 in 1996 and Bush Jnr 57 in 2004.

Doherty, a political science professor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has also analysed presidential travel to battleground or swing states, which change and fluctuate in number with each election cycle. 

In their first years in office, Carter visited eight out of 18 battleground states and Reagan seven out of 17. Bush Snr, Clinton and Bush Jnr all visited around three-quarters of battleground states while Obama went to all 15 within his first 12 months.

Of course, it is fair to note that campaigns have gotten a lot more expensive, and that the rise of the permanent campaign is a relatively recent phenomenon. But even given that, the degree to which the president has involved himself in campaigning and fundraising is remarkable.

And as with many other stories, it is worth pointing out that if a Republican were currently presiding over an anemic recovery with an 8.2% unemployment rate, s/he would be raked for the coals by the media for spending a whole lot less time working to alleviate the nation’s economic problems, and focusing on re-election instead. Maybe Mitt Romney should take note of how Barack Obama is spending his time, and try to make sauce for the goose a delectable diet for the gander.

Previous post:

Next post: