Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed “Star Wars” by a snickering press, was part of a larger strategy to force the Soviets into competing against U.S. resources. When Russia tried to match Reagan’s ambitions, it spread its meager, centrally-planned resources thin, knocked itself out of the arms race, and the Cold War came to an end.
The reason we bring this up is because both Republican and Democrat operatives are comparing what Reagen did to the Soviets in the 1980s to what Mitt Romney is currently doing to Team Obama, that is, forcing them to keep pace with his vast resources.
“[T]he Romney campaign’s massive ad buys are aimed as much at broadening the playing field as at persuasion, forcing Obama and his allies to spread their resources thin and to play defense in formerly safe states,” McKay Coppins and Zeke Miller write for BuzzFeed.
Trying to keep up with the Romney ad-blitz would certainly explain why the Obama campaign is spending more money than it’s raising.
“It’s just like the Cold War. They’re going to force Obama to spend himself into oblivion — while trying to peel off constituencies like the Eastern Bloc,” a Democratic strategist referring to Hispanic voters and middle-class Americans told Buzzfeed. “The only question is which [constituency] will be the first domino.”
Of course, it should be noted that Team Obama has also spent its “fair share” saturating swing states with millions of dollars worth of campaign ads. Still, the Romney haul is impressive and it continues to grow.
“There’s no way they’ll be able to keep up. Our SuperPACs are our Star Wars, if you will,” a Republican operative with ties to the Romney campaign to BuzzFeed.
As reported earlier on The Blaze:
…new disclosures posted late Wednesday night by a Republican “super” political committee formed by veteran strategist Karl Rove (also known “The Man Nancy Pelosi Could Have Arrested, Like, Anytime She Wanted”) show the super PAC he formed to help GOP causes group reaped $4.6 million in May. That will aid Romney, as will a separate $8 million boost announced earlier in the day from another super PAC, Restore Our Future.
The calculus raises the specter that President Obama…may be the first incumbent president to be out-raised by his opponent.
“Financial disclosure reports released this week indicate that Romney’s Cold War strategy may be working,” Coppins and Miller write.
“Obama spent $34 million on ads last month, a staggering sum so early in the election that did nothing but keep the incumbent from sinking further in the polls amid a painfully slow economic recovery,” they add.
And even after spending that much cash in May (and posting a $5.4 million deficit), Team Obama just announced a new ad campaign targeting Nevada and Pennsylvania — two states that were originally being called for the president. Perhaps somebody’s getting nervous?
“There is a sense that this impenetrable wall, this hermetically sealed culture in the East, is opening up,” said Republican consultant Rick Wilson. “There are a lot of cracks in Obama’s operation, but also his narrative — and the economy is just eating away at them. It looks like this ‘blue wall’ is about ready to collapse.”
And here’s something else to think about: not only does the Romney campaign out-raise Team Obama and spend at a rate that is either proportionate or lower than what it raises, but it is also less than one-third the size of the president’s Chicago Machine.
“He can run deficits all he wants as president, but there is no Federal Reserve to print more money for campaigns,” Wilson added. “Republicans are just spending at a rate they can’t keep pace with, and that’s going to hurt him in November.”
But more than financing ad-blitzes, Romney’s war chest allows him to campaign aggressively in states which, up until a few months ago, were supposed to be shoe-ins for President Obama.
BuzzFeed explains what we mean when we say “campaign aggressively”:
In a deliberate step in the Cold War battle plan, the campaign just completed a bus tour through six states that all went blue in 2008. A hyper-choreographed affair — complete with its own slogan, “Every Town Counts,” and a newly-decaled bus — the trip was meant as series of warning shots for Team Obama.
At many of the stops, Romney made a point of declaring his intention to win the state he was in — prompting local newspapers to splash near-identical headlines across their front pages. And the places where Romney oozed the most bravado — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — are all states that Obama has been heavily favored to win.
But does Romney have a shot with these state?
“We took Mitt Romney’s pro-jobs message into six states that were all won by Obama in 2008,” senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, referring to the bus tour. “What you saw was a campaign on offense that was forcing its opponents to defend territory that they thought was safely in their column.”
Final thought: If Romney’s Cold War strategy works and he wins the White House, we guarantee you certain members of Team Obama will accuse him of “buying the presidency.”
Just remember this: During the 2008 election, Barack Obama hauled in a record-smashing $750 million from fundraisers, outspent Sen. John McCain by a ratio of 3-to-1, and none of the president’s supporters complained.
Buy who knows? Maybe their opinion on the matter has “evolved.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated.