Yesterday, in response to a question on Fox News Channel, I had an opportunity to speak about the importance of Barack Obama's astonishing and growing money lead over Hillary Clinton heading into Pennsylvania and the remaining primaries. Somewhat obviously, I noted that Obama's $40+ million advantage in cash-on-hand and seemingly endless stream of campaign contributions will provide him the resources necessary -- huge media buys, a robust field operation, and a relentless effort to identify likely voters -- to press his current delegate and polling advantage over Clinton.
But perhaps the most important aspect of Obama's enormous cash advantage is in its inherent repudiation of Senator Clinton's "electability" argument before the superdelegates. That is to say that they should ignore measuring sticks like majorities in delegates or popular vote because she is the Democrats' most formidable candidate for the fall clash with John McCain.
Unfortunately for Clinton, however, never before in the history of our country have we seen anything comparable to the fundraising prowess of the Obama operation -- all the while Clinton's impressive, but outclassed, cash haul leaves her in debt and perhaps soon dependent upon her own personal fortune.
Amazingly, most of Obama's incredible fundraising accomplishment is magically undertaken without requiring any of the candidate's precious time. Instead, the adulation and devotion of well over a million "average" voters is fueling an online fundraising machine that leaves the GOP's legendary Pioneers and Rangers (now reconstituted as McCain's clumsily named Trailblazers and Innovators) literally astounded and weaponless. In March, with Obama/Clinton as his only opponent, McCain's money squad shot a dud -- raising a paltry $15 million. In the same month, Obama topped $40 million in small donations from everyday Democrats... and that was running against a fellow Democrat with whom he shares 90% of the same policy positions.
Just imagine how much Obama will raise when he is running against the Republicans.
Hillary Clinton is not left with many straight-faced arguments to make for her continuing viability at this late stage in the campaign. As a practical matter, she is simply running out of legitimate criteria by which she can be judged Obama's superior. But despite this dearth of arguments, she should beware of resting her case to the superdelegates on the notion of "electability." Last time I checked, fundraising superiority was an important ingredient in winning elections. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, Obama's singular fundraising prowess is just one more yardstick by which her candidacy comes up short.