Genuine front-runners don’t have to crisscross the country with a tin cup days before a crucial primary, but the Arizona maverick has no grassroots fund-raising effort like Obama’s Romney’s or Huckabee’s, and no personal wealth to match Romney’s. It is a foreshadowing of what the GOP will be up against from now until September if McCain is nominated –a poorly funded, aging, Beltway establishment figure with deep and abiding opposition among conservatives and no real ability to bring in the cash to compete with either Hillary or Obama should he draw the inside straight and gain the nomination.
Even fans of McCain have to admit his candidacy is built on the prayer of converting conservatives and then a second prayer of getting them to open their wallets. Because of the deep disagreements of the past, they won’t be converting, and even if they resign themselves to his nomination should it happen, they won’t be contributing.
Giuliani, Huckabee and Romney all can make a straight-faced argument that they can tap their opponents’ donor bases between now and the Convention. But not McCain. His is a crippled candidacy desperately hoping to lock up the nomination on the strength of MSM-generated momentum against a strong and growing conservative headwind before the GOP wakes up fully to just how damaged a nominee he would be: Bob Dole without the charisma or the money the former Majority Leader had in 1996 on his way to the decisive defeat at the hands of a Clinton.
UPDATE: See Amy Goldstein’s “Why They Hate Mitt Romney” in today’s American Thinker. The money –both poersonal and in the fund-raising machine– is part of the answer.
But Republicans who know what is ahead when the Clinton-Soros machine turns from taking Obama apart digit by digit goes after their nominee, and they know the ability to raise money as well as donate from personal wealth is crucial to matching the onslaught ahead.