Monday, May 7, 2012

Warren Buffet Outdraws Barack Obama, What Was That Rule Again?

This past weekend Warren Buffett filled an 18,320 seat arena in Omaha, Nebraska to the rafters. With over 35,000 tickets handed out to his annual meeting, many watched on large screens in overflow crowd areas.

By contrast, Barack Obama held his campaign kickoff in a similar 18,300 seat arena in Columbus, Ohio. Attendance was only 14,000 with his campaign unable to find anyone willing to occupy 4,000 empty seats.

Columbus has a metro area population of 1.8 million people, so the Obama campaign would have needed just 1% to fill the arena. Columbus proper is home to 57,000 college students at Ohio State University and 220,000 African-Americans, a mere 6.5% of these two key constituencies for Democrats would have filled the arena. The Ohio jobless rate is 7.5%, so the unemployed would also have easily overfilled the arena 7 time over just from the Columbus metro area if they had enough hope left to come.

The problem, I think, is the Iron Law of Stardom, which says no one can be a star for longer than three years. Barack Obama built his 2008 campaign on star power. The 3 years 2008 - 2010 will prove to be his glory years in terms of star power. Yes, he will always be famous, and he may even win reelection, but facts are facts and the Tea Party victory in 2010 succeeded in putting an unhappy ending on his 3 years of stardom. No one gets excited about a team running a prevent defense.

And what about the famous Buffett Rule, that CEOs should pay the same tax rate as their secretaries, which Barack Obama has made a centerpiece in his reelection campaign? Warren Buffett said the Buffett Rule has been "butchered a bit" (by whom you may feel free to speculate). Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger says he supports the Buffett Rule but added, "We need more sacrifice and we need more sensible ways of spending money."

No comments: