Patrick Ruffini has an interesting post up arguing that Obama may struggle to outraise McCain and the RNC, to say nothing of swamping them financially, calling into question his decision to reject public financing. He says Obama's perceived advantages over McCain, plus the absence of some compelling campaign narrative (like Obama v. Hillary in the primaries, or ousting Bush in 2004), are dampening enthusiasm among the party's small donors. (If anything, it's GOP donors who are motivated by concerns that McCain will get massively outspent.)

Except for Ruffini's suspicion that Obama only raised $30 million in June, which may be true but I'll believe it when I see it, I don't disagree with anything he writes. On the other hand, if Ruffini's argument becomes conventional wisdom, triggering a round of stories about Obama's difficulty keeping pace with the GOP, then I think the lack of motivation will be self-correcting. Democratic activists will suddenly start worrying that they could lose this election, or at least that they could get lapped in fundraising, and will be much more eager to pony up.

The real danger is that Obama's numbers stay fine but not great, which would deprive him of the massive spending advantage he was banking on but wouldn't eliminate the sense of complacency that's crimping fundraising.

(Via Ben Smith.)

--Noam Scheiber