Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"the republicans are stealing the election"

With the Democrats unsuccessful in making a case on the merits, a new trope has arisen: the Republicans aren't playing fair. Specifically, the allegation is that tax-exempt 501(c)(4) and similar organizations, not to mention the US Chamber of Commerce, are helping the GOP with large amounts of funds from unidentified, presumably wealthy sources. There is alleged to be something not quite kosher about this, either in terms of the money itself or else the sneaky (some say illegal) way it is being raised and distributed.

There's no question the Republicans are much better funded this year than two years ago. But is there really anything wrong with that? A couple of points:

1. Obama had a huge financial advantage in 2008 as the first candidate to abjure federal financing of his campaign (he earlier promised to use it). In many swing states the advantage was on the order of 4:1 or 5:1. Numerous people came out of the voting booth repeating the precise words of Obama campaign commercials.

2. Even in this election, most Republican challengers have less funding than the competing Democratic incumbents. The additional funds, at best, serve to reduce this disadvantage. The Republicans with big financial advantages, like Meg Whitman, are mostly self-financing.

3. Even if there was something wrong with the money, which there most likely isn't, it's unlikely that voters would care. People are concerned about their own jobs and futures, not political inside baseball. The whole thing has the air of people making excuses for losing rather than getting out on the field and competing.

I continue to believe the Democrats--and Obama specifically--should step up and defend their policies rather than launching personal attacks (witch, whore, whatever) and complaining about financing issues. Right now they are behind something like 3 percent on the issues and another 3 to 5 percent, depending upon the polls, because their own voters don't plan to show up. If they stand their ground, they may still lose, but they're more likely to have something left to build on for the future.


At 11:19 PM, Blogger Woody said...

One Democrat has a problem raising money:

Ouch: Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., has just one donor from his district

"Jane Robbins of Pine City gave Oberstar $500 on Aug. 22.

"Other than that, all of his contributions came from political action committees, Native American tribes or individual donors in other districts and states."


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