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The NYT Matt Bai tries to confuse the secret money issue

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-20-10 11:08 AM
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The NYT Matt Bai tries to confuse the secret money issue

Campaign Money Tends to Flow to the Opposition



Recent history would suggest, though, that what Democrats lack at the moment isnt necessarily some new kind of campaign infrastructure, but rather a sense of passion and powerlessness among their contributors. Thats because, like so much else in modern politics, outside money seems mostly oppositional in nature another means of dislodging whichever party happens to have control.

The influx of money from outside conservative groups in races across the country, which may total more than $200 million when all is said and done, has emerged as a major preoccupation among Democrats, and President Obama has made it a central campaign theme. Some Democrats attribute the onslaught to the recent Supreme Court decision that loosened the restrictions on such groups, enabling them to campaign directly for candidates. Others curse the evil genius of Karl Rove, the Republican mastermind who helped raise and steer the mountain of conservative cash.

Still other Washington Democrats blame their own president, who quietly discouraged liberal donors from contributing to such outside groups in 2008 partly because he saw himself as a reformer of the campaign system, but also because he had a reasonable fear of what such groups might say in their ads. (This was back in the days, you may recall, after accused Gen. David H. Petraeus of betraying his country.) Mr. Obamas critics within the party contend that the stance he took then is now having a chilling effect on the partys contributors, who might otherwise have anted up enough money to blunt some of the conservative attacks in the current campaign.

In truth, though, the flow of political money, at least judging from the last decade, tends mostly to be a function of ideological fury and alienation. In 2004, responding to a new federal law that prohibited parties from taking unlimited contributions, a group of liberal contributors led by the billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis threw $200 million into independent groups meant to defeat President George W. Bush, whom they saw as a fundamental threat to American democracy. They contributed again, in a more limited but still significant way, in 2006, when Democrats took over the House and Senate.


Conservatives, meanwhile, looked to the Democratic example and decided, now that they were out of power, that they needed their own billionaires resistance. And so the Soroses and Lewises were replaced, for the moment, by men like the Koch brothers, David and Charles, who have emerged as the chief financiers of the anti-Obama uprising.


Gorge Soros, again? To address this RW meme, again, MoveOn dislcoses its donors. Also, this isn't about Koch v. Soros. Where is Matt Bai getting his numbers? (Opensecrets)

Media Matters explains why these comparisons are bogus.

Here is the issue.

A Tea Party of populist posers

On the morning of Oct. 14, a cyber-insurgency caused servers to crash at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The culprits, however, weren't attacking the chamber; they were well-meaning citizens who overwhelmed the big-business lobbying group with a sudden wave of online contributions. It was one of the more extraordinary events in the annals of American populism: the common man voluntarily giving money to make the rich richer.

These donors to the cause of the Fortune 500 were motivated by a radio appeal from the de facto leader of the Tea Party movement, Glenn Beck, who told them: "Put your money where your mouth is. If you have a dollar, please go to . . . the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and donate today." Chamber members, he said, "are our parents. They're our grandparents. They are us."


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