The Democrats' money trap

By

John McCain was not a very popular guy with his Republican colleagues in the Congress when he pushed his campaign finance reform in the Presidential election campaign of 2000.  When the McCain Feingold bill was finally approved, all but two Democratic Senators supported it, but only a dozen Republicans.  

McCain's bill has proven to be the ultimate Trojan horse. With higher hard money limits of $2,000 per race, and higher annual limits for total federal contributions per individual, the GOP has done much better raising money for its congressional candidates, and for President Bush, than have the Democrats with their candidates. The Democrats for years had pledged allegiance to campaign finance reform, so as to get the big special interest money out of politics (in their view, bad corporate money). Now, the national parties cannot receive the big soft money gifts, which had become the major funding source for the Democrats, and to a lesser extent for the GOP.

Critics of McCain Feingold said the act would not accomplish its sponsors' goals — that big money would still find a way into the campaigns. Big money has found its new route in — this year in new Section 527 groups.

The only trouble for the Democrats, is that this new soft money avalanche has proven very embarrassing to the party. First there was George Soros giving over $10 million to several 527 groups, and announcing his intention to give much more. Soros is the kind of megalomaniac who is so self—confident and self—righteous about his world views, that he seems to assume that his largesse is going over well with the public. Billionaire currency speculators with foreign accents generally have limited appeal to middle Americans. 

Then there are independent leftist advocacy groups, such as moveon.org. This organization will be running ads before Bush's State of the Union address, and they are trying (so far unsuccessfully) to put on an ad during the Super Bowl (where 30 second spots  go for $2.4  million by the way).  Do you know many football fans who will want to see an anti—Bush ad between quarters?

Soros is one of the big contributors to moveon.org.  Moveon.org is the group that sponsored an ad contest that had a few Bush—morphing—into—Hitler spots among those which put on its website, to be voted on by its members.  This week they celebrated their winning ad with a party at which the f—word was liberally sprinkled around, referring to the President. The media coverage of this event probably did not move any swing voters to the anti—Bush side.
 
So the GOP looks like they are playing by the spirit of the new rules more than the Democrats do. The GOP has 527 groups of its own, ready to go, but they are not making any headlines, or being very out—front with them.  It helps when the Bush campaign raises $130 million in 7 months, and the Congressional candidates are well—financed though hard money. The Democrats have a hard money disadvantage that is greater than in previous cycles,  and are now without soft money to give to the parties. So, they are pouring big money from wealthy supporters into hard left groups that seem to be spitting on the very campaign finance reform which they backed.

These 527 groups, like the Dean, and Clark campaigns, are presenting a shrill, angry, ugly edge to the public. The left and the Democrats are the 527 exception on display, and it is not likely this will play well in Peoria.

Posted by Richard 01 16 04

John McCain was not a very popular guy with his Republican colleagues in the Congress when he pushed his campaign finance reform in the Presidential election campaign of 2000.  When the McCain Feingold bill was finally approved, all but two Democratic Senators supported it, but only a dozen Republicans.  

McCain's bill has proven to be the ultimate Trojan horse. With higher hard money limits of $2,000 per race, and higher annual limits for total federal contributions per individual, the GOP has done much better raising money for its congressional candidates, and for President Bush, than have the Democrats with their candidates. The Democrats for years had pledged allegiance to campaign finance reform, so as to get the big special interest money out of politics (in their view, bad corporate money). Now, the national parties cannot receive the big soft money gifts, which had become the major funding source for the Democrats, and to a lesser extent for the GOP.

Critics of McCain Feingold said the act would not accomplish its sponsors' goals — that big money would still find a way into the campaigns. Big money has found its new route in — this year in new Section 527 groups.

The only trouble for the Democrats, is that this new soft money avalanche has proven very embarrassing to the party. First there was George Soros giving over $10 million to several 527 groups, and announcing his intention to give much more. Soros is the kind of megalomaniac who is so self—confident and self—righteous about his world views, that he seems to assume that his largesse is going over well with the public. Billionaire currency speculators with foreign accents generally have limited appeal to middle Americans. 

Then there are independent leftist advocacy groups, such as moveon.org. This organization will be running ads before Bush's State of the Union address, and they are trying (so far unsuccessfully) to put on an ad during the Super Bowl (where 30 second spots  go for $2.4  million by the way).  Do you know many football fans who will want to see an anti—Bush ad between quarters?

Soros is one of the big contributors to moveon.org.  Moveon.org is the group that sponsored an ad contest that had a few Bush—morphing—into—Hitler spots among those which put on its website, to be voted on by its members.  This week they celebrated their winning ad with a party at which the f—word was liberally sprinkled around, referring to the President. The media coverage of this event probably did not move any swing voters to the anti—Bush side.
 
So the GOP looks like they are playing by the spirit of the new rules more than the Democrats do. The GOP has 527 groups of its own, ready to go, but they are not making any headlines, or being very out—front with them.  It helps when the Bush campaign raises $130 million in 7 months, and the Congressional candidates are well—financed though hard money. The Democrats have a hard money disadvantage that is greater than in previous cycles,  and are now without soft money to give to the parties. So, they are pouring big money from wealthy supporters into hard left groups that seem to be spitting on the very campaign finance reform which they backed.

These 527 groups, like the Dean, and Clark campaigns, are presenting a shrill, angry, ugly edge to the public. The left and the Democrats are the 527 exception on display, and it is not likely this will play well in Peoria.

Posted by Richard 01 16 04