With two weeks to go, both sides’ campaigns have now reached fever-pitch. The conventional wisdom is that the GOP will have a happy election day, just how happy however remains to be determined. The Democrats meanwhile are starting to feel the pinch. The DCCC and other party fundraising organizations are quickly running low on funds as more and more seats are being targeted by Republican challengers, some of whom are longtime members of the House like Barney Frank, Raul Grijalva, and John Dingell (all of whom are locked in close races according to the recent polling figures). On the other side, the Republicans have been having spectacular fundrasing numbers, which in turn has enabled them to invest in races not worthy to shake a stick at just two years. However, the Democrats (shocking I know!) have tried to call into question where the GOP is somehow getting all of this money.
The new Democrat attack is that the money is being backed by foreign companies and crooked CEO’s, using the US Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC as “fronts”. Liberal media outlets were quick to pounce on this, using methods from trying to pass the DISCLOSE act, meant to bring the donors to light, and airing ads saying these reputable organizations are somehow a “threat to our democracy”. It makes sense why the Democrats are attacking these groups; because their very presense, and the fact that the GOP has managed to become an electoral force after just 23 months, shattered the happy bubble Democrats were in since Obama took office. This is nothing less then a desperate attempt to win voters by trying to play the association card on GOP candidates, a tactic that never works (John McCain knows that firsthand…remember the Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright commericals?)
Let’s start with the attack on the Chamber of Commerce, a longtime organization that is the main engine for businesses big and small throughout the country to be politically involved. To accuse this organization of using foreign money to back campaigns is a very serious charge, since it’s illegal to do so. I can tell, though, that the Democrats have no evidence to support these claims, because if they did, they’d be using their ad money on a lawsuit, not on TV ads. In fact, there is no evidence of foreign intervention in any PAC, left or right. So what are we left with? We’re left with basically a baseless smear campaign that’s not even directed at any candidate, but rather at an interest group that is no stranger to political activism that supports GOP candidates. That’s not winning anybody over, in fact, it’s probably costing the Democrats support due to this ads inefficency.
The other group that’s been targeted has been American Crossroads, the conservative PAC headed by Karl Rove. The Democrats are accusing him of using “shadowy” corporate heads to fund GOP campaigns and also, well, he’s Karl Rove. Democrats call Karl Rove the “architect of the Bush Administration” (which is actually true, he headed the successful 2000 and 2004 campaigns), and the fact that he’s still around irks them to no end. Not only is he still around, he’s poised to be the architect of one of the biggest partisan turnarounds our nation has ever seen. Obama even called Karl Rove out at a campaign stop (by name no less!). As a result, American Crossroads recieved huge donations in the ensuing days (thanks Mr. President!). For two years, the Dems have been trying to de-Bushify the country through any means necessary, just short of subpoenas of Bush administration officials for partisan reasons. And the fact that Karl Rove is louder and has nearly as much influence as he did while he was Bush’s campaign head, and has raised huge sums of money for his PAC, has Democrats falling all over themselves trying to come up with some lame smear to “prove” where he gets his money from.
By far the coldest shiver up Obama’s spine however is that he doesn’t know where the money comes from. The Senate tried and failed to pass the DISCLOSE act to try to make contributors widely known, but it was rejected because there were exceptions for multi-state organizations like unions and Organizing for America (ironic how these are major Democrat donors, huh?). Essentially it was a bill written to get Republicans to open up their books while the Democrats could keep theirs closed (after all, there’s nothing shady about union money right?) As the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC, limits to how much money independent PACs can invest is a violation of the right to free speech. Therefore, the established precedent is that money is speech. What is also a right (though not mentioned in the ruling), is the right to remain annonymus. Everyone who has the right to speak has the right to control how much of themselves they want to reveal. Yes, campaigners ask you for your name to make a donation, but they don’t ask you about who you work for, what your political leanings are, and how much cash you make. It isn’t total privacy, but one can limit how much he/she needs to give out. Big money donors are no exception: as long as they’re Americans, and it isn’t illegally gotten money, then no-one particularally cares who they are. Current campaign laws, however, require PAC’s to put on the bottom of their ads who they are. You notice it toward the end it will say “Citizens for so-and-so are responsible for the content of this advertisement”. Dems, if you are that interested in who is spending all this money, go to your computers, Google the group’s name, and do a little research. If you find anything funny, bring it up to the proper authorities who will look at it. Putting it in an ad before you have any proof makes you look incredibly childish, but it’s the Democratic Party, when the going gets tough, they cry and whine about it and spit venom at voters like they’re idiots for voting Republican.
The money fights will continue all the way to election day, largely because the Democrats have run out of other things to attack. Party of No? Considering the policies the Dems have, that’s a badge of honor. Back to Bush? Most of the party leaders were not part of the Republican congressional leadership under Bush. Extreme? Compared to a $3 trillion in spending in two short years, whatever the candidates are saying is kids’ play by comparison. It’s just a sign that the Dems are getting deseperate, and seeing the widening field they have to defend, I can understand why.