Money Advantage For Romney Not About “The Rich”

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

The Associated Press headline brings the slant de jour for the current meme in the Presidential race:  “Romney bests Obama donations with help of rich few”.  It seems that money, with which President Obama had a decided advantage during his 2008 campaign, has become an enemy given that his challenger has an advantage this time around.

The Romney campaign went to great lengths to point out their grassroots fundraising in Tuesday’s press release.  Of the $106.1 Million raised in June, 94% of all donations were $250 or less.  Over a half million donations were collected in June alone from individuals who gave at or under the $250 amount.

President Obama, by comparison, raised $71 Million for the month, including a late June fundraiser in Atlanta.

The bulk of the Associated Press’ report, however, is an extrapolation to ensure the “news” is about the remaining large donors, and their importance to the campaign.  It is apparently important, after all, that the public be reminded that Romney is the candidate of the rich.

The report details “100’s” of Romney campaign events in “tony locales like Park City, Utah; Aspen, Colo.; and the Hamptons.”  There is, of course, the gratuitous Koch Brothers reference.  In the spirit of balance, the article slides in that “Obama’s campaign holds glitzy events of its own” and throws in a George Clooney reference as if the President only has one well-heeled friend who was willing to throw a fundraiser for him.  Any sense of balance is destroyed by the next conclusive and dismissive statement saying “But Romney’s fundraising surge underscores how wealthy donors are creating a financial challenge for Obama…”

The fundraiser for Romney in New York’s exclusive Hamptons was the talking point being pushed by those on the left Monday as the “Romney sides with the rich” talking point du jour.  The only problem with that, as outlined by the Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney, is that Obama leads fundraising from the wealthy enclave by over 38%.

At the end of the day, the money battle and the framing of it is immaterial save for the fact that many who backed the President are not standing with him financially this term despite his non-stop fundraising trips featuring Hollywood A-listers and $35,000 dinners.  Those dinners that didn’t seem to fit the AP’s template for their story and were therefore conveniently omitted.

Furthermore, those who now are decrying the influence of wealthy individuals and Super PACs seem to have forgotten the man who started it all:  George Soros.

Soros was a key backer of groups such as and was instrumental in the Democrats taking control of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.  The same people who lauded Soros as a champion of democracy now want you to believe that the Koch Brothers are the living personification of evil.

Koch industries is the largest private company in the United States. It owns Atlanta based Georgia Pacific, along with various other companies largely in petroleum (the left would have you refer to it as “big oil”), chemicals, and various manufacturing interests.  They employ over 50,000 in the U.S. and about 20,000 overseas.  In short, they create American jobs.

Soros, on the other hand, is known as “the man who broke the Bank of England” by betting against the British Pound, making over $1 Billion in currency trades.

The left would have you believe that men who successfully run companies that employ Americans are evil, but the man who makes money shorting the currency of countries is the person that should be able to use his money to influence American economic policy.

The fact of the matter is that the money issue in politics is not how either side will currently present it.  Fundraising donations usually track to those who are expected to win.  Most corporate interests and high dollar donors want a seat at the table when the spoils of government are divided up.  That seat has a cost of admission, and that starts in the campaign.

The whining from the left isn’t about their opponents trying to “buy” an election.  It’s that the people that wanted to bet on the winner four years ago now want someone else. 

That’s change you can believe in.


  1. James says:

    “[M]any who backed the President are not standing with him financially this term despite his non-stop fundraising trips.” “[T]he people that wanted to bet on the winner four years ago now want someone else.”

    Charlie, what’s your support for these statements?

  2. James says:

    Oh no! Not the venerable Washington Times! That’s almost as bad as saying something is true because you heard it on Rush Limbaugh. “So savoring his big win on health care is most definitely a waste of time for President Obama, and he knows it.” Ah, non-biased, non-partisan journalism at its finest.

    As for the NY Times article, fair, you’ve supported Charlie’s first point. But not the second. Less contributions to Obama does not correlate to less support for Obama, especially among people who voted for him four years ago. Case in point — me. My family donated several hundred dollars to Obama in 2008. None since. Why? He doesn’t need my money — he’s going to defeat Romney pretty handily without it. And I’d be willing to bet that campaign contributions to an incumbent president are historically lower than the contributions made to the nominee four years earlier.

    So for Charlie’s desired thesis — that a lot of 2008 Obama supporters want off the train–still no support.

  3. I have a math riddle for everyone on here, including you Charlie. In my opinion, you were very harsh towards (for example) anti-Hope scholarship change college activists who didn’t always have their facts and figures at the ready.

    If 94% of Romney’s donations were under $250, and let’s say they averaged $100, and 6% of Romney’s donations were above $250 and let’s say those donations averaged $2,000, from which group – the 94% who gave $100 or the 6% who gave $2,000 – did Romney raise more money from?

    Answer – it’s not even close – if those numbers were to hold he would raise nearly 60% from the $2,000 donors. And what do these people who can give $2,000 want in return? Why, they want lower taxes, which benefit them to a much greater value than the $2,000 they give.

    And what does Romney also want to do? Why he wants to cut Medicare, he opposes an expansion of Medicaid to cover more of the uninsured etc. Someone’s getting their money’s worth and it is a valid story. And Charlie, I’m sad to see you criticise other activists who play fast and loose with the math (unintentionally) and then do the same yourself (intentionally).

    • Calypso says:

      If 94% of 550,000 donors gave an average of $150 that would total $82.5million. If the balance of $24million was given by the remaining 6%, or 33,000 donors, their average would be $727.

      What’s you point?

    • ZazaPachulia says:

      Yeah, Chris, not sure what got into Charlie. When you write regular columns you’re going to pop out a few stinkers here and there. Even the best have their off days. Maybe the Robespierre of Macon ghostwrote this one while Charlie snuck out to the lake.

    • James says:

      Chris’s math is correct. “But that leaves a little more than 34,000 responsible for the rest of the $83.8 million, the AP found. That’s about $2,400 on average per person.” This, by the way, is a quote from the article Charlie is criticizing.

      Can we at least agree on one thing — anyone who spends $2,400 on a campaign contribution either expects to get something in return or is a complete moron?

      Calypso, I bet you thought McCain was going to pull it out in 2008, didn’t you? Call me crazy, but an old, out-of-touch white guy with a bad dye job, zero personality, a somewhat off-putting religion, a history of flip-flopping (especially on healthcare) and zero vision of the future cannot compete with this:

      • Calypso says:

        That whistling tune…I hear it again…louder this time…more anxious…more plaintive…more…desperate

  4. ZazaPachulia says:

    A decided tack to the Fox News/Washington Examiner side of things for Charlie… Did all that RINO teasing finally wear you down a bit?

    Refuting an AP story with a Washington Examiner article is a bit like striking down a Reuters story with information gleaned from The Nation or Mother Jones. Washington Examiner is owned by a friend of the Kochs, Phil Anschutz (a fellow petroleum billionaire who also owns the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings). Anschutz is also an activist and like the Kochs, he exclusively funds conservative causes. We may not like it, but for every Soros, there are at least five or more Sandy Aldersons, Kochs, Anschutz’s and others. There are plenty of millionaires giving to both campaigns, but the billionaire activists are more common on the Republican side. That’s the why the AP reports it that way. Billionaires are just like you and me. How they perceive their wallet will be affected generally trumps their ideology.

    As far as I’m concerned, the Kochs and Soros’s of the world are in it for themselves. They’re not interested in “creating jobs.” If they were, they’d be pumping their handy excess millions into business ventures, not PACs and campaigns.

    • Charlie says:

      A great part of capitalism is self-interest.

      The point of the Soros-Koch comparison is that you never, EVER hear anyone on the left talk about that evil Soros money that was so instrumental in – dare I say it – buying the 2006 and 2008 elections. Frankly, the Republicans would have probably lost those anyway.

      The Koch’s, at least, employ folks here as they make their billions. Soros, on the other hand, could very well be betting against our currency and manipulating economic policy for his profit against that which would be good for the country. It’s his profession. It’s how he became a billionaire.

      I’ll take the left seriously on their evil of money whining when they can discuss their overwhelming fundraising advantage in 2008, and when they can discuss George Soros in the role of how he made his money and how he used it to buy direct influence over policy that would profit him personally.

      • ZazaPachulia says:

        Whether or not you “take the left seriously” about their “evil of money” whining, it does not change the fact that they’re right. Citizens United was an abomination. You can call them hypocrites for not lumping Soros in with the Koch brothers, but it’s a lot harder to argue that billionaires buying elections and the laws that allow them to do so are good for our democracy.

  5. Outstanding article Charlie.

    More on the false Leftist narrative of Super PACs swaying the election for the Right:

    “The truth is that the super PAC founded by top Obama staffers and its aligned “independent” groups are outspending groups that oppose the president by roughly two to one.

    According to Federal Election Commission data filed from January 2011 through July 3, super PACs and all groups making “independent expenditures” in the political arena have spent $35.3 million in opposition to Romney, and only $9 million in opposition to Obama. Rove’s American Crossroads, for example, has spent $3.1 million this cycle. But only $158,126.17 of that has been spent in efforts opposing President Obama, and a separate $7,500 has been spent on Web ads supporting Mitt Romney.”

      • I also find it curious that this bawing from the Left about campaign funds didn’t start until Romney began out raising President Obama. They were perfectly content to sit back and pretend that 1) Obama’s cash was coming from “grassroots” small donors (which has been a myth since first perpetuated in the ’08 election) while GOP donors are carried by “the rich,” and 2) Obama’s superior campaign warchest was merely a barometer of public opinion. Now that the Romney camp is out pacing The One, Leftists are tripping over themselves to double down on the first point and contradict themselves on the second.

        Between this, the (now dismantled) narrative about outsourcing, and the continued political theater about the disproven method of increasing taxes on the rich to pay “down the deficit” (this after blowing just under $1 trillion in the first 3/4 of this fiscal year) — are all making for what I predict will be a three point RCP poll of polls lead for Romney by the end of July.

  6. Blake says:

    Two problems with the “Dem super PAC’s beating GOP super PAC’s” theory are 1) proponents such as Jim Geraghty conveniently leave out the “dark money” 501(c)(4)’s, and 2) it only examines spending, whereas it ought also to take account of fundraising. On the fundraising scale, the GOP-aligned groups are whipping the Dems. That they haven’t outspent the Dems yet simply means they are keeping their powder dry, which makes sense given that the key period for influencing voters will come in approximately the two months before the election/after the nominating conventions.

    • Charlie says:

      Again, you choose to overlook the very simple point that this wasn’t a problem for Dems when you had the advantage in 2006 and 2008, and the billionaire behind the advantage was named Soros and not Koch.

        • Charlie says:

          I read Blake’s comment as saying the article showing the Dems aren’t being outspent is because the Republicans are hording cash, thus holding on to the meme that the Dems are still at a huge disadvantage.

          My point is the overall hypocrisy of the money game. It’s great when your team has it, bad when your team doesn’t. And as a bonus, we’re not supposed to count union spending when we determine what is “fair”.

          • Blake says:

            I wasn’t commenting on Dems’ attitude/hypocrisy in 2006/2008 at all, just addressing flaws in the current Geraghty analysis. However, if you insist on a comment about it, I would say that it is hard to directly compare the situations because of the game-changing Citizens United watershed. Also (complete speculation on motives here), I also suspect it “wasn’t a problem for Dems” because they were simply thrilled to win the fundraising wars for once in their lifetimes, however, they did it, after decades losing to the GOP. 2006/2008 was an anomaly, and we have once again reverted to the norm with higher GOP fundraising.

            Getting into the weeds, I have actually found other arguments (not linked here) that past a certain insane level of fundraising (which both Romney and Obama and their allies have reached), money/political spending ceases to be relevant as an advantage. IOW, it doesn’t matter so much whether Romney is beating Obama. I don’t know whether the same case can be made for 2008; I forget how big the discrepancy between Obama & McCain was. So honestly, I find this whole argument kind of a pointless side issue.

            Getting further into the weeds, I have also read that another reason for the so-called 2 to 1 D-to-R spending differential is that it focuses only on the presidential contest, whereas R groups have been spending heavily in congressional races (see: Ohio), where the overall spending is much lower and they are getting much more bang for their buck.

            • Obama had a 2:1 advantage. He took in $778,642,962, while McCain took in $383,913,834. Hillary Clinton took in $252,235,517.


              BTW, you will see that Democratic candidate Lee Mercer, Jr. shows that he took in $900,005,507 and spent all of it. Take a few minutes and read why he was running along with his bio, especially the part after he says “On August 22, 1992, The State of Texas installed an intelligence hotwire in me at the United States Army Military Intelligence Academy Camp Bullis San Antonio, Texas.” It has been debated whether he was real or a hoax.


              • Blake says:

                Thanks. So proportionally, Obama had a huge advantage, but they both raised astronomical amounts, so the law of diminishing returns may apply.

                I don’t even know what to do with that Lee Mercer information. Apparently one can lie on FEC reports with impunity?…

                • 2008 was an odd election. Obama did things that really were never done before in a Presidential election (Primetime campaign shows, basically a 24/7 Obama channel on satellite, social media campaign, etc.). We really don’t know how much impact the disparity in money had on the election. Obama may have won with less money than McCain.

                  What we have learned over the last couple of cycles, though, is the amount of money raised by the winner has increased significantly. For comparison:

                  In 2004, George W. Bush raised $367,228,819 – $20 million less than McCain, while John Kerry raised $300,931,570.

                  In 2000, W. raised $192,445,564 while Gore raised $132,804,039.

                  • Calypso says:

                    Lawton, are you still the Canadian Campaign Manager in Lee Mercer Jr.’s quest for the presidency? How were you able to raise such a large sum for a relatively little-known candidate? How much will you guys be taking in this year?

                    • We use a little known political tactic called deceptive descriptive detailing. Our goal was infinity, but we may fall a little short. We also hope to get more than .000000000000000000000000000000001% of the vote this time around.

          • ZazaPachulia says:

            It’s different now because of Citizens United. The laws have changed. The billionaires have more overt leverage–they no longer have to hide behind the MoveOn.orgs and the Andrew Breitbarts of the world. You’re leaving that vastly important tidbit out of this conversation.

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