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 Moveon.org 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.