Aren't we lucky that we have conservative commentators (and their enabling friends in the traditional media) to tell us what's important to consider in the upcoming midterm elections? Methinks the very fact that they spend so much time telling us how little we should care anonymous donors indicates that we've hit a nerve and they're desperate to get us off the subject.
Brooks pulls reassuring numbers out of the air to try to downplay what he can't help acknowledging is worrying (just as Obama had said in his first State of the Union and we liberals have said since the Citizens United decision came down).
DAVID BROOKS: I think it’s tremendously corrupting in Washington. The question is does it affect the electorate? And I guess-- does it affect voters? A couple things. First, it’s important to remember the outside money is only ten percent of the total money. Most can-- most money is still candidate driven and it’s-- party driven. The second thing is the money is flowing in on both sides. Ask me, the public sector worker, $87 million. The NEA, $40 million. So, there’s a ton of money.
DAVID GREGORY: But you don’t know where they’re coming from?
DAVID BROOKS: Right. That’s-- that’s exactly right. The untransparent money is a genuine problem. But then this third thing, the final thing is does it affect voters? We’ve got $3.5 billion being spent on this election. Some of these outside funds like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, they’re spending $12 million. Do we really think that’s affecting? And then if you’ve got a race like in Colorado, where the Democrat and the Republican are each throwing 5,000 ads at each other. Do we really think if one candidate throws 7,000 as opposed to 5,000 it’s gonna make a big difference?
The outside money is just 10%? How does Brook know this? If the money is not legally required to be disclosed, where does the 10% come from. For example, the AmCham has disclosed (as is legally required) donations to their PAC of around $165,000, with about $125,000 spent (mostly for Republicans), but it's not the PAC that's of issue here. AmCham's 501c organization, with no transparency or disclosure requirements, has promised to spend $75,000,000 to defeat Democratic candidates. How much of that comes from foreign sources? Absolutely unknown--which is EXACTLY the point the Republicans want to obfuscate with references to AFSCME spending (from which we know the amount and the donations):
On Friday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that the $87.5 million that AFSCME had spent on election activities (the majority of it on voter contact efforts) made it the biggest dog in the 2010 fight. The union was, with one week to go, outpacing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($75 million), American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, ($65 million) and fellow union, SEIU, ($44 million). [..]
Lost in the analysis, AFSCME noted, were important distinctions.
"[T]here's no mystery about who we are or where the money comes from," Chris Policano, a spokesman for AFSCME, told the Huffington Post. "Unlike the Chamber of Commerce, we play by clear rules of transparency -- we report our spending to the Department of Labor and every month we provide the FEC a list of our members who contribute more than $200 for political activities.
"We believe these midterm elections are too important to hand over to rich, right-wing extremists who have declared war on public services and the men and women who provide them. Billions of dollars are going to be spent this election cycle -- clearly, the biggest dollars are not coming from labor. But we have people who care enough about our country to knock on doors, call their neighbors, contact their friends and work their hearts and souls out to protect working families and Main Street, USA."
EJ Dionne, and to a lesser extent, Rachel Maddow, try to put a little truth and perspective to Bobo's minimizing, with David Gregory doing absolutely nothing in his position as spinmaster to the Republicos and stooge to his corporate bosses:
MR. DIONNE: ...these secret conservative groups are going to spend about $200, $220 million according to the current estimates. The money matters. And secret money is corrupting, secret money is dangerous, secret money, as Mike Isikoff said, leads to scandal. And the Watergate-- we forget that a lot of, of -- a big piece of the Watergate scandal was secret money. And to say this money doesn't matter is to say that Karl Rove, who really cares a lot about politics, is wasting his time trying to raise all this money; Ed Gillespie, who knows a lot about politics, is wasting his time. And for voters -- you know, people will know about this money. The congressmen are going to know who helped them get elected. The only people kept in the dark are the voters. This is a huge deal, and it's historic and it's dangerous.
MS. MADDOW: (Rove’s American Crossroads organizations are) bragging on raising and spending $52 million. They said that was their initial goal, and now they say they’re going to blow past that and spend significantly more. So the numbers – we fight over the numbers. One of the issues, though, is that they’re not disclosed. Seventy-two percent of people in the last NBC/Wall Street Journal poll said it concerns them that they do not know who is funding these political ads. And I think part of the issue is not just that there’s these big PACs, but it’s the individual people.
MR. GREGORY: But here, but here’s the issue. But, but, Rick Santelli, the – part of the issue here is that this is the law of the land, OK? Now, is there the political will, and Democrats are in control, to actually change the law? Because Michael Steele was right, this is the law. You want to change all of this, Democrats and Republicans have to agree to change the law because this is what the Supreme Court has passed.
MS. MADDOW: Democrats tried, Republicans blocked it.
No, Rove's dancing partner doesn't know what the issue is...yes, it is the law of the land, but that doesn't make it right. And of course, since it overwhelmingly favors them, the Republicans have no interest in correcting it.
But expect that kind of honesty from Brooks and Gregory? Nah....