Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mobilizing Money

Here's a report by Michael Luo in today's New York Times:

In what may prove a significant development for the 2012 elections, David Brock, a prominent Democratic political operative, says he has amassed $4 million in pledges over the last few weeks and is moving quickly to hire a staff to set up what he hopes will become a permanent liberal counterweight over the airwaves to the Republican-leaning outside groups that spent so heavily on this year’s midterm elections. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Maryland lieutenant governor and the eldest of Robert F. Kennedy's 11 children, has agreed to serve as the chairwoman of the group, which will be called American Bridge, lending to the still extremely nascent undertaking the weight of what remains one of the most significant families in Democratic politics.

Leading Democratic donors who have already pledged money to the group include Rob McKay, heir to the Taco Bell fortune and chairman of the Democracy Alliance, a partnership of wealthy liberal donors; Robert Dyson, who heads Dyson-Kissner-Moran, a takeover and acquisitions firm in New York City; and Marcia L. Carsey, a television producer who gave $1 million to Democratic outside groups in 2004.

Mr. Brock said in an interview that he planned to formally file papers with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday to set up American Bridge as what is known as an independent-expenditure-only political action committee, meaning it will be able to take in contributions of unlimited size from individuals and corporations but must regularly disclose its donors.

This story should give me hope, but it actually makes me sad. I know first hand, from my recent experience working for David Cicilline's congressional campaign, that it is literally impossible to compete in American politics without some money. What makes me sad is that it takes so much money. I can't help wishing that some underfunded, populist David would soundly trounce the corporate-friendly Goliath and encourage other brave souls with limited resources to enter the fray. Voters often mistake the anti-intellectualism of conservatives for genuine anti-elitism. By railing against Paul Krugman, they can pretend to be attacking the establishment. Yet the truth is not many liberals of modest means get involved in national politics. If you're going to confront the power of the plutocrats it helps to have access to cash of your own. What I'd love to see is somebody who could mount a genuine grassroots campaign, without the need to bow and scrape before wealthy donors to stay in the game. We can only dream!

1 comment:

mlee33 said...

It's hard to see how to fix this without good campaign finance reform. But who wants to stop the gravy train? Not Rethugs, that's for sure!