Tom Ferguson: Massive Surge of Republican Money in Last Ditch Effort to Sink Obama

Yves here. This post is important not only for its perspective on the power of big money in current election but also in blowing up the myth of the role of small donors in Obama’s 2008 campaign.

By Thomas Ferguson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and author of ‘Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems’ and ‘Right Turn: The Decline of Democrats and the Future of American Politics.’ Cross posted from Alternet

By eerie coincidence, the final seven days of the 2012 race to the White House began on Halloween. Even beyond the Frankenstorm, there’s something chilling that haunts these final days: the Ghost of the 2000 Election.

What’s scary is not just that the margin of victory once again figures to be razor thin. Or that the outcome of the popular vote may differ from the tally in the Electoral College, as it did in 2000. Nor is it even that all the machinations to disenfranchise voters by requiring them to produce picture ids and clamp down on early voting are likely to set off a wave of voter challenges, leading to litigation that could once again see the Supreme Court settle the outcome strictly on partisan lines and forever cloud the legitimacy of the process.

No, for 2012, the scariest thing about 2000 is the evidence that a flood of highly concentrated Republican money in the very last week of that campaign gave G.W. Bush a decisive edge in the battleground states – and that contrary to reports in the national media, there are signs that history may be about to repeat itself.

The little known 2000 story is meticulously laid out in a study by Richard Johnston, Michael G. Hagen, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, The 2000 Presidential Election and the Foundations of Party Politics. Trailing in the final weeks of the campaign, Al Gore began aggressively attacking Bush on Social Security. Helped along by news trends in the (free) mass media that the three scholars carefully track, and matching or even sometimes exceeding the Bush campaign’s ad buys, Gore rallied. He started climbing in the polls.

But in the final week of the campaign, Bush’ Golden Horde of campaign contributors unrolled their mighty bankroll, sinking most of the money into battleground states. As the three scholars observe, the result was a natural experiment, in which part of the country was saturated with political money while the rest was only lightly sprinkled.

The outcome was ruinous for Gore. Johnston, Hagen, and Jamieson convincingly show how in non-battleground states, where free media and Gore’s own ads were not overwhelmed by the last minute GOP avalanche, the Vice President preserved his momentum, eventually winning the popular vote. By contrast, in battleground states where the Bush campaign vastly outspent him and the Democrats, Gore’s comeback stalled out. “Where ad volumes – Al Gore’s ad volumes in particular at this point – were mounting, the Democratic candidate held his own for the rest of the month…Where advertising – now overwhelmingly by Bush – was heavy, there was no recovery; indeed in the last week Gore’s share in these places dropped two to three points.”

This year the gigantic war chests raised and spent by Superpacs have plainly stunned many Americans, making them overwhelmingly receptive to tighter regulation of political money.

Curiously, however, all through the campaign, one commentator after another has derided the idea that big money might be decisive in this election. Some of these are drearily predictable, such as those in the op ed pages of the Wall Street Journal. Others are less obviously robotic, like Ezra Klein and Frank Bruni, though the latter did prudently hedge that “things could change in this final stretch.

Some of their skepticism rests, perhaps, on a deep misunderstanding. Big Money’s most significant impact on politics is certainly not to deliver elections to the highest bidders. Instead it is to cement parties, candidates, and campaigns into the narrow range of issues that are acceptable to big donors. The basis of the “Golden Rule” in politics derives from the simple fact that running for major office in the U.S. is fabulously expensive. In the absence of large scale social movements, only political positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. On issues on which all major investors agree (think of the now famous 1 percent), no party competition at all takes place, even if everyone knows that heavy majorities of voters want something else.

Myopic views of the complexities of political money compound the initial confusion. The full spectrum of political money is much wider than simply campaign contributions. But of great importance just now is the fact that the analysis of campaign contributions by journalists, scholars, and activists lags far behind the grim realities.

Let’s look further into why the pundits are confused. The major sources of data on political money are the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Partly for understandable reasons, neither makes any serious effort to standardize names or addresses of people on their rosters. For less comprehensible reasons, though, both agencies routinely accept seriously incomplete reports and obviously inaccurate or misleading reports. For example, they let many business executives who are still active on the boards of large concerns get away with claiming to be “retired.” The two agencies also present their data in different formats that makes record linkage difficult.

As a result, the true influence that large donors wield in American elections is chronically underestimated. This was true especially before the Citizens United decision made it easier to see. Many investors maintain several different offices and residences in various parts of the country. Existing data management tools that try to match these up commonly fail to recognize multitudes of contributions coming from the same sources. In turn that nourishes illusions that small donors play bigger roles in campaigns than they really do. Especially where Democrats are concerned, the myth of small donors is a powerful instrument of miseducation.

In 2008, for example, the Obama campaign trumpeted such support. Eventually, many analysts caught on and began to question the claims. We have now reanalyzed the entirety of the FEC and IRS data for 2008. Campaigns are required to itemize contributions totaling more than 200 dollars from donors. Our best estimate – it is only an estimate – is that donors giving less than $250 represent less than ten percent of the record breaking sums raised by the Obama campaign (the campaign did also collect a certain number of unitemized contributions below that limit; these can’t be analyzed further). By contrast, we find that fully 61% of Obama’s money came from donations totaling above $500, with 38% representing total donations of a $1000 or more. For comparison, 40% of John McCain’s money represented donations totaling at least $1000, while contributions over $500 made up 63% of his totals. Our figures come with a major qualification: They include donations to the each candidate’s national party committees once they clinched the nomination, but they do not include the enormous amounts spent on both sides by so-called “527” committees and other “independent” campaign vehicles; donors to these were all far more highly concentrated. Even these figures, though, make it is obvious that neither candidate relied chiefly on small donations.

In recent weeks the Obama campaign has once again pointed with pride to what it claims are large numbers of small contributions. Some newspaper articles puff up these claims by sliding past the fact the formal campaign, like the GOP, uses its national party committee, with its much higher limits, as an auxiliary piggy bank for large donors to make substantial supplementary contributions. It is true that the campaign this time has tapped a lot of donors whose contributions are too small to require itemization. But in fact the itemized contributions for 2012 reported by the formal Obama campaign committees and the Democratic National Committee (which, to repeat, do not include the much more highly concentrated Superpac or friendly 527s) look surprisingly like 2008 – 31% of the donations add up to a $1000 dollars or more, with 55% totaling $500 or more.

Here is where the Ghost of 2000 begins to flit around. Not even GOP flacks dare suggest that small donations comprise the backbone of the Romney campaign. But the campaign and its allegedly independent Superpacs, such as Restore Our Future, burned through gigantic sums bulldozing the rest of the Republican field in the primaries.

As a result, until recently, the Romney campaign has been restocking, playing catch up to Obama’s well organized machine, which, be it noted, continues to bring in substantial donations even from Wall Street, though not on the scale of 2008. Along with the Obama camp’s vast expenditures earlier in the campaign to try to fix Romney’s image in electorate’s mind, this fact is the piece of evidence most commonly cited to disparage the importance of big money.

But it is plain wrong to suggest that Big Money is not talking in this campaign. As Johnston, Hager, and Jamieson noted, Gore’s final surge was fueled by relentlessly pounding away at Republican vulnerabilities on Social Security. Given the near unanimity this year among major donors that entitlements have to be cut after the election, however, that line of attack cannot really be exploited by Obama. And he has not. Despite Paul Ryan’s presence on the GOP ticket, the President’s campaign has reined in Biden and other Democrats who became aggressive on the issue. Social Security played little role in the three presidential debates; indeed, in the first one, Obama actually allowed that “I suspect that, on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position.”

No less importantly, however, in the first 17 days of October (the most recent full reporting period), the Romney campaign finally surpassed Obama, in collections by the formal campaign and the Republican National Committee. Of course, it has been far ahead in Superpac funding all along.

And while the money rolled in for the campaign itself, fundraising by other giant Republican vehicles, such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, and other groups has also been swelling.

In the campaign’s final stretch, it is impossible to pin down exactly who is spending how much or precisely where. Cash hoards and limited reporting requirements make that impossible. The situation changes literally every day and from day from hour to hour, as campaigns and Superpacs make more and more media buys of ads and transfer money around in complicated ways. There is also a lot of less heralded money sloshing about, ranging from still more Superpacs in formation to old fashioned 527 spending committees. We also expect the Republican edge in fundraising to grow in the final days.

But you don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. Superpacs now report major media buys within 48 hours. Thus one can directly compare late spending by Priorities USA, the Obama Superpac, with Romney’s Restore Our Future, Crossroads, and the other leading GOP committees. (Both parties have other Superpacs in operation, but these are the leaders that, with the exception of Freedom Works, appear to be spending substantially on the presidential race, though reported targets always need to be taken with a grain of salt.)

We sifted through them up through October 29. What we find is remarkable. The Ghost of 2000 stretches before us in full terrifying view. Since October 17, the big GOP Superpacs appear to be outspending Priorities USA on media by at least three to one – perhaps a higher ratio than when Bush buried Gore. Those funds are almost certainly being concentrated on battleground states, even, possibly, on a handful of counties within each.

It can be reasonably objected that the absolute level of spending in the 2012 presidential race will be far above the paltry $343 million reported for 2000. Perhaps the higher level of expenditures will better anchor voter impressions of Obama. It is also true that Obama is not a Vice President, but President, someone much harder to drown out. But how much will these factors matter? No one can say for sure – no one has any experience with political money on this scale. But with reports coming in that the Romney campaign is running massive ad buys that obfuscate his stance on the auto bailout and other issues, we can feel the force of the uncanny all around us.

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49 comments

  1. Alex Bowles

    It’s important to note that dollars spent by one campaign do not have an effect equal to those spent by the other. The difference comes down to media buying strategies. In the same way that airlines will sell you multiple tickets booked well in advance for the price of one booked at the last minute, the rates charged for ad buys vary considerably. Indeed, the actual price of ad inventory is notoriously opaque.

    From what I understand the Romney media buying operation is far less sophisticated than Obama’s, meaning it’s spending more and getting less. How much more and less I cannot say, except that the differences aren’t trivial. Depending on how last minute the Romney donations and buys are, they could be exorbitantly expensive. Obviously, this doesn’t change the gist of the post, but it does remove the edge. A little. I hope.

      1. nalisklef

        yes shockingly people prefer the less-destructive flavor of a thing to the more-destructive flavor of a thing

        hoo could guess that some people, offered a choice between exactly two destructive regimes, would pick the one that does less destroying

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      One has to give the Obamas and the Krugmans and the media and the pundits credit. What they are doing to the country is the stuff political contortionist’s dreams are made of, like a circus trainer getting the lion to jump into it’s own mouth.

    2. LucyLulu

      I heard it reported that the Obama campaign has gotten twice as much tv time per dollar spent as Romney because of their well-honed media purchase machine.

  2. Dirk77

    A few billion for the entire presidential election seems like a pretty good investment. On the other hand, if our aspiring oligarchs were spending $500B, say, then this could be a real trickle down. Though one is probably only going to get that if there were a real progressive candidate, Eugene Debs IV, for example.

    1. Cugel

      The larger point that politicians are corporate whores for the top 1% is true, but that’s been true for decades, especially since 1980. Is it worse now? Perhaps. They certainly need more money now, so their thraldom is perhaps worse.

      But, living in a “swing state” Colorado I can tell you that late spending on even more TV blitz is just not likely to have any impact at all. In Colorado over 1 million have already voted and early voting is expected to be 80% of the votes cast, with only 20% showing up on election day.

      Then viewers are utterly saturated constantly with political ads. You either get numb or else stop watching TV or watch the commercials with the sound off. There’s literally not one commercial break on the major networks without an ad. Not one.

      Nationwide early voting will account for 35% of the vote. Hard to late influence someone who’s already voted.

      Plus, the TV blitz has been going strong since August. It’s hard to believe that anybody is really undecided by now. Or if they are that some new ad is going to sway them.

      It’s like a girl who’s been asked by 25 guys to dance. If she rejected them all, #26 doesn’t have much of a shot.

      1. Cugel

        What worries me much more than late TV ads is the prospect that Conservatives will just continue to endlessly refine their database, and that in future elections they will find new and inventive ways to get every bent, misanthropic white racist and useful idiot to the polls. That’s a far more insidious use of their money than TV ads.

        That and put more and more voter suppression laws into the states. Reactionaries are now openly saying that women and minorities shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all.

  3. Mary Bess

    When are Republicans going to wise up and realize that Obama can do a lot more for them than Romney, who might actually mobilize an opposition party should he win?

    1. George Hier

      Well, did you see the GOP primaries this year? That was definitely not the GOP’s “A-Team”. All of the other serious candidates sat out this year, Romney was the only one fool enough to try.

  4. Middle Seaman

    The elections stand seen through poll aggregation are not close. Obama has a large advantage over Romney. Even in Virginia that used to be redder than red, Obama leads and his likelihood of winning better than Romney’s.

    We are four days away from the elections. Romney’s bombardment with same silly adds October was to no avail; his trajectory was and is downwards. It seems that except for the poor states that vote Republicans, the average and rich states are rejecting Romney.

  5. psychohistorian

    While I don’t doubt that enough people can be brain washed to buy a Romney win, I think more important is the framing of the “public” (MSM) narrative during the election.

    All the money is being thrown at making arguments for the right wing agenda, which will continue to be pushed strongly, regardless of which puppet wins. And since the money is “free” in the sense that banks borrow at 0% and the profits to the MSM from running the ads goes back to the global inherited rich who own the media and everything else.

    This is all big kabuki in support of the Shock Doctrine event in the EU and US that continues to undermine the purpose of government being for the 99%, not the 1%….i.e. ending social safety net programs and driving global wages and employment to genocidal levels.

  6. Lafayette

    DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 2012

    Dear Red States,

    We’ve had enough of your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we’ve decided we’re leaving.

    We in New York intend to form our own country and we’re taking the other Blue States with us.

    In case you aren’t aware that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast.

    We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).

    To sum up briefly:
    You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.

    We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

    We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren. You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.

    We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.

    We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

    We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.

    We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs.

    You get Alabama.

    We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

    Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

    With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country’s fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95% of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulfur, coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

    Red States

    You will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

    We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you very much.

    Thirty-eight percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we Lefties.

    We’re taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico.

    Sincerely,
    Citizens of the Enlightened States of America

    1. sleepy

      Regional food fight!

      Of course, the South has produced most of America’s music (blues, jazz, country, and rock and roll), as well as a good chunk of its greatest food, and certainly a disproportionate amount of its great literature.

    2. Howard Beale IV

      Ya didn’t go far enough. They get to patrol two borders, create their own central bank and monetary system (no effin’ way do we let them use the USD-look at the crises that is the Euro), enter into new treaties, create their own tax and tarrif system, negotiate airline landing rights for their flag carriers (most likely it would be American, Delta has too many hubs in blue states), and we also will pull our military assets (and nuclear ordinance) out of the new country-they can buy their own weapon systems on the open market.

    3. Kokuanani

      Trust me, you don’t want Hawaii. Yes, it has great beaches, but its educational system fights with LA, AL & MS for the bottom of the barrel. During the governorship of Linda Lingle [now Republican candidate for Senate], Hawaii had the FEWEST days of school of any state

      As a result of this lousy educational system, people here are, shall we say “stupid” [again, think LA, AL and MS].

      A nice place to visit, but trust me, you don’t want to live here.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Lafayette, are you going to help blue people trapped in Stupid States to get up to the E.S.A? I’ve been hoping for this. Where do I sign?

    5. propertius

      Given that a lot of the power crews that are working to restore your electricity are from the red states, I hope you enjoy freezing in the dark. Grow some gills while you’re at it, because you’re going to need them.

  7. donna

    goodmorning OBAMA is very smart …HE GET MONEY AND GIVE BACK..but to spend so much money for election (this mean ) they is not ready for the president both ..even others and in deep thinking this is not free election (thinking about this why)?
    IF inflation is highe this money printed have go for election not for open busineses and jobs ..we will see after election ..
    thank you

  8. citalopram

    Got a good laugh this morning when I saw this headline:

    “Obama, Romney promise change as election winds down”

    Someone should tell Obama that’s what he promised the first time.

    1. sleepy

      Yes, I will be happy to see this election crap end–and you know it’s winding down when the lies are so self-evident that they no longer even count as irony.

      A poster on another blog said that his happiest time of day is the first 10 seconds when he wakes up and has forgotten that there is an election. I agree.

      1. citalopram

        I refuse to watch or read any articles about it. It seems some folks just love the electoral gossip.

        The dirty truth is doesn’t matter for us who wins, and since Americans aren’t going to force a change from a two-party tyranny, then there’s not much use in caring at all at this point. I’m not going to get my blood pressure up over this vapid spectacle.

  9. Network Schools

    Your insight that big money “…cement(s) parties, candidates, and campaigns into the narrow range of issues that are acceptable to big donor” explains why we haven’t seen any discussion on global warming. Big money doesn’t want to have a discussion about a problem who’s obvious solution is to consume less and live more simply.

    1. LucyLulu

      Preventing global-warming and its inherent crises has no political pay-off. Cleaning up after the “storm of the century” wins presidential elections.

  10. Paul Tioxon

    by G. William Domhoff
    March 2005

    “Short of a nationwide system of public financing for candidates, which seems highly unlikely in a Congress where Republicans from low-population states have a strong veto power in the Senate and great leverage in the House, it seems likely that wealthy fat cats will find one way or another to finance the candidates of their choice. Thus, the wiser course would be to concentrate on developing a strong and clear image for the Democratic Party so that it could rely upon a core of loyalists who would vote for the party, not simply individual candidates. If the voters knew what the party consistently stood for, then the names, personalities, and images of individual candidates would be less important, and money would count for a whole lot less.

    Since the Democratic Party has now shed its Southern racist wing, and machine Democrats are mostly a thing of the past, it cannot be just historical memories that keep egalitarians from seeing the golden opportunity provided by party primaries. So something else must be going on as well. I think that the something else is based in the strong moral sense that characterizes most egalitarian activists. Indeed, a moral outrage over the issues highlighted in egalitarian social movements is the most important thing they all share in common. It is an essential source of their energy and courage in facing great danger, but it also can be a hindrance because they cannot tolerate much compromise on the issues of concern to them, especially if they think people have failed to stand up for their beliefs. As speeches, articles, and letters-to-the-editor by third-party advocates make abundantly clear, they see the Democrats as compromised, corrupt, and spineless. In this sense, egalitarians are “purists,” and usually proud of it.

    This moral zeal creates a strong inclination to separate from the everyday world and create an alternative set of standards and institutions. It generates a desire for a distinctive social identity and a space to call one’s own, such as a third party. In addition, strong moral outrage creates a sense of immediacy that reinforces the preference for a third party as a way to express exasperation with compromise. As a result, egalitarians often become very annoyed with the liberal politicians who share most of their values and programs. As egalitarians say again and again, they want to be able to vote their “conscience,” not the “lesser of two evils.” The tensions that therefore arise between egalitarians and liberals within the electoral arena then become a hindrance to a general movement for egalitarian social change.”

    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_egalitarians.html

    1. Waking Up

      I have to disagree with G. William Domhoff. It is the compromise after compromise after compromise for decades now by the egalitarians that in part has led us to a society which accepts a presidential “kill list”, fracking around the country, and other atrocities we now see regularly. Most of the “egalitarians” have NOT acted like purists or we can conclude a. there are very few people who believe in equality for all people, or b. those who claim to be “egalitarians” aren’t willing in large numbers to stand up for their beliefs. Otherwise, people would be in the streets in the millions protesting this presidential “election” and demanding a system of better representation.

    2. different clue

      I would have agreed with this during Bush v Gore v Nader.
      But today? What possible values do Obama and his Catfood Democrats have in common with any decent liberal, let alone a Loud and Proud Egalitarian?

  11. Kevin Egan

    Ohio keeps tightening, which seems mysterious given that there are supposedly so few undecideds, and because of the favor shown Obama there due to the auto bailouts. But an enormous infusion of money of the kind Ferguson reports, seems a very plausible explanation for that mysterious result.

    1. Susan

      Last night in Streetsboro, Ohio 720 fired up Libertarian Robomney haters gathered to hear Gary Johnson issue his stump speech. I wondered if I was suddenly transported to Live Free of Die, NH. The gathering was in a strip mall beer and grill right between the Save-a-Lot and Smoke City. (I removed my Jill Stein button before entering.) I had wanted to see how the Libertarians were faring in Ohio since no one seems to report on this new wrinkle in Ohio politics – this is the first presidential campaign in which an additional 4 parties have ballot access. Joe the Plumber wasn’t there that I could see, but there sure were lots of folks ready to chant “deny consent” as the party got underway.

      Meanwhile, Green party congressional candidiate, Bob Fitrakis in Columbus had a FOIA request fulfilled and found that the software patch is in again. Untested, uncertified equipment will again be involved in tabulation in Ohio. Before you jump to conclusions, this is not the Tagg Romney owns Hart Intercivic shares business.

      Oh, what a tangled mess! And all the while, third parties with little cash struggle to be included, struggle to get enough visibility to earn a bullyingly begrudged 1% to retain ballot access or (nationwide) 5% to get the 40:1 federal matching funds.

      It’s pretty hard to see all the angles on this shell game.

      1. Carla

        Hi, Susan, thanks for the report. Haven’t gotten through all the comments yet, but I am surprised that thus far, no one has mentioned the “real reason” Gore lost in 2000 — those Nader voters. At least that’s what I’m told everyday by Democrats when they learn I’m voting for Jill Stein.

        1. different clue

          Well . . . those Nader voters were one of the least and smallest reasons for Gore “losing”. What upsets me more is that electing Bush was Nader’s sole and only reason for running. Not that Nader is what achieved that result . . rather, that “electing Bush” was the result Nader sought.

          The Greens demonstrated their political immorality and evil again by taking Republican money to run former marine McGaw against Wellstone in Minnesota preCISEly in ORder to GET Coleman elected. That was their sole and only goal, and they and the Wellstone forces both knew it.

          That legacy is what makes the Greens too yersinial, pestoid, and botulinic for me to vote for today. That is why I am voting for Rocky Anderson instead.

  12. Brooklin Bridge

    Obama has as much chance of loosing as junior jock did in 2000, zero.

    The TV drama is as well orchestrated as money and power can buy but it is hardly up for grabs and everyone has known where this theater is going since Boehner screwed the pooch last year. Obama is willing and able to fuck the elderly and the poor, easily. Romney isn’t. Obama has already started the process of unraveling the social safety net. Romney, on the other hand, would face a real up hill battle. The Grand Screw would be “reset”, except for some edge nibbling, for another four years.

    Political appearances are one of the few things that can still put a temporary, note temporary, crimp in the salivations of corporate owners, and Democrats (veritable cat food purveyors in the Senate and the House, each and every one of them, salivating in private at the prospect of geezer pocket picking even more than their owners – for corporate appearances) would nevertheless feel compelled, for the sake of public appearances, to make it difficult for Romney.

    Obama is going to win the election just as surely as the Supreme Court was always, one way or another, going to allow the mandate in the health care fiasco. Obama is after all the author of the US going fascist (government coercing it’s citizens to buy health care insurance, like fish in a barrel, for the profligacy of private corporations) and that act was far more seductive than porn to the slime and filth that we call owners. They know damn well who’s going to butter the money jar for them to have at it and that is the one who is going to win.

    1. Susan

      You can surely imagine how oft I’ve repeated (not as eloquently as you have here) that very sentiment to people who come to my door panicked to see the Stein Honkala sign in my window. Or when I am engaged in spoiler arguments on facebook because I post Stein’s arrests, endorsements, Glen Ford’s or anyone’s collection of broken promises, anything that is not “vote dem because the sky will fall if you don’t.” The Obama campaigners are out in force in staunchly dem Cuyahoga County gathering every crumb. It’s painful to watch. Turn off the tv, your guy has it (even without you). I am not a crumb. Ugh.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        It’s maddening to watch Obama strip the democracy as well as the weak and defenseless of dignity, trash the Constitution repeatedly and let high crimes go unpunished AND watch sane people insist we punish him with yet another four years of screwing us more softly.

        1. Cugel

          If you think that Romney wouldn’t destroy the safety net even quicker than Obama you haven’t been paying attention. Who’s going to stop him? Democrats?

          Those same Democrats who will all line up in horror over the phony “fiscal cliff”? The ones so eager to put Social Security “on the table?” They would all be relieved to let the Republicans take the blame for destroying Medicare. Then they could all support it without taking responsibility. With Democrats in charge they have to own it and they are already uncomfortable about that.

          The only good Obama will do is to appoint moderate corporatist Democrats to the Federal Courts instead of insane right-wing ideologues. That and put competent people in charge of FEMA instead of re-inserting “Heckuva Job Brownie” and nominating John Bolton as Secretary of State. That’s probably enough of a reason to vote for Obama.

          The only difference between the parties is the small number of progressive Democrats in the Senate who won’t vote for the fiscal cliff swindle. There sure as hell aren’t close to 40 of them.

          But, would Democrats use the filibuster to block the “shared sacrifice” the way Republicans have blocked everything? Of course not!

          1. Carla

            “The only good Obama will do is to appoint moderate corporatist Democrats to the Federal Courts instead of insane right-wing ideologues. That and put competent people in charge of FEMA instead of re-inserting “Heckuva Job Brownie” and nominating John Bolton as Secretary of State. That’s probably enough of a reason to vote for Obama.”

            Talk about damning with faint praise!

            And what have you to say about Eric Holder? Are you going to defend him, too?

            How about the Democrat-authored and Obama-signed NDAA?

            Come on, the Democrats are done. The faster the outrages of the right pile on, the sooner we will have a chance to get to substantive, systemic change.

            Obama promised it in ’08, and the people responded, disgusted after 8 years of Cheney.

            Obama is a Quisling. But it’s not entirely his fault. Even if he had a spine, this system wouldn’t permit him to use it. The sooner people GET this, the better.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            Yes, Democrats will stop Romney just as they stopped Bush. They will not hand over the safety net to a Republican; it just won’t happen. To Obama yes, amazingly easily, but not to Romney. You’re prediction is based on tribal loyalty, albeit vestigial, and is not supported by precedent.

          3. different clue

            Actually, the DemSenators want a DemPresident to get credit for the Grand Theft Catfood bargain. They won’t want a Republican President to get the credit for destroying Social Security which they feel should be reserved for a “Nixon-goes-to-China” Democrat like themselves.

            So Social Security is actually safer under a President Romney than under a RePresident Obama. Oh the irony!

          4. Brooklin Bridge

            But as I said above, Obama will win even if every man woman and child stays home and so you (Cugel) don’t have to worry about Romney. The social safety net will indeed be sold off by a Democratic president and his band of Vichy-Democrats in the legislative branch thus putting the final nail in the coffin of party Dems as “standing for the little guy” and giving you a little -not much apparantly – more work in deluding yourself that the Rethugs made him do it.

            The fact that you can still be sold on Obama or Democrats is one of the more compelling reasons I can think of for why our stay on this planet is so fragil. Apparently, there are simply hard wired limits to our ability to even recognise, never mind, deal with problems. When we acquiesce to a president assassinating American citizens and children as collateral damage with no judicial review as if it were some sort of acceptable lessor evil, when in the face of that ultimate transgression – judicial process free killings – we are still making comparisons with someone else’s behavior (who has never actually performed such acts except in our imagination) as being worse, then we have lost the ability to draw any meaningful limits or comparisons. With each successive push to the right, each nudge to raising the temperature – literally as well as politically, we are simply racing each other over the lemming cliff.

            Your arguments about judges and FEMA is a little like saying, “Yes he eats children, but look how neatly he presses his pants”. The judges he has appointed so far are anything but liberal and his response to the British Petroleum oil spill was arguably worse than Bush’s response to Katrina. With BP (British Petroleum), vast tracts of US public lands was declared illegal to even photograph and this at the command of a foreign corporation. As to Sandy, have you forgotten that Obama didn’t mention global warming or even climate change once – NOT ONCE – during the debates?

  13. Chris Rogers

    I hate to say it, but I actually hope Mitt Romney wins the Presidential election next week.

    Lets face it, with Romney and his Baboon of a VP at the helm, the Republican’s would have a tough time dismantling what remains of the social welfare net in the USA – basically Democrat intransigence in both the Senate and the House would prevent much of the threatened devastation.

    Regrettably, given Obama’s love affair with the neoliberals, his desire for bipartisanism and well known desire to take a cleaver to social welfare under the auspices of austerity – the future looks bleak indeed.

    Much as I’d wish for a Third Party break through, it will not happen, maybe after another 4 years of Republican lunatics in charge it will, regrettably, the Democrats are a Trojan Horse and not to be trusted one iota.

    indeed, why even legitimise this farce by voting, the fact is both legacy parties are terrible for the average Joe, its just like the Dem’s like stabbing you in the back, whilst the Republican’s at least have the decency to stab you in the face.

    Another 4 years of Obama will be a disaster and a far greater one for the average Joe than 4 years of pinky and perky.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Absolutely! Would that this post had any beef. The only possible twist that could happen, and it would be as crazy as a fox, would be if exactly the same thing happened as in 2000, the election hung in Florida or somewhere, only this time the Supreme Court Corporatists decided in favor of Obama. What irony! They would accomplish the same result as in 2000, a corporatist whore takes the White House, but the roar from the MSM declaring that the Supreme Joke was not partisan after all would be deafining. The discrepancy with reality would be just as cavernous, and stem from the exact same thing as the gap between the rich and the poor.

    2. nalisklef

      “the Republican’s would have a tough time dismantling what remains of the social welfare net in the USA – basically Democrat intransigence in both the Senate and the House would prevent much of the threatened devastation.”

      Yeah, the bush years were so wonderfully non-destructive for progressivism compared to the obama years…

  14. Lyle

    Given the early voting issue, where in my county in Tx 1/2 of the votes were early and the reports elsewhere of large early voting numbers, a question occurs is it to late, should the adds have started 2 weeks ago. Which raises an interesting question what if we do nationwide what Oregon did, and go to mail voting for all (the post office needs the money also). Then you have to have the add blitz during the 2 or 4 week period between the time the first ballot is mailed and the date the last ballot is recieved.

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    Watching such nonsense as pundits or polls or even where the money comes from is like watching the translucent chimera on the movie screen instead of watching where the money is going as it is hustled out of the ticket booth. And the money is going into the purchase of congressmen and women for a Grand Betrayal.

    Who can most effectively rape what’s left of the safety net? Heads Obama wins, tails Romney looses.

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