Good News: Both Inside The Beltway Anti-Grassroots Political Parties May Be Going Broke
This morning Paul Kane and Chris Cillizza wrote in the political industry town's paper that the industry may be going bust. They don't put it quite so starkly but they do point out that declining revenue and mounting debt are the hallmarks of both parties' current financial situation, presumably due to a recession (caused, at least in part, by incompetent political leadership) and donor fatigue.
Democrats have seen a drop-off in contributions from the frenetic small-dollar online donors who fueled President Obama's campaign, while Republicans have seen a dramatic decline in activity from the kind of big-ticket donors who were loyal contributors to the Bush White House and its pro-business agenda. Combined donations from individuals to the six major party campaign committees have fallen by more than 26 percent from a similar period two years ago, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Both parties worry that if things don't turn around "their budgets for the 2010 campaign may have to be slashed." Wouldn't that be wonderful? I mean partisans of neither party want their own to disarm unilaterally, but both of them going broke simultaneously could be the best thing that's happened to American politics in decades.
In the last couple of weeks we've tried to show the connection between the bad political decisions that led to the economic collapse and how they directly correlated to massive legalized bribes to the Inside-the-Beltway establishments. Nothing has corrupted our system as badly as the pernicious influence of Big Money in politics. I wish I could say it is just the Republicans. But it isn't. Anyone looking to accrue and consolidate power-- whether it's Tom DeLay or Rahm Emanuel-- looks to access to money as the first, second and third steps. Money is what makes Washington work (badly). Remove its stranglehold and you have at least a fighting chance to have a government of ideas, principles, and constituent accountability.
Earlier today we pointed out that the member of the Financial Services Committee who has been making the most important contributions is the member, Alan Grayson (D-FL) who has is the only member not on the FIRE (finance/insurance/real estate) gravy train. In fact, Grayson has take in less money from this-- the most profligate and venal sector, which donates more money to politicians than any other sector-- than anyone in Congress. In the Senate, Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who have taken the least from the FIRE bribers. And aside from Grayson, the House members who don't take their bribes are Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) who haven't partaken in the orgy of bribery and corruption. What do all these members of Congress have in common? They are all dedicated to working for their constituents, not for the special interests.
[T]his year's early fiscal decline for the Democratic and Republican national committees, as well as the four congressional campaign committees, is steeper than in recent years and suggests that something more than fatigue is behind the dive... Republicans, without any perch of power in the capital for the first time since 1994, were already girding for a longer-term shift in political giving, but that has been doubly complicated by the recession. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) recently received a stern message from the chief executive of an Oklahoma energy company after the senator came calling for a contribution: "Call me back when the price of natural gas goes up; maybe I'll be able to help you then."
Talk about every cloud having a silver lining! By the way, Blue America donations are also way off. If you can afford $5 or $10, please consider going to our ActBlue page and making a contribution to our PAC.