By Bob Dorn
The Republicans may be catching a bad case of Campaign Contribution Fatigue. It can lead to money failure.
JEB! has found out that fundraising $13.4 million and enjoying his last name and the family bank account aren’t enough to purchase the lead in the Republican race for the nomination to the presidency. He’s behind Trump, Carson, Rubio and Fiorina, and tied with Ted (Vampiro) Cruz at fifth place among the 15 nuts and fruits still running.
Gov. Chris Christie is near busted, with only $1.4M on hand in his account, which used to be enough to buy a New Jersey Congressional seat, and at any rate is not enough to shut the mouths of 67% of the state who say he should go AWOL from the platoon of declared candidates of his party.
Bobby Jindal is down to $579,000. He could buy a nice house in North Park for that.
Mourning the death of democracy was the only sane response a real person could have when the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court freed corporations to give as much as they pleased to political advertising.
Now, it’s only billionaires who can afford Republican politics. Last January the Koch Bros (Koch Industries = Georgia Pacific, oil and gas exploration, gas pipelines, agro chemicals, Angel Soft and Quilted Northern, Dixie, consumer electronics (though not guns and execution cocktails)) announced they’d budgeted nearly ONE BILLION ($889 million) for the 2016 election cycle.
It seemed like we’d entered a futurist nightmare with the proportions of a James Bond movie. Could they take over the earth?
The two Bros. and other billionaires might believe that they can, given that a great narcissism and psychopathy (Trump) — only barely noticeable down here on the ground until the Citizens United ruling — has overcome so many belonging to the .05% (Trump).
Now, though, it seems the GOP is going to have to dig deeper for their filthy lucre to accomplish the party platform and elect the people pledged to do that. It certainly seems that the more bucks the GOP candidates have to spend, the less bang they get for them.
Maybe the most interesting money failure has been Scott Walker’s.
The Wisconsin Governor (and Richard Nixon doppelganger) dropped out last month in debt by “more than $1M” of his cash on hand, according to the Oct. 15 Wall Street Journal (Murdoch). The total Walker raised, according to the latest FEC report, was $7.4 million but he lost it all because he “Spent Like a Drunken Sailor,” Friday’s U.S. News and World Report headline was just sayin’.
The headline was wrong, of course. Not even drunken admirals have that kind of walking around money. Talentless GOP self-preeners do. Walker’s three top staffers, according to The Journal, each were salaried at $200,000 per year; a personal aide to Walker’s wife, $89,000; his two college-age kids were being paid at the annual rate of $18,509.
Democrats can only do better and better by being bolder and bolder, by making more noise and calling for more and more of the reality that Republicans no longer seem able to see. Their reality is other people’s money.
The PACs and major individual contributors on the right seem to favor hustlers.
— Newt Gingrich, who The Journal article says, “still owes $4.6M from his 2012 campaign;”
— Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign owed vendors of services and advertisements $1.7M that wasn’t paid off until 2013, and at that his creditors waived 40% to 50% of what they were owed;
— and more famously, Carly Fiorina, the model businesswoman, left behind a $500,000 debt for her 2010 attempt to unseat Barbara Boxer, leaving it unpaid until January of this year, just in time to allow her to declare her candidacy without being called out for being a deadbeat. She didn’t skip a beat, and went on to the Republican big time.
We have our local deadbeats, too. The city establishment is apparently reluctant to pay people of real talent. Architect Rob Quigley, called upon to design the stunning new Central Library, had to extend his services six months because of the city’s mishandling of the construction timetable. He’s filed a claim with the city’s Risk Management Department for some $140,000 or more he’s still owed — a necessary step before he has to go to court to collect for his work, according to The Reader‘s Dorian Hargove in his Oct. 16 story.
The modern-day saint of austerity, Ronald Reagan, watched deficits swell during his two presidential terms, raising the national debt from $1 to $3 Trillion (U.S. History.org). G.W. Bush left behind a budget for incoming President Obama that rose to a deficit of $1.3Trillion (Cato Institute, “Don’t Blame Obama for 2009 Deficit, Nov. 19, 2009). Obama has cut that deficit down by well more than half. (Reuters, “US fiscal year budget deficit narrows to $439Billion,” Oct. 15, 2015).
And on the local level, we have Mayor Kevin Faulconer and a Republican- dominated political class who established a committee to celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of the Panama Exhibition at Balboa Park and “spent $2.6 million in taxpayer funds with little to show but a stack of bills from consultants,” as KPBS explained that failure. To be sure the consultants will be hired again by the Republicans. San Diego is slow to learn its own history.
We like public relations, here, so long as it’s practiced by professional deadbeats with loose millions in their pockets. We’re so accustomed to hot air that even the well-funded mainstream Voice of San Diego can repeat it as Newspeak. They interviewed one of those hired shills working the supermarkets for developers who insist their huge mall project on Agua Hedionda Lagoon is environmental preservation. Infected by this propaganda, the Voice of San Diego writers wrote that this paid petitioneer “has been a professional signature gatherer for 15 years.” As if calling someone a professional proves he isn’t lying.
So, make ’em spend their money, Democrats. Force the Koch Bros. to cough up more than they’ve promised. Scare the money out of them. Make Kevin Faulconer find billionaires who’ll give money to the Spanos family so they can finagle a new Chargers Temple in the Valley, or the Harbor.
Call for financial regulation, the overthrow of Citizens United, the restoration of the firewall between investment banks and commercial banks that was the Glass-Steagal Act. Tell the Republicans you’ll raise the minimum wage, deliver 3 months of paid leave for birthing babies, repair the bridges and roads, put a tax on capital gains and transactions, make billionaires and corporations pay their share of taxes. Invest in human services and investigations of corporate fraud.
They may not have enough dollars to defeat that message. It may cost them, finally, too much in lawyers’ fees alone.