Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chamber of Commerce data

Common sense told me the Chamber of Commerce attack was all BS, but I never was sure how much so. Thanks to Jack Kelly, now I do:

Led by President Barack Obama, Democrats are trying to make campaign finance an issue, by charging — without a shred of evidence — that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funding its advertising campaign in part with foreign money.

The flimsy basis for this charge is the Chamber has overseas affiliates for which it charges dues. Revenue from these dues amounts to less than $100,000 a year. The Chamber's budget this year is about $200 million. The Chamber plans to spend about $50 million on independent advertising this year, mostly on behalf of Republicans.

So calling it BS was an undersell; this was a fairy tale of epic proportions.

Foreign revenue amounts to only 0.0005 (1/20 of 1%) of their overall budget, and .002 (1/5 of 1%) of their advertising budget this year (not all of which is on Republicans, so that overstates it some).

The president has established himself as a hyper-partisan attack dog, but even in that context this fable diminishes him and the office. This level of sleaze is best left for the Alan Graysons of the world.

Mr. President, you're better than that.

The entire column is worth a read, as he also addresses special interests and influence buying in elections. The, ummm, money quote:

The funding of our politics chiefly by special interests is one big reason why we're falling off a fiscal cliff. For an expenditure of millions, special interest groups — be they labor unions or Wall Street bankers — reap billions in taxpayer subsidies.

Our politicians respond more to the special interests which provide them with money than they do to constituents who can provide them only with votes.

This is the problem with the Leviathan state, and why it is the biggest threat to our freedom. It is way too easy to bribe politicians into stealing our money to pay back the bribers.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1994 v 2010

James Taranto opens his Tuesday BOTWT with an insightful comparison of the 1994 and 2010 political environments.

I was especially struck by this Gingrich-Obama parallel:

Speaker Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, had something of an Obama problem: Having run a stunningly successful campaign, he was too full of himself, overambitious and insufficiently disciplined to do his new job well.

Spot on.

Also, the obvious theme:

Some of the Democrats' biggest mistakes of 2010 have been the result of "learning the lessons of 1994." That year, the Dems failed to enact a ruinous and unpopular health-care "reform" package, and they got trounced in midterm elections. Somehow this year they convinced themselves that if they succeeded in enacting a ruinous and unpopular health-care "reform" package, things would turn out differently.

There is a staggering level of cognitive dissonance, and lack of self-awareness, in thinking that there is something wrong with the voters or their understanding of Obamacare.

The problem is the very idea. Americans would prefer to make their own medical and health decisions, not have them imposed by force by an overbearing federal government. That is something that is unlikely to change, given that decades of propaganda gone into selling the idea to multiple generations has failed.

Although I guess trying to make future generations dumber by giving teachers' unions free reign over education policy is a solid back up plan.

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