Monday, October 4, 2010

Mad Money


Sorry for the blockquote snafu. The links were correct but part of an excerpt was not. That's what I get for blogging in a hurry!


Who will be the winner of this electoral horse race?

All summer long we’ve been told that the Democrats are dooooomed, that we’re going to see a resurgent Republican Party in November. We’re getting fear porn about Obama impeachment hearings and House Republicans shutting down the government if they gain the majority.

But wait a minute. Now it looks like all of that Republican drape-measuring was a tad premature:
By now, Republicans had hoped to put away a first layer of Democrats and set their sights on a second tier of incumbents. But the fight for control of Congress is more fluid than it seemed at Labor Day, with Democrats mounting strong resistance in some parts of the country as they try to hold off a potential Republican wave in November.

The chances of a Republican takeover in the House remain far greater than in the Senate, according to a race-by-race analysis by The New York Times. But enough contests remain in flux that both parties head into the final four weeks of the campaign with the ability to change the dynamic before Election Day.

Over on the Senate, Republican takeover hopes look even more dim:

Senate Republicans expressed confidence they’d pick up at least six seats this fall, but were more careful in predicting results for seven other races that will determine the Senate majority.


A gain of six seats would be a nice boost for the Senate GOP, but would fall short of expectations for even greater gains. Republicans are competitive in another seven states where Senate seats are now held by Democrats, and Democrats would retain a 53-47 advantage if the GOP gains only six seats.

Wow, if you’d been listening to the corporate news media these past few months, you’d think a Republican takeover was a foregone conclusion. I wonder why that is?

Maybe it has something to do with this:

The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money - more than 90 percent - was disclosed along with donors' identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.

The trends amount to a spending frenzy conducted largely in the shadows.

The bulk of the money is being spent by conservatives, who have swamped their Democratic-aligned competition by 7 to 1 in recent weeks. The wave of spending is made possible in part by a series of Supreme Court rulings unleashing the ability of corporations and interest groups to spend money on politics. Conservative operatives also say they are riding the support of donors upset with Democratic policies they perceive as anti-business.

The 2010 midterms are on track to become the most expensive in our history, which is no big shocker. It is a feature, not a bug: the tighter the horse race, the more ads the campaigns need to buy. Tens of millions of dollars flooding into media coffers. And you wondered why we don’t have public financing of our elections! Silly, silly reader.

So who will be the winner of the 2010 midterms? Why the media, of course!