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Leadership PACs: The 2008 Republicans

On Wednesday we dissected the spending habits of the leadership political action committees associated with the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates. Today we turn our attention to the Republicans.

Before jumping into a candidate by candidate analysis, it's important to note that none of the Republican leadership PACs rival their Democratic counterparts in terms of depth of organization. New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's HILL PAC employs 26 staffers, ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC has 23. No GOP leadership PAC has even 10 employees. Sen. Bill Frist's Volunteer PAC leads the way with eight staffers, while Arizona Sen. John McCain's Straight Talk America comes in second with six salaried employees. Several top tier candidates like Virginia Sen. George Allen and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have no employees or just a few staffers on payroll.

The discrepancy on the staff level does not mean, however, that Republicans eyeing the 2008 race are any less active through their leadership PACs than Democrats. Frist, McCain, Romney and even New York Gov. George Pataki keep a number of consultants on their payroll to manage the day-to-day operations of preparing a presidential run. Several also use their leadership organizations to dole out dollars to candidates across the country with a special emphasis on early caucus and primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Frist's Volunteer PAC is the largest of these committees -- both in terms of infrastructure and the amount of cash flowing through it.

In addition to the eight staffers paid through VOLPAC, Frist has a number of his top advisers on the leadership PAC dime: He paid more than $100,000 to Catignani & Bond, the fundraising shop operated by Linus Catignani -- a longtime Frist operative -- in the first three months of the year; $33,000 went to Jim Dyke & Associates (Dyke signed on with Frist earlier this year) and better than $50,000 went to a lobbying firm where Alex Vogel -- perhaps Frist's closest political adviser -- is a partner.

Frist also spent heavily on direct mail costs in the first three months of the year: more than $550,000 in combined expenses for printing, postage and consulting fees. Much of this direct mail effort is aimed at developing a national network of small dollar donors who Frist can eventually tap as he readies for a 2008 bid.

No candidate aside from Clinton has come even close to matching Frist in terms of giving to candidates via a leadership PAC. Because Frist -- through VOLPAC -- had already given the legal limit to every Republican Senator up for re-election in 2006 before the year even began, he has focused much of his time on bundling contributions through the PAC to Senate candidates. VOLPAC has bundled $337,000 to Senate candidates in 2006 in addition to the hundreds of thousands it has spread to state and local candidates as well as state and national party committees so far this cycle.

The only leadership PAC to rival Frist's on the Republican side is McCain's Straight Talk America, which has grown into a major enterprise since the Arizona Senator re-formed it last summer. While Straight Talk employs just six full-time staff, its spending shows considerable depth and breadth.

Like Frist, McCain has a number of his expected 2008 inner circle on payroll as consultants. John Weaver, the Senator's chief political adviser, was paid $45,000 in the first three months of the year while Mike Dennehy, McCain's New Hampshire adviser, took in $33,000. Michigan-based Strategic Consulting and Design was paid $12,500 in political consulting fees. SC&D employs John Yob who is aiding the Senator's effort in the state.

McCain also spent heavily on fundraising consultants as he continued to build the national network of fundraisers who will help him raise the tens (and perhaps hundreds) of millions he needs to win the nomination. All told, Straight Talk spent more than $120,000 on fundraising consultants in the first three months of 2006.

Unlike the other leadership PACs run by some of his potential rivals, McCain has focused his donations from Straight Talk on state and local parties -- disbursing $144,000 to more than 20 state parties in the period. With an eye on 2008, these donations to often cash-strapped state parties are sure to win McCain some points among party activists across the country. Straight Talk also donated to a handful of federal candidates and committees: $25,000 went to a few House candidates, $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $5,000 to Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, who said earlier this year he would back McCain for president in 2008.

None of the other GOP presidential aspirants matched the activity of Frist and McCain in the quarter. Romney's Commonwealth PAC has just three full-time employees but does keep several consultants based in Massachusetts, Utah, New York and California on the payroll. The highest paid of that group was Boston-based SJZ LLC, which received $12,000 in consulting fees.

Unlike Frist or McCain, Romney maintains state political actions committees in Iowa, South Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire and Arizona through which he can raise and donate dollars to candidates in those particular states. Federal officeholders are banned from establishing such state PACs.

Allen's Good Government for America PAC was largely inactive during the first three months of 2006 as the Virginia senator battles to win a second term this November. The PAC did make nearly $40,000 in donations including a $1,000 contribution to South Carolina state Rep. Ralph Norman (R) who is challenging Rep. John Sprat in the 5th district.

Of the lesser-known candidates weighing a 2008 bid, Pataki's 21st Century Freedom Fund offered the most evidence of a presidential campaign in the making. Pataki paid $10,000 to New Hampshire-based Meridian Communications and another $3,000 to Iowa-based consultant Erik Helland.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 27, 2006; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

INTERVISTA AD ANTONELLO DE PIERRO
Da Napolitano alle liti per le poltrone nel governo Prodi, all'Iraq, al sistema elettorale, all'economia.Il ''depierro pensiero''.

Angelo M. D'Addesio

*Iniziamo con le notizie politiche di questi giorni. La scelta di Napolitano come Capo dello Stato è condivisibile, giusta oppure si configuravano alternative possibili e se sì quali?

Sì, penso che Napolitano sia stata la scelta giusta, a dispetto dell'anzianità, anche perché vista la situazione che si era venuta a creare non poteva essere D'Alema, l'uomo giusto, avendo fatto la campagna elettorale per un determinato schieramento. Gianni Letta è stato sempre al suo posto, ma non dimentichiamo che è stato al centro dei fondi neri dell'IRI negli anni '70 e quindi non era una figura credibile al momento. Mi ha fatto male vedere i 42 voti a Bossi, che è leader di uno schieramento che fa i raduni sul Po e cantava con i suoi seguaci la canzone "Abbiamo un sogno nel cuore, bruciare il Tricolore...". Parlo di Bossi perché è stato il secondo più eletto. Penso che Napolitano è una buona figura, che sicuramente riuscirà ad essere al di sopra delle parti.

*Il Governo Prodi. Dopo la vittoria risicata che durata potrà avere questo governo e soprattutto come si risolveranno i diverbi interni ai DS o il nodo Mastella-Bonino per il Ministero della difesa?

Come durata mi auguro che sia di cinque anni pieni. Diciamo che le liti sono più nell'ambito dell'Ulivo, nel partito "unico". Sembra che qualcuno abbia attribuito a D'Alema, la frase e la volontà di una doppia vicepresidenza del Consiglio, con Rutelli. Non sarà così. La vicepresidenza andrà, a mio parere, a Rutelli. Non sono d'accordo sulla scelta di Rutelli, in tempi passati ho trovato molto da ridire sul comportamento politico di Rutelli.

*E sulla questione Bonino-Mastella?

Sicuramente vedo molto meglio Mastella alla Difesa. La Bonino alla Difesa sarebbe una scelta contraddittoria, viste le battaglie pacifiste che la Bonino ha condotto in questi anni con i Radicali, Rutelli in primis. Non dimentichiamo il trasformismo esasperato di Rutelli, dai Radicali ai Verdi, per poi genuflettersi in Vaticano, passando alla Margherita.

*Rimanendo sull'argomento pace-guerra. A fine giugno dovrebbe esserci il rifinanziamento delle missioni in Iraq ed Afghanistan. Il governo Prodi avrà la volontà di svincolarsi dalle missioni oppure seguirà i propositi del governo Berlusconi?

Io mi auguro di no. Innanzitutto la missione in Afghanistan è stata ben diversa. Quella in Iraq è stata una missione di guerra, perché gli italiani hanno partecipato a diverse operazioni di guerra.
E' eclatante il caso di Nassiriya. Lì sono di stanza gli italiani e ci sono gli stabilimenti dell'ENI che gli italiani hanno protetto durante la missione.

*Quali sono le possibili soluzioni politiche per risolvere questi nodi cruciali legati alle missioni in Iraq?

Io spero si trovi una soluzione che non sarà comunque facile, vista la situazione creatasi in Iraq. Penso che sia però il momento di ritirare i soldati dall'Iraq. C'è da sottolineare comunque il cinismo aberrante che accompagna il cordoglio per la morte dei militari italiani, dalla tragedia di Nassiriya. Berlusconi disse all'epoca "E' come se fosse morto mio figlio". Suo figlio non era lì, purtroppo o per fortuna e sono parole e frasi fatte. Il fatto di considerare i morti in terminI di mera contabilità di un bollettino di guerra dovrebbe far riflettere. Dietro ogni morto c'è una tragedia familiare che segna per tutta la vita.

*Si parla di Partito Democratico e di Casa dei Moderati. Eppure le formazioni sono molto disomogenee, la sinistra radicale va per conto suo. Saranno possibili queste elaborazioni in termini bipolari e quali saranno i tempi per queste soluzioni?

E' una bella domanda. Io sono contrario all'unione DS-Margherita. Sarebbe il tramonto dell'ideologia. Questo già esiste, però se qualcuno ha ancora delle idee, ci troveremmo di fronte ad un'unica lista formata da coloro che combattevano, verbali o meno, ovvero democristiani e comunisti, la vecchia maggioranza ed opposizione. E' come se in futuro si unissero Berlusconi e Prodi. Dall'altro lato la Casa dei Moderati è surreale. Nel centro-destra non ci sono moderati, per il sol fatto di aver accettato l'alleanza con la Lega Nord che è sempre stata contraria e lontana dallo spirito democratico e di moderazione. Fino a quando ci saranno certe alleanze, sarà difficile una Casa dei Moderati.

*In riferimento al sistema proporzionale come le pensa?

Ecco in riferimento a ciò è bene ricordare che l'art. 1 dice che "L'Italia è una repubblica democratica fondata sul lavoro". In realtà l'Italia è stata fondata più sul denaro, sulla ricchezza, che non sul lavoro. E' stata più che altro una plutocrazia e non una democrazia, non di certo un governo del popolo. In questo senso la legge elettorale è stata un attentato alla democrazia. Non dare neppure la possibilità all'elettore di scegliere il proprio candidato, ma imporre candidature come quelle di Previti, peraltro arrestato in questi giorni o Dell'Utri che si è avvantaggiato di una legge ad personam, altrimenti avrebbe dovuto scontare due anni e sei mesi rende l'idea di come questa legge sia da rivedere, completamente.

*Il tema scottante del lavoro. Veltroni ha riabilitato la Legge Biagi, ha detto che è da riformare, ma non da bocciare completamente. Altri la considerano l'apice e la causa prima del precariato in Italia. Che posizione ha sulla Legge Biagi?

Non dimentichiamo che questa situazione è stata determinata in parte dal centro-sinistra. Bisogna invertire la rotta. Non dimentichiamo che il centro-sinistra introdusse i c.d. "Co.Co.Co.", ora spariti per fortuna, per poter pagare i periodi di prova. Gli stessi sono stati strumentalizzati, infatti circa tre anni fa si arrivò a circa 2 milioni e 700 mila Co.Co.Co. Vorrei sottolineare un evento abbastanza importante su questo argomento.

*Prego.

Al Ministero dei Trasporti c'è una centrale operativa, che risponde agli utenti che hanno a che fare con la Motorizzazione Civile, occupandosi dei dati sensibili di tutti i cittadini. Prima l'appalto del call-center era stato dato ad una ditta privata. E' qualcosa di assolutamente sbagliato affidare i dati sensibili di milioni di italiani ad una ditta che può passare la mano ad altre ditte, in barba alla legge sulla privacy. Tutto ciò non è affidabile. Circa tre anni fa, in proposito feci una trasmissione in Radio su Radio Roma, in cui si parlava del Co.Co.Co, come incostituzionale, perché prevedeva una situazione contraria all'art. 4 della Costituzione, perché prevedeva un lavoro da dipendente con le non garanzie del libero professionista. Nel caso del Ministero la nuova ditta che venne impose questo trattamento e c'era chi lavorava lì da 15 anni ed a 40 anni si vide costretta ad accettare.

*E' il caso di rivedere tutto, di attuare una vera riforma.

Adesso ci sono i "contratti a progetto". C'è un futuro nel segno del precariato e dell'incertezza. Sono aumentati i divorzi e sono diminuiti i matrimoni. Questo è uno degli effetti collaterali di questa situazione. Oggi un giovane non può neppure comprare una cosa, perché è necessario impegnare una busta paga per un mutuo o un affitto. Una volta si diceva "Ho trovato lavoro" o "Sono Disoccupato" oggi si dice "Lavoro, ma non so cosa farò". C'è una grande incertezza. Non si parla più tanto di usura in questi tempi, non so se è notato, ma anche questo è un altro effetto collaterale indiretto che bisognerebbe approfondire e che è conseguenza di tale sistema. Berlusconi aveva promesso 1 milione di posti di lavoro, ma se sono questi, ha vinto la scommessa, ma il lavoro è un'altra cosa.

*Faccio l'avvocato del diavolo. L'impresa italiana è in crisi. La concorrenza asiatica è molto forte. La grande impresa sceglie la strada della vendita o svendita o della fusione all'estero. La piccola impresa è strozzata e quindi o sceglie la strada della flessibilità o cede al lavoro nero? Cosa è meglio e cosa il peggio?

Lavoro significa stabilità futura e lavoro è un diritto costituzionale. Lo Stato ha il dovere di tutelare il lavoro, ma mi sembra che lo stia piuttosto calpestando. Un lavoratore che mette su famiglia, lavorando in tre mesi e per altri tre mesi non lavora più, può essere schiacciato dall'usura. Si parla di mobbing, senza che ci siano però una legge adeguata. Ho partecipato ad un convegno sul Mobbing, constatando che una legge seria si attende da anni. Solo la Regione Lazio ha varato una legge regionale, fu un consigliere di Forza Italia a presentarla, Claudio Fucci, ma fu bocciata dalla Consulta su istanza del Governo Berlusconi, cosa abbastanza curiosa. Tornando al mobbing, questo tipo di impostazione del sistema lavoro, presta il fianco al mobbing. Lavoratori con contratti di più durata sfrutteranno quelli con contratti precari
E' una situazione da ribaltare, magari con incentivi alle imprese che possano assicurare contratti a tempo determinato e con grosse penalizzazioni per le imprese che mantengono la vergogna dei contratti precari.

*Passiamo alla politica estera. Si dice che il binomio Usa-Italia è destinato a concludersi con l'avvento del governo Prodi che guarderà verso altri modelli ed altre collaborazioni. E' possibile che l'Italia si rifaccia al modello spagnolo o a quello francese, ad esempio nel campo dei diritti civili. E' vero che finirà anche il binomio Italia-Usa.

Io guarderei prima al mio orticello. Prima risolverei i problemi interni. La Spagna di Zapatero sicuramente, per quello che si sente, sta rinascendo dopo gli otto anni di governo Aznar. Se parliamo dei diritti civili, se vogliamo chiamarli così, io posso essere d'accordo personalmente con i PACS, ma non con le unioni omosessuali. Per giunta nella cattolicissima Spagna. E' un po' una contraddizione. In paesi come il Brasile forse non si arriverà mai ai matrimoni gay.
Quanto al rapporto con gli Usa, spero che possano continuare, ma attenzione, devono essere rapporti di scambi reciproci e non di sudditanza. Il Governo Berlusconi si è piegato al governo degli Usa. Lo stesso partito di Forza Italia ha una visione servilistica, Berlusconi ha impostato il suo modello con gli Usa allo stesso modo, ovvero servi del volere di Bush.
Quanto ai diritti civili, gli Usa stessi hanno molto da imparare, se pensiamo agli innocenti che aspettano il giudizio solo perché non possono pagare le spese legali. Si parlava poi di mercato con l'estero. Se penso alla Cina che è lo stato che vanta al mondo il maggior numero di esecuzioni capitali. Ebbene, fino a quando non ci sarà uno standard di rispetto dei diritti umani, io frenerei l'espansione commerciale ed economica della Cina verso l'Occidente.

*Le chiederei un parere sulla vicenda Calcio. Tema banale, ma saltato agli occhi della cronaca, della politica.

Io sono sconcertato da quello che è successo. Siamo abituati a situazioni poco pulite dell'universo Calcio. Situazioni poco chiare ci sono state anche in altri sport ed in altri organismi. Il Calcio è un gioco. Quando il Calcio diventa business, con squadre quotate in borsa ed altro. Non dimentichiamo i crack di Cagnotti e Tanzi. Dove c'è business si vengono a creare situazioni che permettono alle persone di arricchirsi illecitamente. Negli altri sport non esiste ancora tutto questo. Pensiamo al Calcio dei grandi valori, al grande Torino, perito a Superga, con grandi calciatori che giocavano per un premio-partita che poteva essere un cappotto.
Questo non dovrebbe accadere. E' il caso di fare vera pulizia e che i magistrati vadano veramente fino in fondo per punire pesantemente i reati che sono stati commessi e dare una lezione a questi signori. Fra questi c'è anche Carraro e mi dispiace che sia stato sindaco anche a Roma, una città bella, rinata. Mi fa scemare un po' di orgoglio di essere romano.

*Ultimo punto. Cosa dovrebbe fare un governo, in questo caso, il Governo Prodi, non dico in cento giorni, ma con estrema urgenza almeno nei prossimi sei mesi. Tre priorità su cui intervenire.

Prima di tutto la scuola. Soprattutto dopo la riforma Moratti che svalutato la scuola pubblica. Bisogna dare a tutti l'accesso alla scuola pubblica, al sapere che è il segno distintivo di un popolo. Altra cosa su cui operare la sanità. Un esempio è il modello tedesco è molto avanti. Si paga una tassa più elevata, ma in Germania viene tutto rimborsato, visite private comprese. Conosco un caso spaventoso di un barbone dimenticato su una lettiga fuori dall'Ospedale di Ostia. La tutela della salute è un diritto da non calpestare che favorisce anche una società più laboriosa. Infine va rivisto completamente il sistema lavoro, a partire dalle assunzioni.


Antonello De Pierro, giornalista, direttore del portale di informazione nazionale Italymedia e da tempo impegnato nel giornalismo di denuncia sociale. Ha collaborato per "La Stampa" e "L'Opinione", ha diretto nel 2003 il mensile "Nuove proposte" ed ha condotto programmi nel circuito tv Stream, oltre che essere un assiduo ideatore di trasmissioni per Radio Roma ed altre emittenti locali nel Lazio. Oggi è molto attivo nel giornalismo on line e nell'informazione telematica grazie al sito di informazione da lui diretto Italymedia.it

Posted by: ufficio stampa | August 16, 2006 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Here it is, May 21, so I am going to update a few comments. This was posted: "Hasn't Dr Rice indicated she is NOT running? And the PAC you mentioned is not controlled by her, but by an outside agency seeking to support her? When she forms a PAC seeking election she will be added to the rosters. When she tells her platform many of us will support her. Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006"

Condi was on Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday, doing her job as the head of the State Department. I see it as the perfect apprenticeship; she is forming relationships with world leaders, showing that she has the strength to hold her own in any debate, and that she has knowledge in how to handle various situations.

When she decides to run, she will make international headlines and I am sure it will not be until 2007 when the offical money raising season starts for the 2008 election cycle. Right now, she is totally fixed on doing her job, and if she help President Bush settle turmoil in the Middle East, stabilize Iraq, neutralize Iran, and bring the UN into the Darfur region to stop the genocide, after all of this, she will look at the lay of the land and possibly decide she will run.

Did you see the recent Time magazine which gives Condi the title, "Master of the Universe"? She is a remarkable woman and the Republican party would be well-served if she runs for president.

Posted by: Tina | May 21, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

how about directly talking about issues?

enough with spanking your monkies..

Posted by: kool aid, liberal, neocon... | May 3, 2006 12:48 AM | Report abuse

That Kool-Aid you have been drinking could be hazardous to your health Connie.

Posted by: maria | May 1, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

is money.


they make $4 dollars a day in Mehico.


the reason Mehico is lobbying congress and using your former NM senator to do that is because


Mehicans living in da United States of America illegally send their money home to Mehico, where they can live like kings....they just want your money and your jobs....they don't want citizen ship...

they're waving Mexican flags until their supporters that are American told them that might be defeating their purposes...

am I against Mehicans, no.


I am against illegal aliens that steal jobs, money, and take social services from citizens....

I lived in Reston, VA and asked my realtor to find someone to paint my house....I got a crew of 5 people...illegals

do you think anyone missed out on getting work on that one?

I've seen an entire apartment complex built within 3 miles of CIA headquarters off of VA 123...with a crew of illegals, electricians, carpenters, heavy equipment...blah blah blah


your middle class, lower class and marginalized citizens are being outbid by people that are willing to live five men in an apartment and send


DOLLEROS home to mechico, or el salbador, or wherever

Posted by: the reason illegals are here.. | April 30, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

it must be either the democrats or republicans right?


sure...it is:

the point you don't want to hear....


and it's actually the most important one to be made.


it's also one the president should be making...


gas prices are really not the issue...


coping with them is.


it's the media that is ignoring them, the corporate mindset...that has brought us to this point in time....

and you're the hamsters on the wheel.


but you got put there.


downsizing, outsourcing, moving factories overseas, internationalization


no predictable future........


IF Jimmy Carter had been listened to some years ago,

there's a good chance we wouldn't be in Iraq and that France would be our best friend...


because we wouldn't be trying to control the world so you could get cheap gas...


the $9,000 plus in credit card debt that is part or every American household

now, with savings at the lowest level in 73 years...


is part and parcel of a federal and corporate structure that victimizes it's people....


we just passed antibankruptcy laws to protect the corporations, we just passed laws to allow not paying for overtime, for the corporations


that was your governments loving commitment to you, to ignore you.


the economy, the "occupation," the "gas crisis?" are really not

_your_


fault....


it's corporate america's and the federal governments problem...


they got us there...

unregulated outsourcing and corporations moving overseas,


CEO's downsizing, looting and selling the companies to internationals

that owe citizenry of any country that they work from


.....NOTHING.....


have changed the face of the United States from healthy, unafraid of the future, every child gets a better life than what their parents had to this:

a worn out, afraid, tired, but constantly working, buying what they don't need because it replaces a _need_ in them to actually have a life...


I'll tell you something,


it's not your fault.


The Iraq "war" fraud.

is not your fault...but they're deducting $30 a month from your seniors _fixed_ medicare benefits monthly to pay for it....


Exxon CEO retires with 380 efffffffing million....secret conferences with Cheyney, unsworn into congress CEO's...


You want to change your life, look at what is going on.

and do something about it....


by requiring your government and corporations to be _at least_ as responsible for the mess

WE


are in....


you can say, this isn't a world that I chose to create,

because that is the truth...


any intelligent person would have found an alternative energy by now.

and so on...

Posted by: what's really going on? | April 30, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

stand up to attack while the administration that she is fronting, no tleading coninues robbing the store...

.

Posted by: actually condi is someone that has been in ttraining to | April 30, 2006 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Just found this site about the 2008 election, focus on female political leaders, out of a list of 8.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/4/prweb378430.htm

This is from 45 states, polling of 13,000 college students with
Condi at 39% out of 4,958
Hill at 31% out of 3,927
Kay B Hutchison only 763

The ALPHA woman, the dominatrix so to speak in Condi and I loved her in those boots last year on a trip to a US military base in Germany. Is the US ready for a self-confident woman who has made it on her own in the world without a husband and his coattails or a daddy paying her way?

I like Condi for standing up for strong foreign policy, strong national defense, and for her leadership. She is a 3 TON elephant in the room ready to squash any other candidate if she decides to enter the 2008 race. She is a threat to the Democrats as well, and you all know what I am talking about, brother.

Posted by: Tina | April 29, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Connie,

So you like Dr Rice because she supported the president and you dislike McCain because he expressed views different from the president?

Do you think that Dr Rice would just be a continuation of existing Bush policies?

Where do you think she stands on religious involvment in the government?

Posted by: Dan W | April 28, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The $100 or even $1000 donated today goes to Republicans who are supported for the 2008 race. Kerry is not the candidate, and neither is Bush. It is like an investment, so if Republicans care to get involved now in the choice of a presidential candidate for 2008, they are free to do that. The PACS are like an exploratory committee and if some candidate raises $10 million or more, then I think they would be viable to run by December 2007. Building a base of support in Iowa and New Hamsphire takes money for chairman in those states and holding events to build up support and get the name of their candidate on the ballot or ready to stand up in the caucus in Iowa.
$10 million is a decent amount to raise, and that would give Republicans like Allen, Frist, Guiliani, or Rice a chance to compete. If they raise more, fine with me as long as they list the donations correctly.

Posted by: Tina | April 28, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Why Condi? For me, I do not like McCain and his lack of team effort to help get things done for the Republican party. And he jumps in front of the camera any time he could in the past 6 years to smack the President. Sort of payback for 2000, I guess. Now, the reason I support Condi is that she is supporting President Bush and represents him on foreign policy; getting things done for our nation. When I saw her arrive in Iraq with Jack Straw of England during the first week of April, it was dramatic to consider the visit was important to get the Iraq parliment to get their new government organized. She stayed for 2 days, meeting with many leaders. Now she flew in on another C-130 on the same day as Rumsfeld to meet the new chosen Prime Minister. So the job is getting done with the efforts of leadership from Secretary Rice. (I admired Colin Powell too and wanted him to run for president in 1996, but as Secretary of State, he undermined Bush too many times). As a strong Republican, I have looked at the long list of other Republicans running for president (we all know their names) and I do not support them, nor would I invest in them with my own money. Condi is the only person for 2008 that I have donated too. She is a strong leader, referred to as a VULCAN, so that makes her a hawk, not a dove. More in tune with President Bush, and she is on his team with loyality, dedication, and complete focus to help him in the next 2 years to complete his job. Democrats like to pound on her in their continued effort to beat up on President Bush. She is a fiscally sound person who handled her job as Provost of Stanford Univ, and won the hearts of the other employees. So until the votes get started in January 2008, I am on board "Starship Condi".

Posted by: Connie | April 28, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Blue88: I don't think as many Reds would stay home as you think. Plus it doesn't really matter. As you have said, McCain has broad support from across the board.

Lets look at the numbers:
Assuming the 123 million voters in 2004

Reps:(33% of Voters)
Stay Home: 50% (16.5% of Voters)=20.295 million
McCain: 50% (16.5% of Voters)=20.295 million
Dem: 0

Ind: (33% of Voters)
McCain: 50% (16.5% of Voters)=20.295 million
Dem: 50% (16.5% of Voters)=20.295 million

Dem: (33% of Voters)
McCain: 25% (8.25% of Voters)=10.147 million
Dem:75% (24.75%.voters)=30.442 million

If McCain can convert half his Dem supporters into votes and if ALL the Reps that are against him stay home then:

McCain: 50.737
Dem: 50.737

So this is the "Tie" scenario. But it assumes that EVERY Rep that doesn't support McCain stays home and that the Independents against him vote Dem instead of third party.

If McCain manages to keep ALL his Dem Favorables he wins 60.9 million to 40.6 million. Roughly 60% to 40%.

Posted by: Dan W | April 28, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised by a poll on CNN yesterday. It showed that McCain had only like a 49% approval rating. Where 2008 Democrats and other Republicans have a lopsided approval from their own party and other party like 80% from own party compared to 20% amongst other party. This was not so with McCain. He has cross the board around 47 to 49% approval rating amongst Dems, Independents, and Repubs. Of course McCain's lack of support from his party and the strength he runs amongst Dems, and Independents is not new, but it made me think of something. Bush beat Kerry in 04 primarly by bringing his base out to vote. Kerry beat him amongst Independents. The number of registered Dems and Republicans are about equal across the country so Bush turned out his base. He did so by having far right evangelical measures across key states to ban same-sex marriage. McCain with his lack of support from his party will most likey be unable to have his base turn out. To get them to turn out he would most likely have to support an out of mainstream far right measure and pick an ultraconservative right wing VP like Sam Brownback and this will lose him support amongst Independents. In all, I think Dems are in a better position than people think if McCain is nomiated. He may win the Independent vote, but where we will beat him is at his own base. Our base will turnout and his will stay home causing us to win the election. It does not matter if McCain is more liked overall or across the board. In today's polarized political landscape that does not matter only turning out your base matters.

Posted by: Blue88 | April 28, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Colin,

ditto - I would just say teh Bush Administration has proven to be a bit more retaliatory than other Administrations - Senator Collins appears adept at picking her battles -

Senator Snow is another NE Republican who should be a tad bit more independent - remember the Right wing Republicans eat their own - Remember when they tried to keep Senator Hutchison out of the convention because of hr views on abortion?

Knowing how to pick your battles is part of being a smart politico

Bobby Wightman-Cervnates

Posted by: BObby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Bobby - Your point is well taken and I don't dispute that her voting record - in the aggregate - is in fact quite moderate. However, I think that what is interesting is WHEN she chooses to break from the Bush administration.

For any GWB priority, Collins (along with Specter and the other Republican moderates)is always ready to supply her vote when the administration needs it. Only when the administration already has a 5 vote cushion is she then, generally, willing to vote against an administration priority.

My point, incidentally, is not that Collins is a bad Senator or that I don't respect her far more than the vast majority of national republicans today. It's simply that I wish she really was as independent as you seem to think she is. The country would be better off if we still had NE Republicans like Warren Rudman and William Cohen...

Posted by: Colin | April 27, 2006 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Colin,

sorry for the delay in responding - you know votes mean nothing to me in the bigger picture -

I watched the entire FEMA hearings - she allowed for the worse of the worse evidence against the Bush Administration in without game playing - she got to teh truth- this blew me away

I have no interest in chekcing on her voting record - I know enough about Maine that if she were just a Bush lapdog the people one Maine would toss her a stick into a Hurricane and say "go fetch"

BObby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Bobby - you often mention how much you like Susan Collins. Would you mind articulating why? From my own (partisan) perspective, she almost always toes the line of the current (and very conservative) administration whenever her vote would actually be meaningful and only breaks from her party's platform where they don't really need the vote. That's a good way to make yourself LOOK independent but functionally I don't see how that really qualifies as leadership.

I'd be interested to hear how/if I'm wrong on this and don't mean any disrespect by the question. For what it's worth, I also think Bill Richardson ought to be at the top of the Democratic Party's Presidential short list. He or Mark Warner would make an outstanding President who could unite the country...

Posted by: Colin | April 27, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Dan W.

somedays I do not take my meds and allow my anger to get the better of me - those are probably the posts you are edgy about -

You know when people hold basic values in common it is amazing how easy it is to get people to change their original opinion to a better consensus opinion.

Knowledge is very fluid and people who are truly open minded and intelligent understand that their position is always subject to change based on the input of new information.

It is time we unite against the PACS and big money - I am convinced that someone like Bill Richards could united with someone like Susan Collins for VP as Independents, Democrats or Republicans and take the election without PAC money -

do I agree with either of them on everything? No. But I trust they will guide our country in a moral and honorable way in which I can say "I am proud to be an American."

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: BObby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Bobby, I think you are my new candidate for pres. I don't quite agree with everything on your site but I can probably live with those as we agree on the princples.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I got a person who asked me a question. When will Condi run for president? It will definitely be some time after the November 2006 election, and depending on what her job approval is, (right now it is 55%), she will see what the lay of the land shows for her to run or not. I think the reason those Condi groups are organized and speaking up now is to keep a place in line for Condi in the long list of contenders to seek the 2008 race. She might have considered that she could not fly to Iowa for a chicken dinner and then go to Moscow on foriegn policy without jeopardizing her ability to speak on behalf of the president while she was also trying to replace him in the next adminstration. A lot can happen in another year, and I will probably consider her more of a viable candidate if she came out some time in March or April 2007 with her intended path for the future.

Posted by: Jennifer | April 27, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Dan W. I like your idea - might I suggest Chris ask every candidate what it means to be an American - then we as a people can say hey I agree with that - then we measure their sincerity with comparing their policy positions with what they say it means to be an American - if their policy positions are in conflict with their definition of what it means to be an American then we know they are all caca-

Is this not better than allowing PAC money to drive the election.

Here is my definition of being an American.

http://www.balancingtheissues.com/being_an_american.htm

Now what does being an American mean to the candidates?

It is time to make the content of the character of the candidate the main factor and then trust their decision making based on their character - we will never agree on all issues -

VOTE NO TO PAC CANDIDATES

BObby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Anybody keeping an eye on the 527 reform bill in the House? Members of Congress can fly on a $30,000 charter but only pay the price of a first class ticket, so that puts them out of the loop of average people. But if I owned that charter and wanted to fly a group to Iowa to promote a candidate, I bet I would be forced to file paperwork and it would be over my limit of $25,000 in the new reform bill. So if I am a business person, and a US Citizen, why can't I use my assets to influence politics? Wes Boyd and his wealthy wife used their own millions to start up Moveon.org, and they have tried to influence politics. So why not restrict them as much as any other 527?

Posted by: Angela | April 27, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I have watched the exchange between Mike and drindl and others with interest but been reluctant to insert myself.

We often cast wide nets and offer off-the-cuff comments, solutions etc. on the topics. Mike has, through personal experience brought an issue into specific light.

I will say that, like in any other workplace, public employees are generally middle class, hard working people. Most never set any tax policy, only elected officials and their top administrative and executive staff ever comes near these issues. I believe that there is, especially in times of economic woes, a poor persepctive cast about those who happen to be paid with public dollars. Anyone, who works anywhere, gets paid with "our" collective money. Whether taxes, or our personal spending, the wealth of the nation circulates past us all. I think it is unfair to single out a specific group. I agree that politicians and political appointees should be held accountable and they generally are at election time.

As far as immigrants, legal and otherwise, we are looking at a issue of such magnitude that flippant answers will not solve. I will say that there ultimtely be no way to transport 11-15 million people out of this country without costing ourselves a lot more money than some perceive they are costing us by staying.

I will further say, as I have before, that building a fence or wall is bad politics. America, the home of the free, does not build walls- we tear them down.

For full disclosure, I am a public employee and not a typical democrat or liberal.

Posted by: RMill | April 27, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Bobby,

The only way to kick the PACS is to make them obsolete. To make the Ads unnecessary by educating people on the candidates.

There are what 60 people who regularly post here. While not a statistical sample of the country, we know each other well enough to know there are some sharp divides amongst us.

Choose a candidate to discuss pros and cons. Might as well start with Dr Rice since we have one of her supporters in our midst.

Connie, Why should we support Dr Rice. What makes her such a strong candidate. Can you give real examples?

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

No, Mike, I'm not a public employee. Never have been . Came from a poor family, worked hard all my life, finally by middle age had a comfortable income, then got cancer and lost my job, my health insurance and savings. Mu husband is self-employed and we're struggling to get by, with a teenage daughter and lots of debt.

Is that a typical liberal? I think it's more like a typical American. I don't think illegals have a right to anything in this country. In fact, I agree with you. But the reason they are here is because big business WANTS them here. Which is why a lot of us are praying that Democrats will return to their roots and start supporting American workers, instead of transnational corporations. Because you can be sure Republicans never will. As Truman said, 'Republicans are for the rich -- always have been, always will be.'

And today, the rich are the multinationals who have no allegiance, no loyalty and no accountability to any country. And the fact is, they don't care what happens to America. It's just one more market. And when it goes down the tubes, they'll just move on.

Posted by: Drindl | April 27, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I am reading all of this anger and frustration directed at one another and it seems to me this is why our government is failing us.

Redirecting back to Political Money and the GOP - how do we as a people take back a government which we as a people have adandoned to PACS and money?

Until we use common sense and focus on general morals for the country the PACS are going to drive this country into the ground.

Mike is correct about how people like Bill Gates are looking for cheap labor in terms of engineers - but he is wrong about Salem Oregon in part - if they are living in Salem they are paying taxes - it may be the owner of the apartment paying the property taxes but they are getting the money from the illegals - last time I checked when you go to Walmart they do not ask if you are an illegal before deciding to charge you taxes. So we know how much it costs to educate them - now tell me how much they pay in taxes -

if you cannot answer this question then you have no way of knowing if they cost more than they contribute. The real problem is in the border communities wherein they live in Mexico and use our schools for free - that must stop- just pull their visas -

So while we remain divided on these issues, in part based on myths and talking points put out by the clowns on talk radio - the PACS destroy our country.

I say we use the information Chris provided us today and e-mail each of these potential candidates and say - "We will never vote for PAC money." Learn to run your campaign on our $50.00 donations - the election belongs to the people and not the PACS

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com
Brownsville, Texas

PS I am sorry if my orginal post caused the issue to be highjacked

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Colin,I said troop RE-enlistment is up, so check the news reports. That is a fact.

The people do not want to got back to the 2004 election and put Kerry in charge, so they might have changed their mind about Bush and the war, but that does not mean they want Kerry as the replacement or any other Democrat now. We have an election for president every 4 years, not called by a vote of NO confidence like in London or Canada. That guy in Canada just got elected about 1 year and 6 months ago, but he just got dumped and replaced by a conservate Stephen Harper. And Schroeder of Germany got dumped and replaced by a strong conservative leader, Angela Merkel.
So if Condi wants to run, fine, let her. If not, I would like her as VP.

Posted by: Connie | April 27, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Condi has been interviewed repeatedly over the past year about running for president. I think the biggest story was from Fred Barnes asked for the President to consider his THIRD term, to consider replacing Cheney with Condi. That way, it lays the foundation for her to run as the heir apparent, and the legacy of Bush would be President Condi.
So it is interesting to see that story was picked up by a British newspaper recently. Somebody referred to Eisenhower, and that sounds like the only way to get her to run is collecting signtures in New Hampshire and South Carolina to make sure her name is on the ballot for the early 2008 primary in those states. IF she has support in Iowa, that is half the battle to defeat weak candidates like Hagel and Frist.

Posted by: Sandra | April 27, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Connie, I'm not a part of any antiwar group. I loathe them. I have a son in Iraq. I also want us out of Iraq. I do not pretend to understand why Bush felt we needed to invade Iraq in the first place, but anyone with a basic understanding of that region could (and likely, DID) tell him what would be the result. The Shia, the Sunni, the Kurds, the Turkmen, all hate each other with a bitterness no one here can quite understand. Each group has designs on the oil wealth of the other. Right now, as in TODAY, large groups of Shia militia are invading the Kurdish enclaves in the North, claiming the oil there as a part of the new Iraq they govern. In the far North, the Turkish government has been steadily infiltrating Turkmen militia into Iraq with her own design on the oil fields around Mosul. The immediate future for Iraq is disintegration, civil war, and deaths for millions. And it won't be Al Qaida. It will be native Iraqi's, propped up by surrounding countries waiting to pick the bones clean. Trapped in the middle of this mess are a few brave and badly used and misled American soldiers. Equally misled and outright lied to are the American people. The U.S. military isn't even close to meeting their recruitment goals. They are, again as of right now, taking the unprecedented steps of forcing soldiers with critical skills to server under a completely different branch of the service than the one they enlisted under. You have nurses, Army nurses mind you like my own son, serving as combat medics for the Marines, Air Force mechanics serving as diesel engine mechanics for the Army, etc.

We can stay in Iraq for a hundred years. We could loose tens of thousands of our children and we will not change one thing. Once we leave, whenever we leave, Iraq will explode in a bloodbath of murder and reprisals, will degenerate into another Somalia, and will in the end be ripped to pieces by the surrounding countries and might just destabilize the entire Middle East. This is all a fact and there isn't anything we can do about it. Our idiot, straight C student blueblood President dragged the entire Western world down the road to Armageddon and wasting more American lives and money isn't going to fix it. Sometimes you simply have to admit you made a huge blunder and just quit. It's what ordinary, honest, decent men and women do every day. It's a lesson our "representatives", all of them, could learn

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Connie -- great evidence about how the war was useful for Bush in 2004. Have you noticed that people's opinions have changed? Judging from your "evidence" I gather that the answer is 'No'. FYI - troop recruitment is down not up and that's despite HUGE increases in retention bonuses.

Incidentally, when Bush caves in to political presure and drastically reduces troop numbers this summer will that also be a "cut and run" mentality. Oh right - the answer is no b/c HE is a republican and therefore always right.

Posted by: Colin | April 27, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

President Bush steamrolled over Kerry in 2004 with staying in Iraq, and that is probably why he won 3 million more votes than Kerry in 2004. The re-enlistment of troops is higher than forecast and that shows that of the military who have served a term, they are motivated to keep serving and protecting our nation. The naysayers who want us out of Iraq would be the first to complain after the Al Quada slaughtered most of the 25 million people in Iraq. Yes, there are 3,000 dead Iragi people, and yes, it is sad they had their eyes gouged out and were tortured by Al Quada thugs, but what do you want us to do? Leave the Iraq civilians to be brutalized like Rwanda and Bosnia? The world demanded the UN move in to clean up after hundreds of people were slaughtered in Rwanda, and you know that is true. The pacifists got their chance to vote against the war, and they voted for Kerry and he lost. So that is the reason why the Democrats offer a "cut and run" mentality, they are controlled by the isolationists and the liberals who showed their power by sending $50 million to Howard Dean in 2003. Yes, Howard Dean was the King of the antiwar Democrats, and he raised $50 million to finance his failed raise. He lost, Kerry lost, and now the 2008 campaign has begun with the Democrats still joined to the hip with the antiwar groups.

Posted by: Connie | April 27, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, I am also quite willing to talk about illegals and most legals, too. We have Bill Gates up on Capital Hill, lobbying for triple the number of h1-B visa's and even looser requirement for L series visa's while 20% of our own engineers are out of work. To be sure, you can tell a millin siob stories about the illegals only being here so they can feed their families and get away from a corrupt government, run by small wealthy elite (gosh, doesn't that somehow seem familiar?). But one one seems to want to talk about the American wrkers who are displaced, loose their jobs, their families, their homes, their meager savings, when a swarm of illegals displaces them from their job. No one seems to want to talk about the fact that 90% of the felons in California prisons are illegal aliens, that nearly 70% of the muders are committed by illegals, that illegals cost the Los Angeles over one billion dollars a year in social services, that nearly half of the students in the Salem Oregon school system are illegals and that the simple cost of providing services to illegals in Oregon consumes 20% of the state's 10 billion dollar annual budget.

So, please, excuse me, I feel very very badly for these illegals, but I don't think the solution is to take jobs and money from ordinary hard working American men and women and give it to these illegals. P.S. You sound like a typical liberal AND a poublic employee. I bet you are both.

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer: Any idea as to whether Dr Rice plans to run?

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

seems to me the only reason this is an issue is that the Republicans are losing the money race so badly this year. that and House inaction on CAFE standards that would actually CUT OIL CONSUMPTION.

Look, I directly own oil stocks, and energy stocks. I'm a capitalist. But there's a lot of rearranging the deck chairs, arguing about process, something the Beltway is infamous for, and ZERO ACTION.

Meanwhile, Bush's Quagmire in Iraq - as I predicted a YEAR before it happened (on yahoo groups) - is an absolute failure that digs us deeper into a hole every day.

Until Bush and his deadenders in the WH pull the plug on Iraq, you're heading for single digits in the polls.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 27, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Dan, the group supporting Condi is not an agency. They are volunteers, a grassroots of real people who donate their own money on this effort. The website said it is a draft effort like the one for Eisenhower in 1952. Wesley Clark played coy too long while getting his $5000 a month check on CNN to advise on military stuff in 2003 so he only came out in September 2003 to offically answer the call. His experience as a General attracted many people, but he failed to explain why invading the Balkans was ok, and not Iraq. That is why he came across as more of a pacifist instead of following the path of his hero Eisenhower. Yes, he stated his role model in the military was Eisenhower, so the draft effort for him was sincere on paper, but he failed in real life to stand for the issues.

Also, Wesley Clark was included in the polls which helped motivate him to accept the draft and raise money. So since Condi has been listed for the past year in polls, there is no reason to stop listing her. A candidate has a pac, and that provides them with funds to travel and promote their possible run. A draft effort shows the support of people from across the nation who are ACTIVE in supporting their candidate.

Dan, the agency viewpoint is more like buying off consultants to support you just because you are paying them, rather than the loyalty and commited efforts of volunteers like Condi group. I did look at the website, you find names of ordinary people, not a consultant in the bunch. Not a one.

Posted by: Jennifer | April 27, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, I'm willing to talk with you about this but not til tomorrow. Once the thread topic posts have dwindled we can hijack the post and go over this as much as you want.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that no one ever wants to talk about why illegals are here? Because if they come, they will get work. I live in a county where people are constantly whining about their presence, but in these same people's yards I always see workers who don't speak English, and who are clearly from Central or South America. They work for landscaping companies, movers, roofers, painters, you name it.

I have even had contractors ask for some part of their bill to be paid in cash -- to 'pay the crew' -- they say. Which means, illegals. The very fact that they are illegal means they will work for less money -- and in more dangerous conditions -- than American citizens will.

They come here looking for a better life for their families. You would too. If you don't want them here, the only way to stop them is for Congress to enact stiff penalties for businesses who hire them -- and enforce it. You can build the biggest fence in the world, you can shoot them, but you won't stop them unless there are no jobs for them.

The net result will be that the next time you want your roof fixed, it will cost more. A lot of small businesses will fold because they can't be competitive. The price of produce will go up. Just to mention a few effects.

Why doesn't everyone just stop demagoguing the issue and talk about the reality? Is it because it's not as much fun or as satisfying as finding a scapegoat instead of a solution?

Posted by: Drindl | April 27, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Dan, the classic problem you are running into here is confusing "representative" with "leader". Now, Bush is a "leader". That means he ignores the wishes of the AMerican people, does pretty much what he wants, tucks away a bunch favors from corporate friends that will ensure him and his family a cushy future, and gets a bunch of nameless brave yound men and women killed in a failed foreign policy he is too macho to and stubborn to admit.

A PAC is a Political Action Committee. In practice these are single or special interest groups, funding almost entirely by wealthy individuals or organizations. To be sure, as Tina says, they will stir up some group of lunatics like the "christian" Right and get $50 contributions from a bunch of these ignorant fools, but that is merely cover. In excess of 80% of the monies in each of these PAC's is from either a large corporation, a wealthy individual or group of individuals, a labor organization (today, usually a public employee labor group), or some other special interest group. In the end, groups of PAC literally buy political representatives who will promise to further theirmtwisted little single issue no matter what. ANd, in turn, the PAC is more than willing to ignore any "idiosyncrasy" of their candidate so long as they represent their one issue. So, you get some fundimentalist christian's blindly supporting Bush for his "pro life stance" while he, in turn, has the faith and morals of a goat.

A representative is a little more difficult to find, simply becasue there aren't any. That might actually involve a politician's actually reading the polls, finding out what the peope want and expect, and voting that way.

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

527's will be effected by the House and Senate passing laws to limit how much any person can donate to a political action group. The limit is $25,000 for one year. I guess that blocks the $16 million funneled by George Soros in 2004 to ACT, and other 527 groups to help Democrats/liberals/antiwar activists drag down President Bush. Well, they failed.
So here we are on the path toward 2008, and I think $25,000 for one year is too burdensome when a website and security system has to be put into place in order to attract supporters.

Why include the 527's reform along with the lobbying reform? The 527's are forbidden from interacting with the federal candidate they are supporting. Those Hillary people need to be investigated if their 527's is working along with Hillary to promote her for president. But that is what the media's job is ....to be the WATCHDOG on this stuff. Coordinated efforts between 527's and the person they are promoting (like Jim Jordan moving from Kerry campaign to a 527) was never investigated, so the media let that slip by too.

Posted by: Joan | April 27, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Next stupid question: Why do we allow Candidates to organize PACs in addition to their own campaign funds?

"Leadership - PACs maintained by members of Congress in order to gain influence with fellow members". This just seems like buying supporters in congress.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is a PAC? What are its legal obligations and rights? Can someone provide a link?

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

But that would mean Americans would have to resoundingly stand up and vote for the little guy; the name on the ballot they haven't heard of before. Classic Catch-22.

The problem is that the country is run by politicians who read poll numbers and run down that road until the poll numbers change.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I think I'm on a tangent today, but to address your points. Every place and every time, a referendum has been plaed on a ballot to outlaw Gay Marriage it has passed. Ditto for late term abortions. The Amercian people simple do not want these by overwhelming numbers. Ditto for some sort of national health care. They may not like Hillary's bloated government egg laying dairy pig of an idea, but they know they/we need something and, again, this issue passes by large margins when put to voters. I, personally, think a simple national HMO would work just fine. Do away with Medicare, Medicaid, all of those government and private policies, and simple have a single regionally administered HMO. As for cost, the savings to employers and society as a whole would be enormous. We simly cannot afford to not have a level national health care system that every American participates in "no matter what".

On illegals, if you check the polls, the numbers are, by a slim majority, to allow certain long term (more than 10 year resident) illegals a possible path that would lead to citizenship. For illegals here less than five years, two-thirds of the respondents want them deported AND they would deny automatic citizenship to the children of illegals born here.

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Dan W.

You see how you and I may disagree about part of the immigration problem - but some underlying values are guiding us in the same direction anyway - First amendment aside - the American people can demand that PAC money go away by not voting for people who use it - I have no problem with individual donations

On Immigration - as Americans we believe in fairness - it is true they are taking jobs Americans in many, not all cases, will do - but does fairness include saying to people for 20 years - we will ignore our own laws, allow you to build a life here, buy homes, have children, build businesses, but 20 years later - hey we now want to enforce our laws - go home - that is not fairness - while we Americans may disagree on the basic mechanics of solving the problem we can mostly agree that America is a fair place and people who have otherwise played by the rules should be given some mechanism which allows them to stay - the nature of the mechanism is where most Americans will differ -

I used immigration as an example of how fairness (an American value)can guide a political result and not to redirect the discussion to immigration

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike: Quite a few people think that Gay Marriage has no business being a government issue. Ditto Abortion.

And many of us are unwilling to pay the tax burden of a national health care system.

And Less than half of the nation wants the illegals rounded up and shipped out.

But otherwise I agree with you.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Tina, How many of those $100 and $200 contributions were donated because the candidate was running AGAINST Bush/Kerry and not a show of support for the candidate.

Put bluntly: the election came down to "Which millionaire from Yale do you think is the better candidate?" Yep, thats a representative sample for the country to choose from.

Quite a few people wanted "C: None of the above" but are so indoctrinated into the two party system, overexposed to people telling them a third party vote is a wasted vote and no real coverage of the third party candidates.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Tina, if you would only stop to read your comments for a moment you might come to understand a whole new type of black humor. "Represent us"? Who represents us? Not President Bush. He has an approval rating somewhere around 30% and, even more meaningfully, a DISAPPROVAL rating around 60%. I've never quite gotten around to understanding that "governing by poll numbers" is a pejorative. If our "representatives" really represented us, we would get out of Iraq next week, round up illegals and deport them en mass no matter the cost, make certain classes of white collar crime capital offenses, do away once and for all with the gay marriage, outlaw late term abortions, have a genuine national health care and retirement system that every American participates in, etc. The fact is, no one represents us. They represent tiny little, well organized and well funded insiders, whose full time job it is to select the sort of lunatics that represent THEM or those who py them. Come election time, we normal voters, always seem to get to choose the "lesser of two evils".

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Bobby: Agreed. Money is the problem. How about finance reform of: You must spend your campaign money promoting YOU. You cannot attack another candidate by deed or implication.

You may not give away the money people donated to YOUR campaign.

Third party moneys must be limited to promoting ISSUES. NO names may be mentioned.

Set aside the first amendment problems for the sake of the discussion, would this even help? How does it help third unalligned's get into the mix?

Sandra, Hasn't Dr Rice indicated she is NOT running? And the PAC you mentioned is not controlled by her, but by an outside agency seeking to support her? When she forms a PAC seeking election she will be added to the rosters. When she tells her platform many of us will support her.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Mike thinks that both political parties are out of touch. Well excuse me, but where does he think all those millions of dollars came from to support Kerry or Bush in 2004? Take some time and see how many $50 and $100 donations there are, that shows there were millions of middle of the road, middle-class workers who cared enough to donate.

The majority of people who donated over $200 million to Kerry met him during his campaign and cared enough to help finance the race. That is the system.

I donated hundreds of dollars to President Bush in 1992, and Bob Dole in 1996, but you know what? My candidate lost. So I was disappointed, but that is the way our system works, you win sometimes and lose sometimes. 2004 is over, but the Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers are still swarming on cars. Does that mean those people would support Kerry again for 2008? Who knows?

The issue today is on the Republicans raising money to finance their TRIAL BALLOONS to explore whether they will run in 2008 or not. The Democrats got the discussion yesterday. And I have no problem with Republicans/conservatives donating money to Romney, McCain, Frist, Huckabee, Rudy, or George Allen, Tancredo, or even Condi. Right now it is the MONEY primary, and how much of a WAR CHEST these groups or candidates collect by January 2007 when the shot is fired to start the run for the White House in 2008. That is how we select candidates in this country, it is called the political process of who will represent us and our views in DC.

Posted by: Tina | April 27, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Chris, my hostility to public employees is due to the fact that they raise my taxes to pay for their pay and benefit increases. The $500K figure you allude to has to do with federal taxes. That accounts for less than half of the taxes that the average American pays. Most of pour taxes are local and state taxes, just as most of the government employees we support are local and state. In Oregon, where I live, we have had our property taxes double at the same time our incomes have decreased. My 24 years of retirement savings was wiped out while the state government, which actually could have done something about it, stood by and did nothing. The local newspapers feature stories of peopple attempting to form unions being fired from their jobs at the local RV manufacturing plants here. Where is the state, where are the public employees in this? I certainly don't see the public employee "unions" helping ordinary workers in forming unions nor in enforcing strikes. When is the last time you heard of an American company haing their electricity, mail, telephone service, everything cut off because public employee unions refused to cross a picket line or refused to provide any service to a company that was unfairly treating their employees. Public employees have to realize that they do not live in a bubble. Either everyone GETS (not just deserves) decent health care, a retirement program, and a living wage salary, or no one does.

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

As a Republican delegate who met the Condi 2008 folks in Memphis, Cilizza has failed to present any data on the numerous groups promoting her as their favored-preferred contender for 2008. I submit these points of what I learned in Memphis:

1) Americans for Dr. Rice, www.4condi.com,(which was mentioned in the past Sunday Wash Post paper) has been the most active of any group trying to encourage Secretary Rice to run in 2008. I found the polling data on their website which shows Condi is tied with Rudy and McCain at 20%. The Marist polls and others have included her in their list for the past year.

2) The above mentioned group advertised in Iowa in the Des Moines market in early 2005 for almost 2 months. Then radio ads in New Hampshire, Florida, and it generated buzz called by the media as "CONDIMANIA". They also spend thousands of dollars with a 60 second TV ad on Commander in Chief in New Hampshire and Iowa. The radio ad buys so they are serious about their efforts, their donations collected have been used to promote Condi for 2008.

3) Instead of spending $120,000 on consultants like McCain or $100,000 a month like Hillary, these are volunteers who ask for nothing but their right to be heard as they travel from state to state for political conventions and events.

4) I am one of the people who wrote in the name of Condi on the ballot. Before the Memphis gathering of Republicans from the Midwest and Southern states, the Condi folks went to the California state convention. The delegates
of her home state supported her by 30%, far ahead of any other candidate for 2008. Even the state newspapers mentioned Condi might be able to win the state if she were on the ticket in 2008. Turning a BLUE state into a RED state, as in Red for Republicans.

5) Worldwide newspapers continue to buzz about Condi running for president. The google search on Condi finds thousands of pages about her as the American Margaret Thatcher, along with her picture with the German leader Angela Merkel and the new Liberia president, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson.

6) By tabulating the funds used by the Condi folks to promote her, it is well over $1 million collectively. The blogworld is flourishing with Condisms, and Condi pictures along with her travel around the world.

7) In conclusion, I am encouraged to ponder that Condi's name will be included on the Ames, Iowa straw poll in August 2007. I do not live there, but I could drive to Iowa and help get the people of Iowa energized to vote for Condi at the event. Like the last straw poll in August 1999, with 10 Republicans including Elizabeth Dole who came in third, Forbes in 2nd and Gov. Bush of Texas the top winner, it will clear out the weaker candidates to move the momentum before the Iowa Caucus in January 2008.

Thank you for allowing me to speak on this matter which was not reported in the Cilizza blogstory.

Posted by: Sandra | April 27, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Dan W.

I do not have a problem with a word you said - generally - but you are not seeing my bigger point. While I might not agree with every idea you suggested they all comport with the idea of being an american means hardwork, honesty, being responsible - reasonable minds can have the same general values with diffent solutions to the same problems -

Our joint values seem to have us on the same page as to the one-party system

Is it so radical and crazy that We the People should set the moral foundation which guides this nation?

I would be shocked if you disagree with any of the general moral values I have listed.

Can we agree that all of this PAC money and how the money system works is contrary to these simple values - because if we can, you and I can agree or diagree about the Dept of Education (I agree with you) or agree or disagree about immigration (I disagree with you in part) but still stand up and say PACS and everything that goes along with them is contrary to basic American values.

BObby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Guys, you are being too nice I was expecting death threats

BObby WC

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I decide to add an addendum to the above remarks, just to make a point. A few weeks ago, at the height of the illegal immigrant debate, when the Post was running a constant stream of stories that these illegals were merely taking jobs that no Amercian wanted, some twit, I cannot recall her name, ran a story on sheep herders as an example. Well, my family actually works farms and ranches, not as owners, but as workers. My recently deceased uncle was a sheep herder all his life. We used to go to Idaho and visit him every summer. It was fun. I have two other relatives who actually do that same job up in Washington state. I also have painters, roofers, concrete workers, electricians, in my family. If the fool that wrote that slanted piece of garbage artical had done one ounce of homework, she would have realized that her story was a slap in face of thousands of families just like mine. But, and I really believe this, that wasn't the point of her story. The point was that it was a propaganda piece by a typical liberal to "justify" the Post's stance in favor of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. That it was proven to be a a pile of lies and half truths, was simply ignored by the Post as an inconvenience; one that, of course, was never rectified. I don't see much difference between what the Post did here and what Bush has done in Iraq - the movers and shakers never own up to their mistakes.

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Mike - I totally understand your frustration with both parties. Without a doubt they are both far too influenced by the dollar signs that accompany each parties' coalition of special interest groups. That being said, I don't think what the two parties stand for - or what they are doing/would do with a legislative majority - are the same. For example:

* The country and your son are at war b/c this republican administration distorted intelligence, completely failed to execute the war they chose to fight, and refuse to admit to any mistakes

* the jobs that you note are being lost to illegal immigrants have actually been taken by workers still living in other countries based upon this administration's pursuit of trade policies that ENCOURAGE outsourcing. Illegal immigrants aren't taking good manufacturing jobs, but workers living in Indonesia, Mexico, etc. are

* As far as taxes go, Democrats want to raise taxes on folks who make more than 500,000 a year. That doesn't sound like a tax increase for the middle class to me and I suspect from your statements that it wouldn't raise your taxes at all. What it might do, however, is help to shrink the huge deficits we're running today.

* Finally, I'm puzzled at your hostility to government workers asking for decent wages and pension benefits. It's WRONG that b/c of others abuses you've been denied those things. Why would you want other hard working people to also be denied such benefits? It's not as if they're not receiving them makes you any better off. Rather, it strikes me that you ought to be on the side of such people. Just a thought.

Posted by: Colin | April 27, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Bobby,

But whose morality do we use? Most people agree that education is important, that Healthcare is important, that Social Security needs fixed, that we need a well developed police and military force to defend and protect us, that R&D into energy is important, that environment preservation is important, and we need tax reform.

Now lets get down to specifics and the whole thing falls apart. People like me argue that we don't need a US Dept of Ed. Call it a state function and move on. Move SocSec into national 401K accounts and move on, flat tax of 15% on all income over $20k (No Deductions).

For every person who reads the above and says, "Wow, hes got it", there is another saying "What a loon, those would never work."

The reality is that we have been divided into two groups by our flawed political system. With everything lumped into two groups we end up with Us and Them.

People who don't belong (small business types who think Religion has no place in government for instance) must choose one goal or the other.

We end up voting against one or the other.

So long as the 2 party system has a death grip on the country, we can never have true change and practical results.

Posted by: Dan W | April 27, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Okay Chris, I'll take a shot at this one. I'm a pretty average guy. My youngest son is in the Army and serving in that disasterous mistake Iraq. I've looked at the Republicans and I've looked at the Democrats and they appear to be serving constituents from another planet. The Republicans, and I mean all of them, are simply out and out crooks, in the pocket of various corporations. The Democrats, on the other hand, seem to me to be just as bad. They want to grant amnesty to millions of illegals taking jobs from American's, they want to raise taxes and throw the extra money at public employees, and they support some of the most twisted morals imaginable. If you are like me, and actually have a need to write one of them, forget even an answer. An example, I actually went out and pounded the streets for John Kerry's presidential bid. My wife and I contributed money to his campaign. We sent money to the DNC. When my son was abruptly transferred to a foreward Marine unit (he is a nurse) as a combat medic, I wrote letters to John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, etc. You what I got back? A soliciation for additional campaign contributions.

I lost my retirement savings when it was looted by my last employer. I have had my medical benefits cut and I make less than half of what I made when Bush took office. Public employees, on the other hand, have the gaul to request (and with the support of my states Democratic Party, GET) higher wages, better health insurance, and improved retirement plans. This is absurd.

Both political parties are completely out of touch with the average working American. They have gotten away with it by dividing up the voting public into single issue segments and play a shell game with the issues that genuinely harm people. SO you've got the Christian's and Gay Marriage, the feminists and Abortion, the retirees and ever high Medicare benefits, etc. That is what these PAC's are all about and it is ruining this country.

The Post has contributed to all of this along with the rest of the press in the country. You only feature guest editorials and letters from the same insider and blue blood crowd that caused this mess to begin with. Go take a look at who gets their letters published in your letters to the editor coulumn; look whose guest editorials are published. Ordinary citizens, with common sense, and a completely different view point than this crowd, and heck of a lot of pent up anger, are relegated to forums like this one.

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Bobby,

The entire rest of the Washington Post is devoted to substance. There's enough room for a blog devoted to process.

Posted by: H_o_o_s_i_e_rTen | April 27, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

As I said about the Democrats - we are focusing too much on money and not on enough of substance - this country is in so much danger of faultering - Chris I really wish you would start writing on the substance behind the prospective candidates.

I know I am going to take a hit for this - but in SUBSTANCE it goes to the issue of HOW MONEY AND PACS are electing officials instead of values -

so hit away guys- I know it is coming

Country will always be more important than partisan politics. We can agree that the country is headed in the wrong direction under this Administration, while proactively engaging this Administration to change directions. Being the loyal opposition does not mean war or obstructionist tactics. The division in this country has reached the point that we are no longer guided by a set of generally held values in what it means to be an American, but by each of our respective talking points based on disinformation and propaganda as urged by radio talk show clowns on both sides of the aisle.

It is time that we as a nation seek to define what it means to be an American. It is bizarre that we have Americans blaming the environmentalists for the high gas prices. According to these Americans without environmentalists the oil speculators would not be bidding up the price of oil to $75.00 a barrel. These Americans suffer from a psychosis which mandates they adopt absurd conclusions at any cost to defend the Republican Party from claims that the high oil prices are not the fault of the Republicans. Effectively to defend against a myth, Republicans are responsible for the high price of oil, they create bizarre excuses for why the price of oil is out of control. This approach is not going to solve the problem.

While I do not believe the Republicans are in as much trouble as the press would have us believe, when I listen to Rush claim there is a stealth Stalinist US government undermining President Bush and trying to rewrite history so that Clinton looks like a great president, I must ask are the Republicans desperate? Are they still running against Clinton?

To be clear, the radio show hosts on the false left are just as bizarre and desperate in their positions. The situation with oil is not as black and white as either side would have us believe. Here in Texas our state government is now benefitting from an 8 billion plus dollar surplus - all from the high price of oil. Here in Texas we are being told that this surplus is going to be given back to us in the form of a reduction in property taxes. While it is really a zero sum game, many Texans are seeing as a personal windfall in terms of property taxes.

I use the example of Texas because it shows that we as Americans love to be taken in by any con job Washington has to offer. We care more about a quick fix and a couple of dollars than the bigger picture. For example, in Texas we should us the money to solve our education finance crisis. This is how we got into the mess to begin with over oil. If this is not true why are Republicans proposing a $100.00 rebate to Americans to help pay for gas. A $100.00 will do nothing to help relieve the pain from the high price of gas, and will only serve to increase the budget deficit. It is an irresponsible con to get our votes. As Americans we will fall for it, and yell "yea Republicans."

It is time the American people, the true sole cause for the high price of gas, step up to the plate and stand for something. I am the first to say that I have accused both political parties of standing for nothing. Maybe just maybe neither political party stands for anything because we the American people stand for nothing.

The problem with the price of oil is endemic of a bigger problem. We stand for nothing - we as a nation have no generalized values, or belief systems. The government is a reflection of We the People - until We the People define who we are as a people, the government will be adrift in a sea devoid of any moral compass to guide We the People in a moral and responsible direction. By moral, I am not talking about judgment morality. I am talking about a set of values which make, We the People a caring, hardworking, honorable People.

Along these lines I would suggest we stop the judgment of this Administration and define, We the People as a caring, hardworking, honorable People. Maybe it is time, We the People lead by example and then engage Washington to follow, We the People. The government is a reflection of, We the People. If we are displeased with the government, then maybe just maybe we are in fact displeased with ourselves.

If you want to know what happens when government works - look to the incredible leadership of Republican Senator Susan Collins who oversaw the hearings on FEMA - Susan Collins handling of the FEMA hearings is an example of real leadership - maybe she should conduct a Leadership Conference for the rest of Washington.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 27, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

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