October 21, 2015

The Update Desk 10/21/15: Joe, Paul, and Dough

Back on September 13th, I suggested that Joe Biden shouldn't run for President. Today, he agreed with me.

In a brief Rose Garden speech, Biden conceded that it was now simply too late for him to mount a realistic campaign, as his family's grieving process took the time that Biden would have otherwise spend building a campaign structure, raising money, and getting everyone's skin thickened up for the inevitable landslide of attention, both good and bad.

I'm glad he's out - and I appreciate his intention to not sit idly by, but to speak out on issues as his term as Vice President winds down.
While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully, to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation. 
He might not be in the race, but at this point I'll take help from anyone who can help shape the debate.

Paul Ryan, on the other hand, has decided to put his hat into the ring to be Speaker of the House, a job he does not want, does not need, and won't take unless the entire Republican contingent in the House agrees to his terms.

Which is kind of funny, when you think about it, given that Crying John Boehner is out and the heir apparent Kevin McCarthy is out because they did not agree to the terms of the alleged Freedom Caucus, a group of some 40 hard line conservatives who are trying to shift the House to, oh, I don't know -- what's further right than the Pacific Ocean?

One of his big 'requests' is that he needs more time with his family, including his three young children. The Speaker historically has spent a lot of time criss-crossing the country raising money for the party and House members, something which Ryan will not do in the traditional way, should he be selected for the leadership role.

At least in that regard, he has something in common with Biden.

And now for that guy Dough. In my post Big Money in Little Politics earlier this week, I shared some info from a NY Times article on a relative handful of folks, some 158 families, who (through June 30th) had given $176,000,000 to candidates or their super PACs, and lamented, as I have before, the role that money plays in taking folks like you and me out of the political game.

That little $176M is a mere drop in the bucket, folks.  According to OpenSecrets.org, there are huge sums of money going to candidates in the 2016 cycle.
As of October 21, 2015, 1,207 groups organized as super PACS have reported total receipts of $303,520,383. 
Here's just a sampling:
  • Right to Rise USA (Jeb Bush): $103,167845
  • Unintimidated PAC (Scott Walker): $20,022,405
  • Conservative Solutions PAC (Marco Rubio): $16,057,755
  • Priorities USA Action (Hillary Clinton):$15,654,457
  • Keep the Promise III (Ted Cruz): $15,000,000
  • Keep the Promise I (Cruz): $11,007,096
  • America Leads (Chris Christie): $11,003,304
  • Keep the Promise II (Cruz): $10,000,000
  • Opportunity and Freedom I (Rick Perry):$10,000,000

$303,520,383. So far. And that's just this bucket of contribution, it's not all of it.

It's kind of fun to note how much money has gone to folks who are either doing poorly (Bush, Rubio, Christie and even Cruz) or are out of the picture completely (Walker, Perry).

What's that saying about a fool and his money?