March 30, 2014

Little Difference Between Ds and Rs

Seems there's very little difference between Republicans and Democrats these days, at least when it comes to money in politics. I mean, we've known for a while that our Sonofa Governor Andrew Cuomo believes he flat-out cannot be influenced by money, and we now know that Republicans think they're not influenced by money either.

Cuomo made it very clear a while back in an interview with Susan Arbetter, host of  the Capitol Pressroom radio show, that we need campaign finance reform because elected officials can't be trusted and there's too much money in politics and we need to solve the problem by having tax payer dollars injected into the process to protect us from bad people - but not from the Governor himself, because he is pure.

Cuomo thought it was "baloney" that people would think he'd be more responsive to his donors (the majority of whom have given at least $10,000) or to New York City corporations (some giving "in the hundreds of thousands of dollars" to his war chest) than he would be to you or me. When pressed, here's what he said:
s drummond photo
What the people want to know, what they say to me is, look, we want to know that you're working for us and you're not working for anyone else. Because there are some politicians out there who can be bought for $10, and some politicians who cannot be bought for $10 billion. It's a question of the person, it's a question of character, and it's a question of values. It's not how much does it cost to buy a politician, it's a politician who can't be bought. 
He added
I'm going to make the decision I think is right for them because at the end of the night I go home and I put my head on the pillow and I have to be able to fall asleep and I can't fall asleep if I don't believe I'm doing the right thing.  
You mull that one over, or picture him sleeping through the night on his pillow of righteousness, while I explain how he's just like a Republican.

Steve Kimatian, an occasional contributor to the Syracuse Post-Standard, wrote a recent article about how it was easier to be a Democrat than a Republican. He made it clear that Republicans aren't influenced by money either.

Kimatian's premise, as I noted last week, is that the Dems buy votes and campaign contributions with entitlements (and unfettered access to strip-joint ATMs), and by gutting welfare reform.  He also notes that the Democrat "platform of giving...can be a slippery slope to servitude."
While the Democrat position may appear altruistic, at its core it is essentially self-serving. To appreciate those who give you things is human nature. The Democrat offer encourages a complicit compact with the voter.  If you can befriend a voting block by giving benefits, then you can secure votes and contributions for your re-election. 
Let's replace the word Democrat in Kimatian's essential argument with Republican, and see what happens.
While the Republican position may appear altruistic, at its core it is essentially self-serving. To appreciate those who give you things is human nature. The Republican offer encourages a complicit compact with the voter. If you can befriend a voting block by giving benefits then you can secure votes and contributions for your re-election.
Wow -- that sounds almost exactly the same, doesn't it? And doesn't it ring equally true? Because we all know that the Republicans are not pure, any more than Cuomo is. They just get their influence from a different side of the fence, that's all.  For example:
  • What about the Grover Norquist Tax Pledge? You know about that, right? Republicans at every level of elected office have signed onto this, swearing they'll not raise taxes for any reason. Let them even whisper about having a remote thought or a vision in the night about raising taxes, and their constituents will have an email telling them their taxes are going to go up, and suddenly the incumbent Republican is in a primary scrambling to hold onto office, to future security, and to continued altruistic opportunities. Does anyone wonder why the Rs are so afraid of raising taxes?
  • What about political organizations, trade associations, unions, and 'social welfare' groups? According to Opensecrets.org, trade associations spent around $60M, unions about half that, and 501(c)(4) groups spent over $250M in the 2012 election cycle. By 'viewpoint', the vast majority of the money was in support of conservative issues. Kimatian raised the dastardly public employee union as one of the things that makes it easier to be a Dem;  and we know that one of those 'conservative issues' that's being addressed with this money is getting rid of public employee unions. No correlation here, right?
  • Similarly, Super PAC spending by ideology significantly favored conservatives, $406.8M to $195.5M for liberal issues.  And certainly nothing to see here, either. 
Does the Norquist threat have no meaning? Do these hundreds of millions of dollars from support groups not have any influence on Republicans? Do they not help get Republicans elected, and help keep them in office? How is it that the Republicans can be immune to this?

If  "to appreciate those who give you things is human nature," is the lack of influence all from all this money proof that Republicans aren't human? Hmm...

Perhaps the most important question for Republicans, Andrew Cuomo, and voters alike is a simple one: would these groups be spending this kind of money if they thought there was nothing in it for them?

The answer, clearly, is no.  No person, union, trade association, social welfare group, or political action committee would spend this kind of money if they believed for one second that it wasn't going to benefit them.

As I noted (regarding Cuomo's sleeping habits):
I can't fall asleep at night because our house is noisy and our cats are restless and My Sweet Baboo snores and there's a firehouse down the street and because I lie awake at night sometimes wondering why a politician would take hundreds of thousands, no millions of dollars from corporations when it's people that vote.
You can be sure that the corporations and Super PACS  and unions and social welfare organizations and $10,000 donors wouldn't be sleeping well at night if they thought their contributions and lobbying and interest ads and smear campaigns were not money well spent.

Yeah, it's easy to be a Democrat.  And it sure is easy to be a Republican too.  It's getting hard to tell them apart, isn't it?

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