Mayday Explains: When We Say “Money,” We Mean Conservative Money!

Two left-wing groups, MoveOn and Mayday.US, sponsored a video contest to highlight the “problem” of money in politics. They published the videos that were submitted on a web site, and encouraged viewers to vote for the best one. Sadly, their effort was nowhere near as successful as the Power Line Prize competition of a couple of years ago. They got one really good entrant, produced by American Commitment, which focused on the epic hypocrisy of Tom Steyer, the number one funder of the 2014 election cycle. Here it is, “America’s Biggest Hypocrite”:

We and others urged our readers to vote for the Steyer video, and many did: it garnered more than 20 times as many votes as the second-place vote-getter. So it won the competition, right? No! The lefty panel of judges awarded the prize to a lame liberal production. We noted the seeming injustice here. A disappointed Phil Kerpen, head of American Commitment–well, he probably wasn’t all that disappointed–said:

The leaders of “pro-democracy” groups chose a video that got 99 votes over a video that got 7,590 votes — because the latter was about liberal Tom Steyer and the former was against fossil fuels. It speaks for itself.

Still, many wondered whether democracy had been served. Reader John Simutis voted for “America’s Biggest Hypocrite.” To do so, he had to submit his email address. So he got this email from Mayday, announcing the contest’s winners:

Friend —

Thanks for voting in the #MAYDAYin30 video contest! Before we tell you who the winners are (unless you scroll down before reading this!) we wanted to tell you a bit about MAYDAY.US.

We’re a people-powered movement to reduce the corrupting influence of big money on politics. More than 50,000 of us came together to crowd-fund nearly $11M, making us the SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs – we embrace the irony! …

And now to the main announcement. After nearly 100 video submissions and 11,000 votes cast, we are so excited to announce the winners of the #MAYDAYin30 video contest! Drum roll please…

Winner, Category #1: General money in politics ad
“This is your country”

Winner, Category #2: Candidate specific ad
“William the K St. Lobbyist vs. Iowa”

Both of these ads were insightful and creative, and they emphasized the MAYDAY message of getting big money out of politics. We feel so grateful to have a community that puts everything they have into supporting our cause. Your vote was key in bringing the best videos forward, videos that our celebrity judges really enjoyed watching. …

- The MAYDAY Team

John didn’t see how this explained the upset victory by a liberal ad, so he emailed Mayday:

And, you didn’t choose the video that actually received the most votes – 10 times the votes of your selection.

How very … “people-powered.”

Heh. That provoked an explanation of sorts from Mayday:

Hi John,

Thank you for writing to share your thoughts. Here’s why the Steyer video did not win the contest overall:

In the contest rules, we stated that the video had to fit into one of two categories:

Category 1: Ads that address the general issue of money in politics.
Category 2: Ads about a MAYDAY race (either for a MAYDAY candidate or against a MAYDAY candidate’s opponent).

The Steyer video received the most votes and was evaluated by the judges in Category 1 as ads for Category 2 had to be in support of a specific MAYDAY candidate. The judge panel reviewed it along with the other winning entrants, but did not consider it the best entry.

From the beginning, we announced that we would take the top vote earners in each category and pass them on to our judges. Our judges would then use their expertise to select a winner. This is exactly what happened.

We continue to feature the video on our website for being the top vote earner. MAYDAY.US has treated this video respectfully and fairly. We stand by the integrity of the #Maydayin30 Contest.


rachel perkins

I added the emphasis to highlight the key language. The judges “did not consider [the American Commitment video] the best entry,” based on their “expertise.” But why wasn’t it the best entry? Certainly not because of its production values, which were obviously superior. Rather, because of its content: it focused on Tom Steyer, who contributed more money to the current electoral cycle than anyone else. So why didn’t it satisfy the contest’s alleged purpose of opposing “the corrupting influence of big money on politics”? Obviously, because Steyer is a liberal.

This MoveOn/Mayday video contest, lame though it was, was revealing. When liberals say they want to get money out of politics, they aren’t serious. What they mean is, they want to get conservative money out of politics.

Why is that? The answer is simple: liberals command the culture. They control virtually all universities, virtually all public schools, virtually all newspapers, virtually all of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, almost the entire apparatus of the news. That control, added to the corruption of crony government, gives liberals access to enormous amounts of money, so that in almost every contested election, the liberal candidate has more money than the conservative candidate.

And yet…liberals have a problem. Their arguments are terrible, and their theories are contradicted at nearly every turn by the facts. Which means that they can’t withstand criticism. They can’t take competition; they need a monopoly. Which, in turn, means that they must prevent voters from hearing conservative ideas and arguments. They can do that in the schools and in the culture, and they don’t have to worry about newspapers or broadcast television. But there is a loophole of sorts: during election seasons, conservatives can buy time on television and on the radio to broadcast messages that liberals are otherwise able to blockade. This is intolerable! Because when people hear conservative ideas, unfiltered by the liberal press, they tend to find them persuasive.

So “money in politics” must be denounced. Most money in politics is liberal, from labor unions, crony billionaires like Tom Steyer, and so on. But that isn’t the money the Democrats mean: they want to silence conservative voices, so their monopoly can be preserved and threats to their rule–democracy, one might say–can be eliminated. The MoveOn/Mayday contest was a microcosm of one of the central political conflicts of our time.

The Power Line 100: The Commanding Haidt

PowerlineProfessors copy

I tended to let the Power Line 100 Best Professors in America series go dormant last academic year while I served out my time as an inmate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and it is past time to bring it back.

HaidtAnd who better to inaugurate the revival of this series than NYU’s Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind. He is not only tall, but his name is in fact pronounced “height.”

Jon is no stranger to Power Line—we wrote about him here in 2012 for instance—and nearby is the sunset photo I took of Jon a few weeks ago at the gonzo conference on political polarization we both attended at the Esalen Institute.

I think Jon still considers himself to be a moderate liberal. I say “still” because his interesting survey research has led him to conclude conservatives have a broader field of moral vision than liberals do, and he has come to take conservative thought more seriously. It is timely to take him up this week because The New Yorker has a feature article on Jon that takes up the subject of our post two years ago: is social psychology biased against conservatives? I know intellectual news is very slow to reach The New Yorker, but they’re just now getting around to this story?

Social psychology, Haidt went on, had an obvious problem: a lack of political diversity that was every bit as dangerous as a lack of, say, racial or religious or gender diversity. It discouraged conservative students from joining the field, and it discouraged conservative members from pursuing certain lines of argument. It also introduced bias into research questions, methodology, and, ultimately, publications. The topics that social psychologists chose to study and how they chose to study them, he argued, suffered from homogeneity. The effect was limited, Haidt was quick to point out, to areas that concerned political ideology and politicized notions, like race, gender, stereotyping, and power and inequality. “It’s not like the whole field is undercut, but when it comes to research on controversial topics, the effect is most pronounced,” he later told me. (Haidt has now put his remarks in more formal terms, complete with data, in a paper forthcoming this winter in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.)

From here, the article appeared to be moving on to all the liberals who wanted to dispute Haidt in the usual way, nit-picking his methodology or torturing a different data set to get a contrary result. But instead the piece ends up not only validating Haidt but suggesting the problem of academic bias against conservatives is widespread and serious.

And yet the evidence for more substantial bias, against both individuals and research topics and directions, is hard to dismiss—and the hostility that some social psychologists have expressed toward the data suggests that self-correction may not be an adequate remedy.

Good for The New Yorker. And keep your eye on Haidt.

The Catcall Video, and Rape Culture

I may have been the last person on Earth to watch the “catcall” video that has now been viewed more than 25 million times on YouTube, and seen by many more on news shows, etc. Just in case you haven’t seen it either, here it is. It is two minutes long. Basically, a pretty young woman walked around Manhattan for ten hours while being filmed, and a number of guys spoke to her in ways that were friendly, flattering, inappropriate, or, in one two instances, creepy, although never threatening:

The video was produced by a group called Hollaback!, which is “dedicated to ending street harassment.” Good luck with that. The organization is also dedicated to raising money, at which its prospects are better.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the catcall video. To me, it illustrates the principle that the less significant a problem is–here, the “oppression” of women–the more hysterical people tend to get about it. Or maybe it’s just the people who have a financial stake in the problem not going away.

There is an obvious connection, I think, between the attention paid to the catcall video and the current controversy over “sexual assault” on college campuses–sexual assault being defined to include trying to kiss a girl who prefers just to hold hands. There is obviously no epidemic of rape on college campuses. If there were, people like me wouldn’t be helping their 12th grade daughters with college applications. The rare instances where rapes actually occur tend to be significant news stories.

Why is the hysteria industry, aided and abetted by the federal government, in overdrive for no apparent reason? Feminists say there is a “rape culture” in America that must be combatted. But is that true? In fact, the incidence of rape, like all other serious crimes, has been declining sharply for years. This graphic comes from Mark Perry, on Twitter:

The rapid decline of violent crime of all sorts across the United States is something of a mystery. Several factors no doubt are at work: demographic changes, aggressive incarceration of violent criminals in many jurisdictions, and the prevalence of firearms in the general population. But rather than being celebrated, the decline of violence in the U.S. is generally obscured and even lied about. Why? Mostly, I think, because a lot of money and power are riding on the perpetuation of misinformation of the sort that feeds hysteria.

What’s the Matter With Oregon?

A long time ago, I went to college in Oregon, at the fine little undergraduate institution that I now lovingly refer to as Lewinski and Clark College, since Ms. Monica of the Immaculate Stain left her mark there too. Back in those days, Oregon voted Republican in most presidential elections, and had a Republican governor. Little was I to know at the time that Vic Atiyah was to be the last Republican governor.

It has now been 30 years since Oregon elected a Republican governor, and it is a sign of the weakness of the Oregon Republican party that it is struggling to run competitively against a boring and scandal-plagued incumbent, John Kitzhaber, who has presided over perhaps the worst state rollout of Obamacare in the nation. Right now it looks like Kitzhaber will be re-elected. It doesn’t help that the Republicans’ once highly touted Senate candidate, Monica Wehby, has run a mistake-riddled campaign against the equally mediocre incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley. As Casey Stengel said of the 1962 Mets, “Can anyone here play this game?”

Forget, pace Thomas Frank, Kansas: what’s the matter with Oregon? Even aside from the Obamacare fiasco and Kitzhaber’s ethical problems, the state has been in relative economic decline for more than two decades, with an unemployment rate consistently above the national average and income growth lagging the national average. Its public school performance is dismal, without the usual excuses of a large low income or minority population. Yet no one seems to connect any of these difficulties to the dominance of one political party.   Perhaps you’ve taken in an episode of Portlandia? Believe me, as a frequent visitor to Portland (the city where young people go to retire), it is indeed a documentary.

An old pal, Rob Kremer, has together with some pals produced a sharp 30-minute video exploring these and other aspects of Oregon’s sorry story entitled “The Oregon Myth.” Below is the first two-minute segment of the whole thing. If you have time and it piques your interest, you can watch the whole 30-minute version here, or check out the home page for TheOregonMyth. (P.S. I’ll be visiting Portland the week after the election to find out how it all shook out.)

Dems keep it creepy, part 2

In this edition of Dems Keep It Creepy, cretinous Democratic male candidates are featured disparaging their female Republican opponents. One of the featured candidates is Aaron Wolf, the Democratic opponent of Power Line Pick Elise Stefanik. Ms. Stefanik is going to have the last laugh when she is elected to Congress from her upstate New York district next Tuesday. The other ladies who take the abuse these cretins are dishing out should also prevail.

The men’s boorish behavior is of course encouraged by the immunity they are accorded by the Democrats’ mainstream media adjunct. The Democrats’ fabricated “war on women” provides handy cover for these boors. In the meantime, the Democrats’ exploitation of the ignorant and the misinformed continues.

The video was prepared by the Republican National Committee and is online only. Ashe Schow covers it for the Washington Examiner here. It is posted online by the RNC here.

Via Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit.

Dems keep it creepy

Yesterday a reader forwarded us a copy of a letter sent by Democrats to his daughter in Brooklyn. The letter is unbelievably creepy. Below is a screenshot of the letter with the recipient’s name and address redacted.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 8.22.15 AM

It is impossible to imagine the furor that would accompany this story if it were Republicans rather than Democrats taking a page out of the 1984 playbook (as the cutline on the letter revealed, screenshot below). What is to be said? The Democrats thrive on the immunity afforded them by their mainstream media adjunct. They lack the constraints that decency imposes on the rest of us.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.21.40 AM

As it is, we have only the New York Post’s “Democrats bully non-voters: We know who you are.” Carl Campanile and Natalie O’Neill report:

Democrats are telling voters that they had better head to the polls — or else.

The New York State Democratic Committee is bullying people into voting next week with intimidating letters warning that it can easily find out which slackers fail to cast a ballot next Tuesday.

“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter says.

“We will be reviewing voting records . . . to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.”

It ends with a line better suited to a mob movie than a major political party: “If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not.”

The letter and accompanying post card was criticized even by party members, with one Democratic consultant saying it was the wrong way to inspire votes.

“It’s a threatening letter. It’s a scare piece that is unnecessary and inappropriate,” the insider said.

Brooklyn and Manhattan residents who received the note Wednesday were furious, calling it an attempt to browbeat them into showing up at the polls.

“I’m outraged. Whether I vote or not is none of your business!” said a Manhattan voter, who was so incensed that she complained to a local Democratic leader.

“The letter is ludicrous and menacing,” said the voter, who requested anonymity.

The woman also received a report card of her voting record, pointing out that she had failed to vote in two of the last four elections.

Overall, the notices were sent out to 1 million registered Democrats who had failed to vote in previous midterm elections, according to the group.

The committee — chaired by former Gov. David Paterson — defended the scare tactic, calling it standard practice throughout the country.

“This flier is part of the nationwide Democratic response to traditional Republican voter-suppression efforts, because Democrats believe our democracy works better when more people vote, not less,” said Peter Kauffmann, a committee spokesman.

“The difference between Democrats and Republicans is they don’t want people to vote and we want everyone to vote.”

Paterson declined to comment.

The mailer has a phone number on it that goes to Election Protection, a nonpartisan voting organization.

The organization said it had received a “significant” number of calls about the letter.

Such attempts to shame people to vote — what politicos call “social pressure” or peer pressure — has [sic] become more commonplace and was [sic] used by the Obama campaign in 2012, sources said.

A Yale University study in 2008 found that voter participation increased substantially after lazy voters received letters telling them their spotty voting history was a public record that would be scrutinized.

The notice includes a “vote report card” rating New Yorkers’ voting records as “excellent,” “good,” “fair” or “incomplete.”

“Many organizations monitor turnout in your neighborhood and are disappointed by the inconsistent voting of many of your neighbors,” it says.

The letter came a week before heavily favored Democratic Gov. Cuomo faces off against Republican Rob Astorino.

What else is to be said? I’m not sure, but I think Glenn Reynolds would say: Tar. Feathers.

New Ad Takes On Liberal Media

We wrote here about Conservative War Chest, which has produced some excellent, hard-hitting ads this election cycle. Their latest came out today; it is a frontal assault on liberal media. Spokesman Mike Flynn says:

Our new ad shows specific, concrete examples of news executives and partisan reporters trying to hid the truth from the American people. They play such a role trying to influence our elections that they should be on the ballot.

The ad singles out:

* New York Times cover-up of the IRS scandal

* CBS killing Sheryl Atkinson coverage of the Benghazi scandal

* ABC smears of the Tea Party

* George Stephanopoulus and Candy Crowley acting as Dem surrogates in Presidential debates

* Comcast and NBC sponsoring left-wing attack machine MSNBC and news executive Phil Griffin as ultimate “suit in suite.”

The new ad is running initially in North Carolina. Here it is:

Will it work? Well, if Democrats can run against the Koch brothers, Republicans can run against liberal media. But it’s not just tit-for-tat. Many, many Americans–not all of whom are Republicans–are disgusted by left-wing media bias. It is an issue about which many are passionate, and which will motivate some to get to the polls. Besides, you can never point out to often that every day in America, the Left has its thumb on the scales in the person of liberal media.