In modern times, it has been an iron rule that in any seriously contested race, the Democratic candidate will have more money spent on his behalf than the Republican. Democrats simply have more money, partly because their unions are able to seize money from their members against their will to spend on politics, and partly because most rich people who are active in politics are on the left. This was true even before Barack Obama came along. Obama is the greatest money-machine in the history of American politics, in part because he alone has had the chutzpah to bring credit card fraud to bear on campaign fundraising.
But this year, something new may be afoot. Popular disaffection from the Obama administration may have risen to a level where the Republicans might actually have more money to spend than the Democrats! This is a complicated issue to figure out, since you have to take into account money raised by the campaigns themselves; not just the presidential candidates, but the House and Senate candidates as well. You have to evaluate the amounts raised by the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, as well as the NRCC, the DCCC, the NRSC and the DSCC. Then you have to take into account the 527s, the SuperPacs, and whatever other letter and number combinations are legal at the moment.
So it is always hard to tell, but this year there are rumblings to the effect that Republicans might actually amass more total resources than Democrats. Politico reports:
Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations.
That figure isn’t especially impressive by itself; Obama has been boasting for a long time that he intends to raise a billion dollars in contributions to his own 2012 campaign. That doesn’t count, as I understand it, the vast amount that will be raised by rich Democrats and unions on behalf of Obama, not to mention the hundreds of Democratic candidates for other federal offices.
Still, there is a growing sense that Republicans might not be outgunned as badly this year as they generally have been in the past:
That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.
Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago.
Excuse me while I go light a cigar. The Koch brothers are principled libertarians who have been active in politics, as well as other sorts of philanthropy–to which, in fact, they have given quite a bit more money than to political causes–for decades. For some reason, liberals decided to go after the Koch brothers a year or two ago, launching one bizarre attack after another in hopes, apparently, of driving them out of public life. But it doesn’t seem to have worked. Rather, the brothers have doubled down on freedom.
I am slightly acquainted with Charles and David Koch, but I have no idea whether the numbers Politico quotes are correct. But I hope so: it would be a great thing if the Kochs’ response to the outrageous abuse they have taken for the last year or two is to devote a half billion dollars to defeat the Obama administration. The Left’s viciousness must be met with steely determination. News reports suggest that this may be exactly what is happening.