Romney, Money, and Politics: Why It Shouldn’t Matter (But Will)

Does Money Matter?

AdWeek is reporting that in South Carolina, Mitt Romney outspent Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum combined.  This clearly wasn’t enough, but Romney isn’t making the same “error” in Florida, as current reports suggest Romney has outspent Gingrich in Florida by a margin of five-to-one.  That’s a significant spending advantage, and what we may learn is that while a two-to-one advantage may not make a big enough difference, if Romney pulls off the victory in Florida, five-to-one may be the magic number for a Massachusetts liberal. I am not opposed to money in politics, because I think in many ways, the Supreme Court ruled properly in saying that money equates to free speech, but I also think it’s up to we voters to be somewhat discerning when when we see such a disparity.

After all, money has always been the mother’s milk of politics, and any understanding of reality must include a recognition of this fact. Does it mean we should attempt to contrive laws that freeze out money?  Elections in cycle after cycle demonstrate the fact that those who wish to donate to some candidate or cause are always able to engineer some way around such laws, and the reason is simple: It’s their money. Legislators have attempted to place hard limits on campaign contributions for years, but the problem is that who it winds up hampering is rank-and-file voters, while those with the money to burn are able to avail themselves of the various loopholes in the various laws.  Worse, these laws are frequently written in such a way to run to the advantage of one group or political party, so that somebody is always disadvantaged, but most frequently it’s you and I.

Given this, voters are right to wonder about what is the real solution, but I think the answer is very clear:  We need more citizens who actually follow this information more closely, and we need very broad disclosure laws that merely require contributors and donors to identify themselves.  I realize we have some laws to this end now, but the real problem is that few people actually bother to avail themselves of the information that exists within easy reach at such sites as OpenSecrets.org. No law can protect us from the lack of curiosity or diligence most voters demonstrate.

For many voters, they want to be spoon-fed the issues a few weeks before the elections by the establishment media.  They aren’t to be bothered from their other diversions throughout the intervening period between elections unless an issue arises that affects them in that immediate time-frame.   While one can excuse some of that, as I too become weary with politics from time to time, the fact is that most people devote less than one hour per week to hard news, or significant information gathering about politics, or the condition of the country.

Some have likened the pop-culture to “cakes and circuses,” referencing a period in Roman decline when the ruling elite offered their people  food and entertainment to keep them from paying attention to the fact that their culture was dying.  I tend to agree with this assessment, but I also know a large number of the people most thoroughly engulfed by the pop-culture don’t even really bother to vote.  If you want to minimize the role of money in elections, the truth is that nothing nullifies its importance and influence more than an informed and determined electorate that already knows the issues and knows its own mind.

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  • GirlfriendGeek

    Transparency (not restriction) is the key. The best way to preserve freedom is to know exactly who is doing what and how far they are willing to go to achieve their ends. The more information we have, the better; and people should take advantage of it. We are blessed in that we can exercise our rights to exchange information and ideas freely, and this should not be taken for granted. One need only look at the events taking place around the world to appreciate that fact.

  • Frank May

    Has anyone noticed Mitt Romney, himself, is claiming Newt was guilty of ethics violations and "resigned in disgrace"? I saw a clip where he spoke those words on Saturday Jan. 28 in Panama City, FL. Is there any mention of the numerous "complaints" being unjustified – or that defense against the complaints were driving Newt to bankruptcy?

    This is the same scenario applied to Gov. Sarah Palin and led to her resignation as governor of Alaska.

    I guess the Romney campaign took note of what happened to Gov. Palin – at the hands of Democrat operatives – and have now applied the tactic to the contest with Speaker Gingrich.

    Any thoughts?

    Frank in St. Louis County

  • http://dancinggal@yahoo.com angel

    would someone PLEASE ask why rommey or newt are not talking about the price of gas almost trippling und omuslim, the price of food up 15 percent this year and going higher that anyone who has any money in the bak are only getting.25 percent interest and that these factors are killing seniors and the poor.DOES NO ONE CARE ABOUT THESE ISSUES

  • http://christopherlondonblog.com/2012/01/31/establishment-elite-to-gore-gingrich-in-florida-gop-prim Christopher London

    This is America. Money will matter. Money does matter. Money always matters. In a time where America's soul is ruptured, uncertain and nervous about the future, America needs leaders with soul who can connect with the soul of this nation, Democrat, Republican or Independent, not to prey on them for votes and offer no meaningful solutions but simply empty campaign slogans. Mitt Romney is not that man. He is a soul less, shape-shifting charlatan who is ruled by the principle motivation of achieving his own gold like stature as the leader of America. He does not connect because he does not understand what makes people tic.

    Missing in all the media spin and the condemnation and ridicule of Gingrich, his character issues, allegations of his being erratic and under funded relative to Romney is that despite the King of Bain, having nearly every advantage, with all the levers of power and finance in the Elite Anglo Eastern Establishment pulling and orchestrating for him, 40% of the voters in the party want another choice, including those that voted for him.

    Gingrich's populist rage is relevant, actually highly relevant. Crony Capitalism within the ranks of the Financial Oligarchy poses a threat to the rights of not just those who Occupy Wall Street, but the future of independent entrepreneurs, small business owners and average conservative citizens to rise up. The money culture and the corruption on Wall Street needs to be examined. There is a reason why some consider Romney more akin to the Mormon Madoff who labels any critique of him as an attempt to indict the entire free enterprise system. Romney and his surrogates have no right to shield his personal business practices and his manufactured legend with the entire Capitalist/Free Enterprise System. And before we get carried away with his legendary arch capitalist credentials Romney started out in Bain's House of Lies, which is the Consulting division, in the turnaround business many of these companies are critiqued by actual capitalists as being predatory chop shops. Mitt Romney is no Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie or John Rockefeller. There are many honorable people in the finance game, but to suggest that merely working in that arena makes you a job creator and titan of industry is a joke. Gingrich will be subjected to the wrath of the Elite Eastern Establishment because he has called into question, their entire Ponzi Scheme. From here on out, do not expect Gingrich to catch a break. And I defend him not because I have been a long time supporter, but because whether or not I agree with every idea he has, his 'Big Ideas" advance the dialogue and the elite and are attempting to crucify a man for bringing up a dialogue that the RNC establishment elite do not want to have. Destroying Gingrich, not allowing him to have his dialogue with the American public because one man is bought and paid for by Oligarchs will ultimately bring about the End of America. This country needs to have the dialogue that Newt is putting forth, regardless of what judgments one will make about his personal life. Mr. Roboto is not what America needs.

  • http://christopherlondonblog.com/2012/01/31/establishment-elite-to-gore-gingrich-in-florida-gop-prim Christopher London

    Mitt Romney's Message: You may think I suck but I have the money to point out how much more the other guy sucks.

    — $15.3 million: How much money Mitt Romney and his backers spent in the state (compared to $3.4 million spent by Newt Gingrich and his groups)

    — 13,000: The number of advertisements put on the air on Mitt's behalf as of mid-week last week. Newt had about 200

    — 92: The percentage of these ads that were negative