Salon Magazine is certainly a leftwing source, but I think it is wise to know what others are saying if only because you will know how to respond when you find yourself in an inevitable conflict with them. Occasionally, they can even provide you with a little insight into what is wrong on your side, and in this respect, Edward Mason of Salon has written an excellent article on the question of Romney’s endorsers, and how the pay-back game is working out for the Mittster. According to Mason, Romney takes the behind-the-scenes endorsement game “to a whole new level.” It’s a story of the way in which money greases the wheels in politics, and while there’s nothing novel about the fact that it happens, what Mason reports that is different about Romney’s operation is the degree to which it is scripted and is paying dividends in the realm of primary endorsements, because he bought the widespread support in advance. Mason starts here:
“Money may not be buying Mitt Romney much Republican love, but it’s going a long way toward helping him buy the next best thing: endorsements in the GOP primaries.”
That’s not the half of it. According to Mason, we can now understand quite well why it is that Gov. Nikki Haley became an early endorser of Romney, despite the fact that she had been a Tea Party favorite:
“South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came out for Romney last month – a year after his Free and Strong America PACs funneled $36,000 to the Tea Party darling’s 2010 election bid. And 19 state and Washington, D.C., lawmakers in three Super Tuesday states – Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia — are backing Romney after his PAC poured a total of $125,500 into their coffers for elections held in 2009 and 2010.”
What Mason details is the manner in which Mitt has leveraged his contributions into state and local endorsements. While we can all wonder about the efficacy of endorsements in small numbers, it’s clear that what Romney hopes to accomplish is to get so many endorsements that it will support the notion of an “inevitable nominee,” and thereby overwhelm his adversaries in the primaries.
One of the more stunning revelations in Mason’s informative article is this:
“According to the Federal Election Commission and OpenSecrets.org, the PAC donated $890,299 to some 167 congressional and Senate candidates in 2010, while distributing another $404,226 in 2010 to state and local candidates, according to state campaign finance records collected by FollowTheMoney.org.”
That’s a sizable chunk of cash, and that it was spent in supporting these state and local candidates tells the tale, because quite obviously, they’re now all coming out of the woodwork to endorse Romney. There’s nothing illegal about any of this, but it’s not the legality of the matter with which should be concerned. It’s a stunning display of how a well-heeled candidate can buy his way to a nomination, and those who don’t see it coming are in for a terrible surprise. It’s small wonder he’s got such an advantage in early states, and it’s now clear why the schedule moved up: Romney intends to close this down, and fast, lest conservative voters realize they’ve been led down the garden path by a campaign that has been playing hardball since its defeat in 2008. Romney may have lost last time out, but this time, he’s throwing everything he has at the endeavor, and has been since almost immediately after his 2008 defeat at the hands of John McCain, and so far, it’s paying off.
Read Mason’s article. If you didn’t understand how this works, this will clear it up.