Monday, August 04, 2003

Money on the Religious Right: I think you're on to something, Razor, though I don't know how much is there. I think the Religious Right puts enormous social pressure on the GOP, simply because they have pulpit power -- a lot of influence over what their members think. Look at this page on the top contributors to politics in 2002. Cast your eye down the list and you'll see my point made exactly: The Dems are owned by this list. Of the top ten political donors, nine are "solidly Democratic." The tenth is "on the fence." Six of the top ten are unions, and one is a professional organization. The first donor to lean "strongly Republican" doesn't show up until 14th place -- Philip Morris. From there it's a fairly mixed bag but, I think you'd agree, tilted toward the Dems pretty solidly up to the halfway mark. Another point: Scan the list and find the donors who split their money between parties. The Dems have a lot more donors giving them 80, 90, even 100% of their donations. Within the top 25, only two donors give overwhelming majorities to Republicans, and one of those is explicitly a PAC for a GOP candidate. In the top ten donors, on the other hand, the first nine give as a percentage to Dems: 100%, 99%, 100%, 96%, 100%, 91%, 100%, 93%, 99%. So the top ten is not only Democratic, but nearly exclusively so. On the other hand, the biggest (dollar) GOP donors give as a percentage to GOP: 57%, 59%, 77%, 67%. The first huge one is the pharmaceutical industry, which gives 95% to the GOP (which is understandable since the Dems have implicitly threatened to socialize the damned thing). Even the NRA, which you have to admit is a big, big dog in GOP circles, doesn't show up until 57th overall. If #57 has that kind of pull (remember how they were going to get "their own office" in the West Wing according to Dems?), how much pull must AFSCME have, or the teachers unions, or Loral, or the UAW, or EMILY's list.

Now check out the all-time top donors here. All unions and professional organizations except one (Philip Morris). Two organizations give to both parties (the AMA and the Association of Realtors). Philip Morris did the same until the government sued them. All the rest, currently and historically, give nothing (or only a token amount) to the GOP.

Here's what I'm getting at: If the GOP has sold out, it sold out for votes -- as is plain in its aping, in miniature, every Democratic spending plan or entitlement idea. As far as PACs, unions, corporations, organizations, and so-called special interests go, the Dems are in another league entirely. Keep in mind, I'm not the one who argues that money corrupts politics. That would be the Dems. (More on that in the next post.)

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