Just so long as we don’t forget this is gonna be a fight.
Day by day, it’s true, things are looking better and better for the re-election of President Barack Obama. The condition of the economy, which has served as the biggest gun in the Republican anti-Obama arsenal (aside from his race), now appears to be on course for a steady, solid recovery. Nobody likes the leading Republican candidate except for his wife and kids, and that may be just a rumor. The other Republican candidates have provided the best free clown show anyone could ask for. Matter of fact, if they compiled a disc of the Republican candidates’ Biggest Hits and put it up for sale, I’m betting they could raise more money than with the Super Pacs. I’m just offering that as a suggestion, because I’m all about extending a helping hand to the downtrodden, which right about now appears to be the Republicans.
Except maybe not quite so fast…
Because this is not 2008. Lest we forget, the Republicans have been plenty busy since Obama became president in 2008, and a large part of what has been occupying their time has been rigging the election of 2012. Determined that Obama cannot be allowed to return to office no matter what the cost of defeating him might be, Republicans have been busy setting the stage – or preparing to blow up the stage – using two key explosives; voter disenfranchisement and SuperPACs. According to the Brennan Center for Justice:
- 3.2 million voters could be hampered from voting due to the new photo id laws in certain states
- As many as 240,000 voters could be deterred by laws requiring proof of citizenship
- Between one and two million voters could lose out on chances to vote due to new laws that shorten early voting periods
Realizing what a key part non-white folks and young folks played in Obama’s victory, especially those thousands upon thousands who had not previously been registered voters, the Republicans have made significant inroads in a number of states passing laws making it much more difficult not only to register to vote, but also to make it more inconvenient and more of a hassle proving you’re eligible to vote once you show up at the polls. That, in a nutshell, is the disenfranchisement part of it. The Super PACs now weigh in, thanks to the disastrous Citizens United decision of the United States Supreme Court in 2010, by placing the iron thumb of corporate wealth on the campaign donations scale, effectively throwing any resemblance of fairness in the electoral system overboard and offering corporations their best opportunity yet to band together and purchase a presidency. Which is why Obama is now being forced to backtrack his opposition to Super PACs and take the politically risky but financially essential and realistic decision to support a Super PAC for Democrats.
From NPR on Feb. 7, 2012:
Team Obama reversed course late Monday when campaign manager Jim Messina urged donors to help pro-Obama Super PACs raise super money, and said administration officials will be free to help with the fundraising.
The math was an apparent wake-up call for Democrats: Priorities USA Action, which was founded by two former Obama aides, pulled in just $4.4 million last year, while the Super PAC supporting GOP front-runner Mitt Romney raked in nearly $18 million.
More broadly, new fundraising reports show pro-Republican Super PACs have pulled well ahead of those supporting Democrats. The biggest GOP groups raised more than $50 million last year, while Democratic groups — including Priorities USA — garnered less than $20 million.
Obama’s campaign had formerly kept Priorities USA at a distance as the president himself railed against the Super PAC establishment.
The climb down from that perch has been a steep one.
But if the Republicans can’t use their newfound millions to bag themselves a POTUS, then they can at least buy a deciding number of elected officials in both houses of Congress. And this is where I believe the real battle is going to be waged. Because even as far as the Republicans have managed to tilt the playing field in their favor, the Republican presidential primary campaign has turned out to be such a comical disaster that even some Republicans (including Rush Limbaugh) are openly saying that their team is a pretty sorry lot. The one guy who looks to be their eventual nominee has enough money to buy everything except love, dedication, commitment and/or enthusiasm from his followers. The lesser clowns and anklebiters are becoming an increasingly embarrassing and irrelevant pack of bad jokes. All of which is to say that this election is pretty much Obama’s to lose. I just don’t see the Republican base being so stirred up for Romney, even when you factor in their irrational hatred of Obama, to where they will be out beating the streets for their guy. At best they will be squatting in front of their couches murmuring “Vote Mitt” between yawns.
This doesn’t mean Obama will win running away, because the rules have been too corrupted to allow that, but I do predict that he wins by a definitive margin.
But when it comes to the House and Senate races, that’s an entirely different beast which is receiving scant attention right now because the Republican presidential primary is so much more entertaining and so much more made for TV. But this will be the fight that really matters, regardless of how much media attention it receives, because for Obama to be able to effectively implement the remainder of his vision the Tea Party Nuthouse Caucus has to be rooted out and sent packing. If we can’t achieve a majority in both chambers, which is what we really need to get the job done, then we at least need to make it easier for the Republicans with brains – Republicans who understand the pre-Gingrich concept of cooperation – to speak out and be heard without fear of retaliation from their fellow inmates with the two-digit IQs.