Follow the Money, an arm of the National Institute of State Money in Politics does exactly that – it follows the political contributions on a national and state level. I was recently emailed their latest figures of how much loot the state candidates and/or their committees have already taken in for the 2012 campaign. It will be a record in a campaign that’s going to be primarily about $$$$$. Issues will continue to be a peripheral part of every campaign. Nationally, the senate has already told Missouri Senator, Roy Blunt where he could put his goofy amendment allowing any employer with ‘moral’ objections to opt out of birth control coverage.
Perhaps the most controversial piece of current legislation is Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) budget. It borders on grotesque. It promises a 2.8% unemployment rate based on numbers by the Heritage Foundation, which is about as objective as parents watching their daughter in a 5th grade school play. Ryan also proposes eliminating taxes on dividends and interest and eliminating the corporate income tax (hell most of these super-patriots don’t pay it anyway). Then there’s his ‘territorial’ tax system that enables tax-avoiders like Romney to haven his way out of even more taxes. Ryan would also jack up defense spending as he realizes there are Muslim nations the U.S. hasn’t actually attacked as yet.
The budget cuts a wide swath through taxes for the hugely wealthy while the middle class gets to pay more. The Congressional Budget Office says the federal debt would go up as a share of GDP until 2043. “But mommy, I thought Republicans were fiscal conservatives.” “No honey, they just hate on homosexuals, holster their .357’s, love the Lord (when not banging the neighbor) and lie to get into office. Their goober-voters only listen to propaganda radio and TV, watch Rove and Koch anti-Democrat commercials and never bother to research the actual facts.”
Pell Grants are also on the Ryan radar to the tune of a $170 billion cut. That means the maximum grant stays the same with the future intent of eliminating a number of those who would be eligible for this great program under current guidelines. An estimated 9 million students currently benefit from the program. In late April, Republicans cast a highly politicized vote to keep federal Stafford student loan interest (7.4 million students) from doubling but wanted to pay for it by savaging segments of Obamacare like eliminating the preventive care program. The argument rages.
Ryan also calls for repealing all of Obamacare and the Supremes are already doing their part to make that happen.
This quintet of corporate-owned justices has managed to destroy any semblance of reason and control over our political funding system with Citizens United v. FEC (January 2010) and is preparing to do the same to health care and immigration. So don’t worry Paul, it’s going to happen!
The president has already indicated he plans to push new health care legislation if that be the case… and don’t forget the public option this time, Mr. President. It should be noted that there is a distinct possibility that the political calculus on the part of the right-wing justices and their handlers could be that the public will not take too kindly to trashing the entirety of Obamacare and might react by voting in an inordinate number of people who actually care about them – as in Democrats. So the June health care outcome might be more benign than most pundits are predicting. I’m just saying that’s a possibility while preparing for the worst.
So much for the national political picture. According to Follow the Money, here is what is happening in individual states. States that are being given extra special attention. Remember, much of this campaign will be about Federalism. This is a system of constitutional sovereignty dividing up powers between the states and the central government. As defined by the radical right, it really means that the states control just about everything. Want to have a jillion dollar defense budget Washington? Go for it. Attack! Shoot! Kill the hell out of the rest of the world! Hoozaah! Otherwise for the red states, the Articles of the Confederation are just fine. They’ll eff up everything in 2012 and beyond just like their predecessors did under the articles.
So for the extremists, it would stand to reason that campaign money must increasingly go to the states. When you knot all the states together, their candidates have already pulled in $345,576,257 according to FTM. That’s for about 4 months accounting. Much of the Super Pac stuff has yet to be spent so state spending will easily top $1 billion. It’s interesting that according to assorted spending records, a great majority of state money is directed toward the governor, much more powerful within their state borders than most give them credit for.
Without getting bogged down in staid balance sheets, let’s take a gander at assorted state party money-grubbing percentages. There are a few, not many, surprises. Take Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky for instance. Most people think of Kentucky as being red as fire, given the fact the state hosted the likes of almost psychotically conservative ex-baseballer, Representative, then Senator Jim Bunning who retired a couple of years ago and Senator Rand Paul just a syllable or two from being as nutty as his old man. And, of course, there’s McConnell; words can’t describe the extent of his radicalism. But hold on. Kentucky has a registered Democratic majority pushing ½ million and a Democratic fundraising percentage of 67-32%.
More predictable is Utah. I guess the state claims Romney, not an‘honor’ any state is particularly relishing. Utah Republicans enjoy a fundraising margin of 93-7%. On the reverse side of the coin, Hawaii, Dog, the Bounty Hunter’s current digs, has stuffed Democratic campaign pockets with almost 98% of the fundraising swag. Predictably, the southern states are Republican pure with margin examples of 75-14 (10.9, non-partisan); 81-19 and 88-12 in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama respectively. North Carolina is the only holdout with a paper-thin Democratic margin of 1%, but they’re still going to tell the gays to go to hell come May 8th. There are more high-margin Republican states than Democrat.
While the Democrats are prepping for the probable big win in the presidential race, Republicans are angling to control the vast majority of state legislatures and are willing to pay the price to do it.