Patterico's Pontifications


Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri… oh, mzzzzz

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 5:00 pm

[Posted by Karl]

No delegates, just expectations and momentum, the intangibles open to interpretation.” OK, here’s a little more.


(And here are your results links for CO, MN and MO.)


Ninth Circus: Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:24 pm

With Reinhardt and Hawkins on the panel, the question was not whether this would happen, but how. And the answer is: they chose to forego a sweeping ruling in favor of a narrower one, the reasoning of which is more likely to appeal to Anthony Kennedy.

No principles to be found here. Just naked power, restrained only by an awareness of a greater power in D.C.

Decision may be read here. If you care to read such sophistry.

Barack Obama, Super-hypocrite on SuperPACs

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 7:16 am

[Posted by Karl]

Calling SuperPACs a “threat to democracy” is sooo two days ago:

On a conference call with members of President Obama’s 2012 reelection committee Monday evening, campaign manager Jim Messina announced that donors should start funding Priorities USA, the Democratic super PAC run by two former White House staffers, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney.

The move was a remarkable shift in approach toward the independent political expenditure groups, whose role in the political process Obama has criticized and from which his campaign had sought to keep distance.


Just seven months earlier, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt assured, “Neither the President nor his campaign staff or aides will fundraise for super PACs,” according to the LA Times.

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski collects video of Obama’s attacks on the Citizens United ruling that made this spending possible, while Ben Smith recalls Obama’s earlier campaign financing hypocrisy in rejecting public funding:

That 2008 decision wasn’t made entirely out of some reformist purity. Obama would go back on a pledge to take public financing, accepting the hit on his reform credentials (which was enacted solely on the Times editorial page) in exchange for a serious financial advantage over John McCain. And his team decided that outside allies — whether the 527s or the more traditional DNC independent expenditure, could only muddy up the purity of his very pure message.

So what has changed? One major shift is that Obama faces an opponent whose rich friends really will pour tens of millions into outside groups, unlike the underfunded and relatively isolated John McCain.

Josh Kraushaar laid this out in detail last week.  Based on the 2011 numbers:

[T]he combined Obama and Democratic outside group totals to $98.3 million cash-on-hand, with the GOP groups tallying $94.1 million.  Take out the Democratic groups strictly devoted to congressional activities, and it’s a virtual financial tie. With labor and environmental groups poised to help Obama’s re-election, Democrats still could hold a narrow edge.  But it’s hardly the cash advantage that would allow Team Obama to run negative advertising uncontested against Romney, without an aggressive response.

It’s a far cry from the vision of a billion-dollar Obama re-election campaign bankroll that Democratic strategists are now downplaying.  And it shows that the amount of time Democrats spent complaining and attacking the liberalized campaign finance laws before the 2010 midterms would have been better spent preparing for an infrastructure utilizing super PACs to their advantage.  Priorities USA, headed by former White House spokesman Bill Burton, hasn’t yet shown it can compete with American Crossroads so far — and time is running short.

This was really a no-brainer for Obama.  In my experience — and his — there is no political price to be paid for gaming the campaign finance system.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin and others will sniff and move on, just to make sure it remains a Beltway story.  Indeed, it’s barely a “Beltway story” — it made the front page of the NYT, but not the WaPo.


Tell Romney: If He Wants Your Money, It’s Rubio

Filed under: 2012 Election,General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

A new friend and I were discussing the sad state of the Republican field on Saturday. We agreed that the current crop of candidates is wholly uninspiring. We also agreed that a Romney ticket, which seems very likely, could gain some excitement if he were to pick a young, articulate, energetic VP like Marco Rubio.

“I would send him money if he picked Rubio,” I said. “It’s hard to imagine sending him money under any other circumstances. But if he picked Rubio, I would donate to Romney.”

There are good reasons to think Marco Rubio would be a perfect VP candidate. He has the support of both the establishment and the Tea Party — a rarity in today’s divisive Republican politics. That ability to garner support from both factions of the party would be a key unifying force. Rubio would bring principle to a ticket that sadly seems to lack it otherwise. He cuts into Obama’s “Western strategy” (which is really a Latino strategy) and shows the party that we are not giving up on Latinos — but we are not giving up on conservatism either. And finally, Rubio is simply a galvanizing force: well-spoken and vigorous.

I still remember the excitement I felt when John McCain picked Sarah Palin. But she proved prone to gaffes in unstructured settings. This was a manufactured media narrative, but she unfortunately played into it. Rubio wouldn’t. He would bring the excitement without the same negatives.

My friend agreed, and it occurred to us that we should try to enforce this. That we should tell Romney: pick Rubio and I’ll send you a donation. Pick some tired mushy moderate like yourself and you get nothing. I’ll vote for you, sure — but you’re not getting a dime.

Yes, I agreed, we should tell Romney that.

So, I just did.

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