Thursday, September 20, 2012


(personal comment)

We received a telephone call one evening earlier this week that got me going.  After being surveyed up, down and sideways in the weeks leading up to the primary last month, we had had somewhat of a reprieve.  The blessed dinnertime silence is ending.

The DCCC/NRCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee/National Republican Congressional Committee)* solicitor was very nice, and I am NEVER rude (initially, at least) to the person who is just doing their job (or, especially, volunteering).  She gave the usual shpiel about the importance of the election, the dangers facing this country if the other party takes/retains control of Congress, how well their --CC has been doing so far, and how it needs more money to do more good.

At that point, I stopped her.  I told her that the only negative campaign commercials running on Arizona stations right now are from the NRCC and the DCCC.  And, they are running A LOT...already!  I told her that I was wearied by the constant negativity. (Though I am somewhat reinvigorated by the fact checking opportunities!)  I told her that I would rather give to the local, on-the-ground campaigns that are (more) likely to use my money for other functions of campaigning.

Bless her (and the committee's script), but she had the comeback ready: we actually do a LOT of other things with your money, such as bringing people to the polls on election day.  For anyone who has been involved in a political campaign, they know that that is incorrect;  usually, it is local parties and volunteers that take that task seriously.

The mega-operations that are the DCCC and the NRCC are NOT currently set up for anything but firing 30-second spots at each other.  And, usually, they are lobbing the same tired and misleading shells.  (OK, they also put up longer, internet-only videos and ads.)

The most recent numbers posted on Open Secrets for the organizations bear that out.  The NRCC has raised more than $109 million ($7.8 million from John Boehner's leadership PAC alone!), spent more than $62 million and has $48 million in the bank to spend on media.  Those numbers for the DCCC are $115 million, $80 million and $36 million.  Looking at the top expenditures will buttress the conclusion and looking at their monthly reports on the FEC's ("Federal Election Commission's) website clinches it: these are not grassroots campaigns.

The solicitor gave it one last shot.  She promised that some of the money will go to other organizations and campaigns that will do the positive work of campaigning.  I thanked her and told her I would give our money directly to those groups and people.

I am open to fundraising pitches.  Heck, I have been known to pitch some myself.  But, I'll be damned if I'm going to respond to pitches to support the machines that have given up on everything but the negative crap that turns many people off on our democracy, and has turned others into rabid, party-firsters.

It is enough to make me start making calls for No Labels.

* I am not identifying which of the party-affiliated Congressional campaign machines called - in our household, it could have been either.

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