Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Conventional wisdom says that Republican's raise most of their money from wealthy donors while Democrats mainly get their campaign funds from "regular people." Howard Dean's campaign manager reinforces the idea:

"Cheney ''does it with people who get plaques for raising $100,000. (Dean's supporters) are regular people -- students, retirees -- who give $50,'' Trippi said."

However, reality is much different from the perception. From Christopher Caldwell's latest piece for the Weekly Standard:

"The turning point for Dean came with the release of his second-quarter fundraising tally. At $7.5 million, Dean outraised all his fellow candidates. The amount of money was less important than the way he raised it: through 45,000 donors, 80 percent of whom gave under $250 apiece, and many of whom were enticed into the campaign by the Internet site MeetUp.com. These contributions are matchable by the Federal Election Commission in a general election, meaning that Dean, should he be nominated, will be able to tap election funds the others lack. What's more, these small contributions--unlike much of the financial support of the other Democratic candidates--would be quite legal even if the temporary restraining order on campaign finance reform were lifted.

But these itty-bitty donations have a symbolic value, too. The Democratic party is a wishbone of proletarian sloganeering and plutocratic direction that, when snapped, always leaves one side disillusioned. Racial and lifestyle minorities provide the electoral ballast for the party, true. But outside of those categories, the Democrats are the party of America's crème de la crème--not just the "cultural elite," as Dan Quayle put it, but the elite, period. Overwhelming evidence for this came in the form of a June study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. It found that Republicans outraise Democrats by 63 percent to 37 percent among penny-ante donors--those who give under $200. The GOP retains that advantage at all levels up to $100,000, although it steadily narrows as the dollar amount rises. Once you hit $100,000, the Democrats really begin to clean up. They hold a fundraising advantage that widens rapidly as the numbers get more stratospheric. In contributions of over $1 million, they outraise Republicans by 92 percent to 8 percent."

Caldwell's piece says that Dean is doing well and that his candidacy is for real, but the point I am making is that Democrats are overwhelmingly favored by the rich when it comes to campaign contributions.

So much for perceptions.

If you aren't reading Andrew Sullivan you are missing what is perhaps the best weblog going. I don't always agree with Sullivan, but it's clear that he shapes opinion in the blogosphere.

Today's posts are probably the best examples of what he does best.

Here Sullivan presents a Marxist's view on the war. This should be the left's position, but hatred for America and President Bush will not allow them take this position.

Sullivan also deserves credit for taking on The New York Times and exposing the institutional biases of "The paper of record." Here's an example of his work.

Sullivan has been a great supporter of the war on terror, including the war against Afghanistan and the war against Iraq. Here's a wonderful letter from a soldier in Iraq.

Finally, Sullivan has taken on the BBC and exposed it for Americans who are unfamiliar with the history and decadence of the Beeb. Here's a classic example of what I mean:

"THE BBC VERSUS CHURCHILL: Yes, their record of appeasing dictators goes back a long way:

A July 23 editorial in London's Daily Telegraph points out that "BBC journalism exhibits the same 'agenda-setting' mentality… The BBC's bias against the war led it into grotesque distortion of reality." History repeats itself. Winston Churchill's access to the radio broadcasting state monopoly in the 1930s was blocked by John Reith, the BBC director, who was an admirer of both Hitler and Mussolini. Radio broadcasting was then the only way Churchill could reach the masses and inform Britons about the growing Nazi threat. But Reith was an appeaser, like Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain. Reith wrote in his diary that the Nazis "would clean things up," and about Churchill: "I absolutely hate him."

Churchill, as always, had the right enemies. But the best broadside against the old BBC that I have ever read was an essay in the Cambridge Review, if memory serves, by, yes, Michael Oakeshott. I've tried to get it republished, but apparently it's copyrighted somewhere."

Sullivan has the best blog going in my opinion.

Democrats, you've been warned:

"The Democratic Party is at risk of being taken over from the far left," U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, the group's chairman, told reporters at a two-day DLC convention here.

"If we want to govern, we have to offer the American people more than just nostalgia and more than just criticism."

The council released the results of a survey by former Clinton pollster Mark Penn that showed President Bush (news - web sites) as vulnerable on domestic issues including the economy, health care, the federal deficit and education.

But the poll of 1,225 "likely 2004 voters" conducted June 20 to July 1 also said Democrats faced a huge challenge attracting voters from suburban families -- clear majorities of whom were seen to criticize the party as too liberal, beholden to special interests and out of touch with mainstream America.

"The poll is very clear for those who think that if the Democratic Party just lurched to the left and showed a higher flash of anger, that they would somehow win the next election," Penn said. "This poll puts a laugh to that theory."

The DLC has tried for years to push the party away from the liberal agendas of past nominees such as George McGovern in 1972, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Michael Dukakis in 1988.

In 2000, it criticized former Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites)'s unsuccessful campaign for being too populist and abandoning some of the pro-business themes that helped elect Clinton.

In May, the group trained its sights on former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, criticizing the White House hopeful for his anti-war rhetoric and other positions it castigated as self-interested liberalism.

"Democrats are only going to win in 2004 if we make very clear to the American people that we're tough on national security, that we're tough on economic growth and that we have a better alternative for the country," said DLC President Bruce Reed, the former Clinton domestic policy advisor."

ATTENTION EUROPE! This is why we hate the U.N. and see it as a corrupt and despicable organization:

"In yet another example of its growing international uselessness, the United Nations has voted to suspend for one year the consultant status of the press-freedom group, Reporters Without Borders.

Its crime?

Some of the group's members protested the U.N. Human Rights Commission decision to award the agency's chairmanship to Moammar Khadafy's Libya.

The protesters were right to speak out, of course - few actions have underscored the world body's blatant hypocrisy as awarding chairmanship of its human rights commission to one of the world's worst violators of human rights.

Now, Khadafy's Libya - backed by Fidel Castro's Cuba - has convinced the United Nations' Economic and Social Council to lift the group's accreditation as a non-governmental organization.

That means Reporters Without Borders will not be able to testify and present evidence to U.N. meetings for the next year.

(The group, incidentally, was not permitted to defend itself before the council prior to the vote.)

And this is the same world body whose moral authority President Bush's critics insisted on enlisting before taking out one of the world's worst tyrants, Saddam Hussein?"

You leftists want us to defer to an organization that would do this? What a disgusting example of U.N. diplomacy. This is a prime reason why we don't give a shit what the U.N. thinks anymore. This is what we see when we think of multilateralism.

The U.N. is a horrid organization in critical need of reform.

P.S. You Europeans have an organization that is becoming equally worthy of contempt for the same reasons. It's called the E.U. The E.U. is a dangerously undemocratic institution that you people better keep a very close eye on.

MSNBC has a piece that, while not full of good news, shows that the Iraqi people are eager to learn English. American English:

"Few soldiers have a command of Arabic and misunderstandings have been blamed for more than one fatal checkpoint shooting.

But Sajida has other aims in learning a language she feels will open up a world previously closed to her by Saddam.

''If I have any information about Fedayeen or Saddam's followers, I must tell them. We must make friends with the Americans. I see them as angels. I call them God's army,'' said Sajida, a Shi'ite Muslim who says her two brothers were killed by Saddam. "

The "not full of good news" part is complaints that the power and water aren't what they should be, but that's just a matter of time.

America has done a great thing. Europe should have been with us, but greed in the form of highly lucrative oil contracts clouded their judgement.

Things aren't perfect, but Michael Barone has a list of the good news from Iraq:

"The formation of an Iraqi national army has begun.


30,000 Iraqi police have been hired.


An Iraqi civil defense corps is being formed.


Coalition forces have captured or killed 38 of Iraq's 55 most wanted.


Thousands of lower-level Baath Party loyalists have been rounded up or otherwise dealt with.


The Iraqi Central Bank has been made independent.


Iraq has returned to the world oil market. All of Iraq's universities have reopened.


Power and water are, in most places, at prewar levels, and we're making progress in Baghdad.


The food redistribution system has been restarted.


Nearly all of Iraq's 240 hospitals and 1,200 clinics are open.


Over 100 newspapers have begun publishing.


In all major cities and in 85 percent of the towns, municipal councils have been formed of Iraqis.


Ambassador Bremer has helped establish a new National Governing Council. It has begun exercising executive authority, appointing ministers, preparing the way for a new national constitution."