Josh Kraushaar on Money, the Chamber of Commerce, and Politics

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on October 14, 2010

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This ought to be required reading for President Obama, and members of his Administration–though I am sure that epistemic closure will keep them from even skimming the article:

It’s ironic to see Obama criticizing the current campaign finance system at a time when Democrats control the White House, hold sizable majorities in both houses of Congress, and enjoy the myriad fundraising advantages that come with incumbency. The fact is that more money into the system is creating a competitive balance in politics.

It wasn’t long ago, during the Bush administration, that Democrats joined good-government types in complaining about how the perks of incumbency and partisan gerrymandering had made it exceedingly difficult for challengers to oust sitting Republican members. Between 2000 and 2004, only a relative handful of House races were considered competitive.

With three weeks before this year’s election, the Cook Political Report now rates nearly 90 Democratic-held House seats as at risk — by far the highest total of competitive races it has ever found — with 12 of 19 Democratic-held Senate seats in play. Democrats may charge that the outside money has created all these Republican opportunities. But the reality is the opposite: The poisonous political environment for Democrats, fueled by their own votes, is sparking the GOP’s financial momentum across the board.

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