by Joe Shea
October 30, 2010
SANITY AND/OR FEAR
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- It will be cold tonight in Pennsylvania, but that means nothing to dozens of politicians who are in their final week of a ubiquitous campaign to get a government job.
There isn't a household in Pennsylvania that has active = voters that hasn't been subjected to at least two dozen tv political ads each day, several robo-calls a week, and a few dozen direct mail, full-color, 8-1/2-by-11-inch postcard campaign ads. Many households have already received three or four dozen such ads in the past month.
Pennsylvanians aren't the only ones who have been subjected to a deluge of political campaign ads the past six months. In California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Florida, and West Virginia, and in every state in which there is a possibility of Republicans taking Senate, House, and governor seats from Democrats, there is a battle. The tactic is fear. The facts don't matter. It makes little difference. It's the results the politicians, their parties, and innumerable special interest groups care most about.
This year, more than $4 billion will be spent on Congressional and gubernatorial races on the midterm election. From individuals. From corporations. From special interest groups.
Leading the donations from special interest groups are the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which pledged to spend more than $75 million; American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, formed by Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political advisor, which is expected to spend about $65 million; and the Republican Governors Association, which has already donated more than $30 million. That spendingh leaves the Democratic Governors Association, which has contributed about $10 million, in its dust. Other Democrat-leaning organizations are Act Blue, which will spend about $15 and Moveon.org, which will probably spend about $25 million, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).
Thanks to a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court in January, corporations now enjoy the First Amendment rights of individuals. And corporate money, mostly spent on conservative causes, has poured into the campaigns. None of the special interest groups - no matter which political ideology they embrace - are taxed.
In the third quarter alone, 23 individuals have contributed more than $100,000 each - 15 to conservative causes, seven to liberal causes, one to a non-profit, according to the CRP. Five of the six who gave more than $1 million in the past three months have donated to Republican/conservative campaigns.
The leader in campaign giving, according to Federal Election Commission data, is Bob J. Perry, owner of Texas-based Perry Homes. During the past decade, Perry donated about $35 million to conservative candidates and special interest groups, and was a founder of Swift Boat Veterans, which targeted John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
Perry isn't the only financial whale.
While persons, corporations, and special interest groups are donating billions to the mid-term elections, America companies and corporations in every village, town, borough and city have outsourced about 1.6 million jobs in 2010, according to data compiled by Forrester Research. The same companies and corporations have outsourced about 5.5 million jobs in the past decade to foreign countries in order to increase the "bottom line." About 14.8 million, or 9.7 percent, of Americans are unemployed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
On the streets of America, banks and various lending institutions will have foreclosed on about 1.2 million families in 2010, according to Daily Finance.
Here is another statistic. While persons, corporations, and special interest groups are donating billions to the midterm elections, in every village, town, borough, and city in America about 750,000 persons will be homeless tonight.
By the time the winners in the Nov. 2 election take office in January, more than 3.5 million Americans, about one-fourth of them veterans, will have been homeless in the year in which more than $4 billion was spent to elect political candidates.
The politicians will be warm during their inaugurals; the homeless won't.
Dr. Walter Brasch, a reporter, editor and multimedia writer/producer, is the author of Sex and the Single Beer Can, a book on media and American culture available from Amazon.com. Rosemary Brasch is a former Red Cross family services specialist for national disasters.