Sunday, January 29, 2012

War of the super PACs

Thinking 2012 will go down in history as the election where the actual candidates were merely a footnote in the campaigns. It's increasingly obvious the real contest is between competing super PACs.
In the last few weeks, super PACs and other outside groups supporting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and President Barack Obama launched activities in Florida, other key states, and nationally — including phone banking, field organizing, direct mail, polling, state-of-the-race memos and even surrogate operations — that were once left mostly to the campaigns and parties.

The ambitious expansion is another example of a shift in political power away from the major parties and their candidates to deep-pocketed outsiders. But it’s left campaign operatives and even candidates grumbling about whether the super PACs are actually helping their favored candidates.
Don't think the super PACs care what their "favored" candidate thinks. These front groups are driven by the agenda of their deep pocket funders whose main interest is in establishing a public narrative that advances it. I expect they will claim credit for getting their candidate elected and demand to be effectively paid back for their efforts with a seat at the policy making table. Suspect they choose their favored candidate strictly on the basis of how well they believe he or she will stay bought.

Also thinking it would be useful for someone with better access to the data than me to keep a running tally on how much they're spending in total. Hope somebody does it.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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