Just a few weeks ago, Senate Democrats held show votes on an constitutional amendment designed to curtail political speech, ostensibly for the purpose of abating the scourge of money in politics. But Democrats love money in politics, so long as it's their own. Their showboating, therefore, is all about hypocritically claiming the moral high ground (while casting Republicans as defenders of "dark money" or whatever), and milking more dollars out of their credulous base. For a party that eagerly proclaims its fervent concern over the corrosive impact of money in our political process, Democrats are once again outspending Republicans in 2014 -- including among outside groups and major donors this time. Politico reports:
Democrats love to cast Republicans as the party of big money, beholden to the out-of-touch billionaires bankrolling their campaigns. But new numbers tell a very different story — one in which Democrats are actually raising more big money than their adversaries. Among the groups reporting the biggest political ad spending, the 15 top Democrat-aligned committees have outraised the 15 top Republican ones $453 million to $289 million in the 2014 cycle, according to a POLITICO analysis of the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, including those filed over the weekend — which cover through the end of last month. The analysis shows the fundraising edge widening in August, when the Democratic groups pulled in more than twice as much as their GOP counterparts — $51 million to $21 million. That’s thanks to a spike in massive checks from increasingly energized labor unions and liberal billionaires like Tom Steyer and Fred Eychaner.
B-b-but, they're only playing this nasty game because the Republicans and their dirty money have left them no choice, they'll insist. Sure. The NRSC's Brad Dayspring calls out Senate Democrats who routinely whinge about "outside money" while gladly benefitting from tens of millions in…outside money:
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said it’s tough to stomach continued sniping about GOP big money from Democrats. The party’s most vulnerable incumbent senators — such as Mark Begich, Kay Hagan and Mark Udall — are all benefiting greatly from major outside spending campaigns, Dayspring pointed out — including some anonymous spending of the sort they’ve railed against. “Their complaints about money in politics bring back memories of Lance Armstrong decrying doping,” declared Dayspring. He noted that Democratic Party leaders and candidates maintain close connections to the outside groups, despite their rhetoric — and laws intended to keep them separate, which both sides have found legal ways around…Television station data analyzed by Wesleyan University showed that Senate Majority PAC had actually aired more spots than even AFP. And Senate Majority PAC raised nearly $6 million in August — more than triple its closest GOP analogue, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC and nearly as much as Dayspring’s NRSC — from a collection of unions (which combined to give $2.3 million) and rich liberals like the Chicago media mogul Eychaner (who gave $1 million, bringing his midterm tally to the PAC to $5 million).
But that's good money, you must understand. The hypocrisy is galling, of course, but these rank-and-file Democrats are only taking their cues from the very top. The party and its aligned groups are hoping that their immense financial advantage can prop up floundering Senate candidates across the country and rescue Harry Reid's majority. With outside organizations pumping the airwaves full of ads, Democrats can marshall more their official party resources for critical get-out-the-vote efforts in battleground states. In spite of this deluge of left-leaning cash, Republicans remain well positioned to reclaim an upper chamber majority, though that outcome is far from assured. New polling from Democratic outfit PPP shows Senators Mark Pryor and Mark Begich narrowly trailing GOP challengers, with each incumbent languishing in highly dangerous territory:
So PPP (D) has Begich at 41% and Pryor at 38% today, both trailing. #Incumbents— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 23, 2014
In the Alaska race, Republican Dan Sullivan is being buoyed by a new ad cut by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who defends Sullivan againsttruly repellant Democratic attacks and indirectly slices Begich as a lock-step Obama agenda enabler (which he is). As you watch this, remember that Murkowski is sufficiently popular in Alaska to have won a write-in campaign four years ago. She also recently demanded that Begich pull down an ad insinuating that she supported his campaign. She quite clearly does not:
In North Carolina, the NRA is on Team Tillis:
In New Hampshire, Scott Brown is up with a new ad on ISIS and border security, while 'Ending Spending' calls attention to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's refusal to hold traditional town hall meetings, which are a major component of Granite State voters' political diet:
And since this post has turned into a Senate round-up, I'll leave you with two items. First, an ad from Dr. Monica Wehby, Oregon's long-shot GOP Senate nominee. Though her campaign has struggled down the stretch, it's produced some excellent ads, including this punch-back spot dealing with Sen. Jeff Merkley's equal pay problem. Democrats can't stop demagoguing this bogus issue, so if they insist on clinging to an unserious standard in order to launch spurious attacks, it seems fair to hoist them by their own petard:
And finally, the New York Times' election projection model has bumped the GOP's chances at recapturing the Senate back up to 60 percent: