Conservatives Are Bullies: The Latest NYT Election Analysis Comes Straight From The White House

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Oct 25, 2010 11:10 AM
Let's take a look at this New York Times opinion article, "Pro-Republican Groups Prepare Big Push at End of Races," which could've been produced by the White House's public relations office. The claim is that Republican groups are sucking the wind out of a few elections in the final days of the cycle, and providing an unfair advantage for Republican candidates, because:
-- These Republican groups have simply outsmarted their Democratic counterparts.
-- Republicans have more cash to burn, and thus have more power.
-- Conservative outside interest groups wield far more influence in contested districts than do liberal interest groups.
It's true that the Republican messaging machine on Obama has been second to none. Disseminating information on the President's policies and making voters aware of the full extent of the economic disaster isn't hard when unemployment is at ten percent.

However, it's difficult to make generalizations as to specific campaign strategies in an election until you see the results. Some maneuverings on the Republican side have been well-executed; branding Democrats as Pelosi puppets, for example, or giving Alan Grayson room to hang himself in Florida's 8th district. But running Christine O'Donnel as "not a witch" wasn't particularly smart, and I cringe to think of the polling points lost by Joe Miller's mis-steps last week. In short, it's a football game out there, and it's hard to say who has come out on top until they've actually come out on top. That is, unless you're the New York Times, and want to brand Republicans as wolverines.

The second point, that Republicans have a lot of cash to burn, is directly contradicted by the fact that the DCCC has $24.8 million in their account and another $17 million loan, while the NRCC has $11.3 million on hand total. Unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) could spend as high as $87.5 million on the elections this cycle, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yes, there has been an influx of cash from conservative groups as well, but the Times even admits that  "both sides reported seeing an influx of new spending by liberal outside groups that had generally been subdued until now — a late-stage cavalry effect..." In other words, Democrats are more than holding their own.

Much has been made of conservative groups "coordinating" efforts with conference calls and targeted expenditures. That doesn't mean they're raising more cash, and that doesn't mean they're using fairy dust to get that cash out there. It simply means they're doing exactly what anyone would do to win an election.

These claims dovetail nicely with the things President Obama has been claiming for weeks, insisting that Republican donors like the Chamber of Commerce have unfairly bought off candidates and thwarted the Democratic process. On Sunday, Karl Rove had a little something to say about that, referencing the $400 million in support from outside groups that Obama received in 2008:
I don't remember him ever saying that all these liberal groups were threats to democracy when they spent money exactly the same way we are.