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A new type of Anti War Protest: $ for PACs
October 19, 2002 1:53 PM   Subscribe

A new type of Anti War Protest: $ for PACs ”MoveOnPAC.org, an Internet site, has raised more than $1 million in 48 hours for what it calls four "heroes" of Congress who opposed the Iraq resolution.” (Wash. Post article 10/17). Better than marching in DC? I gave.
posted by troutfishing (17 comments total)

 
Although I completely disagree with the members of Congress featured on this site, I like this idea. Time to put your money where you mouth is. This is way more productive than yet another march. There is no better way to show your support to a politician that supported your view, than to make a contribution to his/her campaign.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:19 PM on October 19, 2002


And although I completely agree with the members of Congress featured on this site, I hate this idea.

The fact is, this is still just a PAC saying "look, do what we say and we'll give you more money." I'd feel like a hypocrite if I acted like the openness of some group saying how threats of funding agains specific names isn't a little disturbing. At least the big boys giving multi-million dollar checks are subtle about it.

Granted there's no better way right now to support a politician than to give them lots of money; it's also the worst way to actually further legitimate democracy. What if this trend continued? $1 million in 2 days is over $150 million in a year; I don't want that kind of money going form any single entity, be it the NRA or NARAL. So yeah, maybe I am being partisan here, but it's the selfish truth- I don't want Democrats doing this because I certainly don't want to see Republicans doing it.

Regardless, voters aren't supposed to have stronger or lighter messages depending on how much money they give. "I'm a voter" shouldn't be weaker to a Congressman than "I'm a voter who just fired off a few hundred few PayPal," which is basically what this website is trying to say.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:48 PM on October 19, 2002


I don't want that kind of money going form any single entity

The money is submitted directly on to the candidates of your choice; this PAC doesn't see a dime of it unless you specifically give it to them rather than the candidate. What they do is put candidates in front of you that did certain politically risky things and give you the option of supporting those candidates.

That said, I absolutely agree with you that a democracy of money is no democracy at all. We have allowed the government to do a horrible thing: to give away airwaves worth billions to companies who then sell them back by the second to the highest bidder.

It stinks to heaven that a senator must collect $10,000 for every single day he's in office merely so he can afford to use the airwaves to talk to the public they supposedly belong to.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:03 PM on October 19, 2002


XQUZYPHYR:
"I'm a voter" shouldn't be weaker to a Congressman than "I'm a voter who just fired off a few hundred few PayPal," which is basically what this website is trying to say.

No, they are "trying to say" that money will help these contested campaigns greatly. Your vote counts just the same, as you well know, but your cash might help one of these candidates get their message out to an undecided voter or two.

Until there is massive campaign finance reform, it is a fact that congressional races do better if they have money for things like advertisements. Republicans ARE doing it, so are Democrats, its how our political system currently works.

If everyone opposed to the role of money in politics doesn't give any money, the problem only gets worse (what a wonderful catch22, eh?).
posted by malphigian at 3:06 PM on October 19, 2002


Eh, just wanted to correct the link to MoveOnPAC...it's MoveOnPAC

troutfishing -- judging from the source of the page it seems like some kind of smart quotes or something were used in writing the link code which made it faulty (at least in IE 6.0)
posted by puffin at 3:09 PM on October 19, 2002


We have allowed the government to do a horrible thing: to give away airwaves worth billions to companies who then sell them back by the second to the highest bidder.
you go, George Spiggot!!! i thought i was the only one on the planet still pissed about the theft and subsequent gold rush taking place with regard to our spectrum.
posted by quonsar at 3:28 PM on October 19, 2002


yup, what malphigan said: on a pragmatic level, $1 million in 48 hours is an understandable, accessible expression of protest of a money-where-mouth variety.

That said, ironically, the biggest public opinion 'crowbar' argument against the war may possibly be the cost of the whole darn thing. Pragmatically speaking. You could argue that the protest outlay is returned in tax savings....
posted by klaatu at 5:27 PM on October 19, 2002


Can political contributions be written off against tax in the US? Or anywhere? (come to think of it, where's that return I was meant to have finished...?)
posted by klaatu at 5:29 PM on October 19, 2002


Whoah.......mother load.....no cynical, snarkey comments. Just thoughtfull, polite, insightfull debate. Where's the obnoxious blather?

Steve_at_Linwood - makes me think: if all the protesters who flocked to DC would instead make visits to their local rep. offices ONE BY ONE and in SMALL GROUPS (tends to have more influence, I've heard) and then give their DC bus fare and trip xpense money to targeted PAC's, they would exert 10 times as much leverage. And think of the savings in crowd control expenses!

XQHUZYPHYR - I agree, $ is corrupting US politics. Why not give $ to PACS expressly devoted to the issue of campaign? finance reform?

PUFFIN - Thanks for the link correction.

Malphigian - "If everyone opposed to the role of money in politics doesn't give any money, the problem only gets worse (what a wonderful catch22, eh?)." - yup. You pegged it.

GEORGE_SPIGGOT, QUONSAR - YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
I blame the current sorry state of democracy in the US (to a large part) on the auctioning of bandwidth to the highest bidder. Bandwidth should be a public resource and not a profit mill.

Let's start a PAC!

KLAATU - If only people were so rational!
posted by troutfishing at 6:16 PM on October 19, 2002


Money in Democracy is bad, but pretending it doesn't exist seems foolish to me. Besides, didn't campaign finance reform pass? Won't this help in the tiniest little bit?
posted by jragon at 7:04 PM on October 19, 2002


if all the protesters who flocked to DC would instead make visits to their local rep. offices ONE BY ONE and in SMALL GROUPS (tends to have more influence, I've heard) and then give their DC bus fare and trip xpense money to targeted PAC's, they would exert 10 times as much leverage. And think of the savings in crowd control expenses!

Could not agree with you more!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:19 PM on October 19, 2002


BTW, I used MoveOnPAC's online form yesterday to donate to Bill Bradbury, since I'd been meaning to anyway*. Within an hour I got a confirmation email directly from the Bill Bradbury campaign confirming receipt of the full amount. MoveOnPAC does not retain a penny of it.

(*Ever since Bush came to town at huge expense to the taxpayer, pretended to do a little public business here and just sorta kinda in passing happened to raise lots of money for the Republican incumbent.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:49 PM on October 19, 2002


Thanks for the heads-up, troutfishing! I've long been a MoveOn member, but I haven't been doing my duty and reading their emails lately.

George: sounds like you're a fellow Portlander. I pitched in for Bradbury as well.
posted by frykitty at 11:22 PM on October 19, 2002


If you're really interested in swaying the course of an election, don't give money—go out and canvas. It's the most effective means of getting votes that there is. George_Spiggott and frykitty (and anyone else from Oregon), you might check these guys out.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:43 AM on October 21, 2002


Can political contributions be written off against tax in the US?

No.
posted by yhbc at 6:17 AM on October 21, 2002


If you're really interested in swaying the course of an election, don't give money—go out and canvas.

We all do what we can. I don't have the means to canvas, so I give money. I think both have value.
posted by frykitty at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2002


Also: thanks for the link--that looks very cool.
posted by frykitty at 11:46 AM on October 21, 2002


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