Non-alcoholic Brewster's Millions
June 27, 2003 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Even with frequently-discussed endorsements, the Democrats have a lot to worry about financially: staffers for George W. Bush's re-election campaign are making a "conservative estimate" that Bush will spend an average of $426,640 every single day from now until November 2004 on his re-election campaign. Bush will be promoting his visions of (among other things) fiscal conservatism by spending more money each day for the next 16 months than over 99% of the American population earns annually. Campaign spokesman Montgomery Brewster could not be reached for comment.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (45 comments total)
 
Campaign spokesman Montgomery Brewster could not be reached for comment.

Which, just for a moment, had me thinking that Monty Burns was part of the Bush campaign, which would have been enough to get my support. Excellent...
posted by COBRA! at 9:09 AM on June 27, 2003


wow.
that is roughly $209,408,240 by november of 2004.
posted by chrisroberts at 9:17 AM on June 27, 2003


COBRA!: XQ, in another balanced, snark-free, and wonderously non-inflammatory post, (keeping with his reputation as a thoughtful and valuable poster, free of dogma) was referring to Monty Brewster of Brewster's Millions.
posted by trharlan at 9:18 AM on June 27, 2003


What is going to happen when one party has a vast amount more money than all of the other parties?

Imagine the effect that will have on the propaganda war, which, unfortunately, is really the only thing that determines who wins elections...
posted by eas98 at 9:19 AM on June 27, 2003


It appears that Howard Dean has won the MoveON strawpoll.

I voted for Kerry, even though I like Dean and Kucinich better. I just think that Kerry would have a better chance against Bush, and I dispair to ponder a Republican rout in this election.
posted by Danf at 9:20 AM on June 27, 2003


COBRA!: XQ, in another balanced, snark-free, and wonderously non-inflammatory post, (keeping with his reputation as a thoughtful and valuable poster, free of dogma) was referring to Monty Brewster of Brewster's Millions.

I know, I just thought Monty Burns was more fun to talk about than either Brewster's Millions or the upcoming campaign.

But, to contribute to the campaign talk, I think that some of that money should go for product placement in movies/TV. Like, someone on Baby Bob opens a door and Bush is standing there smiling and waving. Or they CGI him into the background of a Return of the King scene.


I mean, straightforward political ads are so old and grating. Let's have some fun with all of that money.
posted by COBRA! at 9:26 AM on June 27, 2003


Yargh! (A) Does being a politician pay so well that the $200000000 could be considered an investment, with a good return? (B) For $200000000, surely there's a better candidate for the job. (C) On the other hand, it's only a buck per citizen. (D) On the other other hand, that's an obscene expenditure, especially when alternative parties will never muster even 1/100th that amount.

American elections (especially) are a war for eyeballs, not minds. What a shame.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2003


What you need to understand is that If the Democratic Party had the money to spend $427,000 every single day on campaigning, they would nobly give all but $1.25 to orphans, the homeless, and battered women.

Right?

~sigh~

Chigger bite.
posted by Perigee at 9:31 AM on June 27, 2003


I'm going to include this text from the MoveOn release, because it took me a while to get into the link.
    No candidate won a majority in this week’s first-ever Democratic online presidential primary, therefore MoveOn.org PAC will not make an endorsement at this time. Howard Dean received the highest vote total with 43.87% of the vote (139,360 votes); followed by Dennis Kucinich with 23.93% (76,000 votes); and John Kerry with 15.73% (49,973 votes). The rest of the field was in single digits: John Edwards, 3.19% (10,146 votes); Richard Gephardt, 2.44% (7,755 votes); Bob Graham, 2.24% (7,113 votes); Carol Moseley Braun, 2.21% (7,021 votes); Joe Lieberman, 1.92% (6,095 votes); and Al Sharpton, 0.53% (1,677 votes).
So if nothing else, it looks like the freepers' threat to push Sharpton to the top resulted in diddley-squat. And though he was a distant second, this does indicate Kucinich may have more support from some sectors than the mainstream media seems to believe.
posted by soyjoy at 9:34 AM on June 27, 2003


So what's the point? McCain and Feingold notwithstanding, I guess it still costs a lot of money to run for president.
posted by Durwood at 9:40 AM on June 27, 2003


Are the Republicans the only party who will spend an obscene amount of money on next year's election?

Posts like this (and others) have an erie resemblance to Orwell's "Two-Minutes-Hate".
posted by jsonic at 9:40 AM on June 27, 2003


The word oligarchy comes to mind.
posted by four panels at 9:47 AM on June 27, 2003


I dunno... the phrase "Sour Grapes" seem much more apt.

If you think the truth isn't stronger than money, you don't belong in this fight. Because - no news - you've lost already.
posted by Perigee at 9:56 AM on June 27, 2003


trharlan, going on the assumption that calling me partisan with (gasp!) viewpoints was some kind of attempt to insult me or something, would you mind saying if you actually refute what I wrote?

Did Bush not run as a fiscal conservative who is now spending more money every day than most Americans make in a year? Is the figure different from that reported in the story? Did I even imply that Democrats are saints in terms of campaign funding or did you just jump to that conclusion because recognizing this as a greatly enhanced example of what's wrong with campaign spending would require you to give an opinion here?

If you'd like to post an article explaining how a Democratic candidate is going to spend nearly half a million dollars a day while his spokesmen essentially flat-out admit that part of their strategy is to bankrupt their opponents in the media coverage battle (and here I was thinking candidates should just have an equal time to present their viewpoints unbeholden to financial interests because that would actually be moralistic and allow them to be elected based on what they actually believe in rather than what they've convinced people through advertisements or something... silly me) you're more than welcome to, and my outrage about the obscenity of campaign funding will be just as great. But don't just post a comment because you'd like to mention that I have a political viewpoint. Ummm.... duh.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:58 AM on June 27, 2003


I tought the result of MoveOn's second question was interesting. "Who would you enthusiastically support?" It went Dean (86.02%) and Kerry (75.29%), etc, with almost 30% saying they would enthusiastically support any Dem candidate.
posted by rschroed at 9:59 AM on June 27, 2003


So lets see here: McCain-Feingold bans "Soft" money, but doubles the limit of personal contributions of "Hard" money to $2,000.

Democrats tend to raise the majority of their money in large "Soft" money donations, whereas Republicans tend to raise the majority of their money via individual "Hard" money donations.

This looks like it was well thought out.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:09 AM on June 27, 2003


You're all fucked.

And by extension, the rest of us are, too.

Damn you yank bastards.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2003


Don't count us out yet, Stavros; we sure can be chuckleheads a lot of the time... but there's still a spine in most of us that money and lies can't buy. Wait, and watch the wind.
posted by Perigee at 10:17 AM on June 27, 2003


I like that people make such a big deal out of the moveon primary, which was really a bunch of guys fighting for, at max, the amount of money that Bush spends in 10 days.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:20 AM on June 27, 2003


I like that people make such a big deal out of the moveon primary, which was really a bunch of guys fighting for, at max, the amount of money that Bush spends in 10 days.

IT ONLY TOOK 10 DAYS FOR LENIN TO SHAKE THE WORLD!!!!1!!

Sorry. Friday caffeine freakout.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:22 AM on June 27, 2003


*crosses his fingers*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:28 AM on June 27, 2003


NPR had the $200 million Republican fund raising goal on their ATC broadcast earlier this week (Wednesday?) Don't forget that incumbents also have more acces to the media while in office simply because they are in office.

Does anybody think money will be an issue in this campaign? I doubt it will be raised by anybody taken seriously by the media.
posted by infowar at 10:31 AM on June 27, 2003


XQ: your post is agendafilter, plain and simple. I didn't say you were wrong on the facts. I wasn't insulting you, either. Your post was unbalanced, snarky, and inflammatory. I called a spade a spade.

Furthermore, if you can honestly claim that more than 1% of Metafilter's readers didn't know that the bush campaign has raised a lot of fucking money, there might be a reason to post this crap. It's not interesting, it's not surprising, and your FPP was as slanted as they come.

How much money are the Democrats spending? How much did Clinton spend in 1998, converted to 2003 dollars? What's the source of the Bush war chest? How has McCain-Feingold played a part in this? All of these are good questions which could have added some substance or balance to the FPP. But that's not how you do business, preferring instead to make MetaFilter your personal blog.

Due to MetaFilter's rules against self-linking, I'll do you a favor. For XQUZYPHYRs insightful political commentary, be sure to check out http://www.xoverboard.com

But don't just post a comment because you'd like to mention that I have a political viewpoint.

Don't just post a viewpoint to the front page because you have one.
posted by trharlan at 10:34 AM on June 27, 2003


I was heartened by the fact that Kucinich came in second place in moveon primary.

(and trharlan, take it to metatalk)
posted by arielmeadow at 10:38 AM on June 27, 2003


It all depends on how you look at that much money.

Let's say bush will be spending 200 million on the campaign (which is, yeah, about half a million a day until Nov 2004). At the current US Population, that means his team will spend only approximatedly 68 cents per citizen. You're gonna have to do better than that, Bush re-election team. My vote is worth more than $0.68

At least pay me twenty bucks for my vote.
posted by mathowie at 10:38 AM on June 27, 2003


Democrats tend to raise the majority of their money in large "Soft" money donations, whereas Republicans tend to raise the majority of their money via individual "Hard" money donations.

Steve- if Bush can get more people to give him money than the Democrats, one can't argue that that specific aspect is generally unfair. Republicans being favored by the rich ergo leads to Republicans having access to more people with discretionary income. As Long as Richie McRichguy is individually donating a limited amount to Bush or the Democrat as opposed to Richguy Inc. donating hundreds of thousands with a wink and a smile, you can't really say that's inherently unfair.

My complaint is when Bush's people say how California can be "the state that burns up Democratic resources..." this is where campaign finance has crossed the line from being used to promote the view of the candidate towards being used to supress the voice of their opponent. That's not what elections, and certainly not what Democracy, is about. It's doubly ironic considering how the right to speak freely is the core argument used by those against any form of CFR.

I find the concept just as silly as the Democrats in 2000 who registered to vote for McCain or the Republicans last week who suggested voting en Masse for Al Sharpton in the MoveOn vote the give Bush a "more defeatable candidate." Campaigning isn't being done to promote candidates anymore; it's being done to destroy others, and it's those techniques that need to be curbed- as it stands, it seems the most effective way is to limit the money you can spend to do so.

It's confusing, because it seems like I'm saying I don't object to individual donations but object to spending huge amounts of them. But there needs to be a distinction between accepting funds meant to spread your message and accepting funds meant to supress another one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:42 AM on June 27, 2003


Matt- yes, but they only want voting citizens. So I'm sure they're up to about, what, maybe two bucks or so?

Bush has a way to go seeing how last election he promised everyone in America $300.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2003


You're all fucked.

I agree. . .we are fucked. . .I am not looking forward to this campaign with our moron president, and the truly evil and greedy men behind him, and all that money. . .
posted by Danf at 10:54 AM on June 27, 2003


Surely, nobody can claim that the current method of selecting Presidents is good for democracy? A race determined by how much money you have and can raise. All of which helps candidates willing to soak the average citizen in order to help business and the rich.

What can be done about it? In Britain, political parties are entitled to TV time in the run-up to elections. No party can advertise on TV other than in these party political broadcasts. This alone would slash the cost of running for President.
posted by salmacis at 11:09 AM on June 27, 2003


How much money are the Democrats spending? How much did Clinton spend in 1998, converted to 2003 dollars? What's the source of the Bush war chest? How has McCain-Feingold played a part in this? All of these are good questions which could have added some substance or balance to the FPP.

And thank you for answering those questions, trharlan. The fact that you did shows your interest in this thread, which surely would have been questionable if all you did was merely attack me for not asking them myself while saying absolutely nothing except how you don't like this thread. Twice. That certainly makes you look like neither a hypocrite or a derailing whiner. Should you make a third comment in this thread would you mind actually saying something instead of bitching about what I didn't say?

What can be done about it? In Britain, political parties are entitled to TV time in the run-up to elections. No party can advertise on TV other than in these party political broadcasts. This alone would slash the cost of running for President.

The problem, salmacis, is that in 2000 Fox wouldn't even pre-empt Dark Angel to show one of the debates. The idea of free air time for candidates makes the media owners angry.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:20 AM on June 27, 2003


We've got the system we deserve, salmacis. People don't bother to educate themselves about public policy issues beyond the basic ideology that informs the "wingness". They don't bother to research candidates positions beyond passively accepting what washes over them from the mass media. I could go on, but I already have. I think people depending on voting resources that aren't influenced by money is probably the only hope.
posted by weston at 11:25 AM on June 27, 2003


The idea of free air time for candidates makes the media owners angry.

And we wouldn't like them when they're angry.

But we do like them when they're Ang Lee!
posted by namespan at 11:33 AM on June 27, 2003


A race determined by how much money you have and can raise. All of which helps candidates willing to soak the average citizen in order to help business and the rich.

Hmmm... I certainly don't determine which candidate who I'll vote for by how much money he spends. It's not the candidates' fault that most Americans are too lazy to properly research all of their choices (or at least candidates besides the major parties) for President.
posted by gyc at 11:37 AM on June 27, 2003


I agree. . .we are fucked. . .

But at least now when the President fucks me, I won't have to go to jail over it...
posted by vraxoin at 11:50 AM on June 27, 2003


I certainly don't determine which candidate who I'll vote for by how much money he spends. It's not the candidates' fault that most Americans are too lazy to properly research all of their choices (or at least candidates besides the major parties) for President.

For those who do worry about the influence of money, however, be sure to check out Nicholas Confessore's Welcome to the Machine in the Washington Monthly, detailing how the GOP has managed to get Republicans into top posts at approximately two-thirds of the K Street lobbying firms - and how this, ultimately, shapes the legislative agenda:

As Republicans control more and more K Street jobs, they will reap more and more K Street money, which will help them win larger and larger majorities on the Hill. The larger the Republican majority, the less reason K Street has to hire Democratic lobbyists or contribute to the campaigns of Democratic politicians, slowly starving them of the means by which to challenge GOP rule.

Despite our rhetoric that we're too smart to be swayed by the bucks, still the money talks. Or, as Dylan said, swears.
posted by kgasmart at 12:01 PM on June 27, 2003


All I can say is thank god for tivo. I predict a long season of political commercials, all of which I can blissfully zap away.
posted by piper28 at 12:03 PM on June 27, 2003


XQUZYPHYR: I think you misunderstood me. I said nothing about it being unfair, I was being sarcastic and saying that the campaign "reform" was not well thought out on the part of Democrats. They made their traditional source of fundraising illegal. Not a very wise move, if you ask me.

And as for the idea that some how a candidate is "accepting funds meant to supress another [message]" That is just dumb.

A candidate or party desisdes how and where to best spend their money. Unless somehow a candidate is able to stop a TV station or newspaper from running his/her opponate's advertisement, nothing is being "suppressed". Candidate X may run more adds in an area than Candidate Y, but it is up to Candidate Y to decide where and how to spend his/her money.

Now it is true that Candidate Y may deside to get in a tit-for-tat adverstising race with Candidate X in a given area, but that is Candidate Y choice.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:11 PM on June 27, 2003


XQ: your post is agendafilter, plain and simple.

Oh, grow up. You sound like a child, complaining that the other kids are being mean.

trharlan has posted 1 link and 128 comments to MetaFilter

At least XQ contibutes beyond criticizing others' posts.
posted by jpoulos at 12:16 PM on June 27, 2003


At this rate of campaign spending growth, we will soon hit flip-mode,after which it will become apparent to everyday voters that the best funded candidates are the least best choice, seing as they're already fully pimped out to other (rich) people's special causes.
posted by BentPenguin at 12:58 PM on June 27, 2003


This country sucks.

We need good campaign finance reform, and we need it now. Good lord. I am of the opinion that candidates for national offices (Senate, President, etc) should all be given equal amounts of money, television and radio time.

$200 million is a ridiculous amount of money to have to raise to compete to be POTUS. Ridiculous.
posted by graventy at 1:37 PM on June 27, 2003


trharlan has posted 1 link and 128 comments to MetaFilter
At least XQ contibutes beyond criticizing others' posts.


Oh please. I'd rather someone not post a link rather than the constant political trolling we seem to get. Although, I must say, it seems to have slackened off a bit lately which has been nice. Either that or I've gotten better at ignoring the trolls.
posted by Plunge at 2:52 PM on June 27, 2003


How much did Clinton spend in 1998, converted to 2003 dollars?

Campaign money? None?
posted by drezdn at 5:22 PM on June 27, 2003


What the US needs (and Canada, and most every other country) is the sensible system the Aussies have.

They have a public entity that is responsible for running the polls. They have it down to such a fine art that they're in demand for all sorts of voting, by which means they make enough money to be profitable.

Their polls are, IIRC, a "rank" style: you assign your vote weight to several candidates. Your votes for 2nd and 3rd choice go towards identifying the candidate who is most-desired and least-unwanted.

Instead of a candidate that alienates everyone who didn't vote for him, you get the candidate that least alienates everyone. Instead of all-or-nothing votes, your vote always counts for something.

(OTOH, there may be some problem with the Aussie system: they did end up with John Howard as PM.)
posted by five fresh fish at 5:33 PM on June 27, 2003


fff, I've tried to get people to use a similar system (Borda Count?) or even just simple approval voting in various organizations. I am continually surprised at how difficult they seem to find it to follow. Software engineers or Phd Candidates in neuroscience, even. I don't know what it is, but people here are so conditioned to plurality voting that anything else just seems odd. I think that it's more likely we'll do something stupid like giving up the electoral college. And Rush Limbaugh will apologize for saying something about Bill Clinton.
posted by weston at 7:24 PM on June 27, 2003


Speaking of "What the U.S. needs":

Why hasn't there a move for elimination of the electoral college since 00? If it wasn't for that outdated institution, our popularly-elected Prez Al Gore would be in charge.

The post-election apathy regarding the circumstances of Bush's rise to power is astonishing to me. The pivotal electoral state is run by his brother, the final ruling made by justices including some appointed when his Daddy was prez/vice-prez.

That's the stuff of a political thriller. It'd be enough for riots in the streets in some other countries. And yet the attitude seemed to be "Let's just move on" - as if it had been no more than a small-stakes poker game in which we cheated out of a few bucks.

I wonder when more people will pull their heads out of their asses and look around at what's going on.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:20 AM on June 28, 2003


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