Democrats campaign on distraction and deception
President Obama is making headlines with his accusation that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is using foreign money to fund its campaign efforts. That's rich since, as Glenn Reynolds, a contributor to The Washington Examiner, notes, Obama has never satisfactorily explained why his 2008 presidential campaign committee accepted foreign credit card donations via its website or why it accepted untraceable, anonymous contributions from prepaid credit cards. The Washington Post reported a few days before the 2008 election that Obama's website handlers chose "not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts." First clean your own house, Mr. President.
But Obama's attack on the Chamber is of a piece with claims Democrats have been shouting for weeks that Republicans are buying the election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it most vividly, promising to tie the GOP to corporate campaign cash "like doggy-doo stuck on your shoe." A newly circulated Democratic Party memo claims that Republican-affiliated groups are outspending liberal Democratic groups $200 million to $7 million. Speaking at a rally in Maryland, President Obama offered his own campaign spending estimate, which was as off-base as Pelosi's: "It is estimated that Democratic groups are being outspent seven to one," he said.
The president and speaker can rail all they want about the "corporate takeover of our elections," but the reality is that 11 of the top 20 biggest political contributors are labor unions. In August, the nation's two biggest unions, the AFL-CIO and SEIU, announced that they would coordinate spending of at least $88 million to elect Democrats. (Imagine the outcry if Goldman Sachs and Bank of America coordinated their campaign spending!). Last week, the National Education Association said it would spend $15 million to help Democrats, and the public sector union AFSCME spent $1.4 million buying ads to help just two congressional Democrats. These are only a few examples of union spending. The Daily Caller's Jon Ward reports that all together, unions and left-wing groups have pledged to spend "more than $250 million now." Given labor unions' longstanding history of corruption, we wonder what a thorough IRS investigation into their campaign spending might unearth. Don't expect that to happen as long as Obama is president.
Note, too, that when Democrats tried and failed to jam new campaign finance restrictions through Congress earlier this year, they exempted unions from the DISCLOSE Act's major reporting requirements. So the Obama-Pelosi Democrats have zero credibility when they accuse Republicans of buying any election. Democrats are using their huge war chest to distract voters from real issues, notably the failed economic stimulus program, endless bailouts of political insiders, tax hikes and the exploding national debt that will crush future generations. All the money in the world probably won't be enough to save Democrats from themselves.