Monday, December 10, 2007

Legalized Bribery

Every once in a while, when we're gnashing our teeth and decrying the horridness of our politicians (Democratic complicity in American torture is my latest trigger; what's yours?), we should remember that campaigns are financed by a system of legal bribery. People pay politicians to get what they want. Given that reality, I think we're pretty much getting the politicians one would expect. (If Guantanamo inmates had a decent PAC and a top-flight lobbying firm, I'm sure they'd be getting better treatment. Heck, they'd probably getting subsidies and tax breaks.)

So I guess it's only fair that a politician, in this case Mitt Romney, is now bribing people to get what he wants:

One big strength of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is that he has a lot of institutional support from establishment-minded social conservatives. One big weakness of Romney's presidential campaign is that he seems like a great big phony all the time. To liberals, he looks like a phony. But to the socially conservative rank and file he . . . also looks like a phony. So why all the love from elites? Tom Edsall and Ethan Hova have the story: Bribery!

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is distributing numerous payments, primarily to religious and social conservatives, most of them in Iowa, for what he calls "GOTV Consulting." "GOTV" is political shorthand for get-out-the-vote - just what walk-around payments financed. [...] The payments start at $500 a month, the base rate for student leaders, many of whom are chairs in the "Iowa Students for Romney" campaign organization. At a higher level, Joe Earle, former director of the Iowa Christian Alliance (the successor to the Iowa Christian Coalition) gets $4,000 a month, and Gary Marx, a top-level member on the Romney for President National Faith And Values Steering Committee, gets $8,000 a month.

Well, that explains it.

I wonder how much Romney would shell out to Internal Monologue to have it abandon its current political stance. Probably not much. Maybe I should change the blog's name to The Iowa-New Hampshire Political Digest. Then candidates would be eating out of my hand. On the Internet, nobody knows you don't live in an early primary/caucus state.


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