Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Wisdom of Linda Lovelace

As a famous and profound American political sociologist observed, "Follow the money". According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Clinton now has $33 million in campaign funds, Senator Obama has $39 million, and Senator McCain $8 million. Clinton has 4 times as much as McCain and Obama 5 times as much. Most notably each Democrat has raised more money from each of the seven industries which usually contribute most to the GOP than McCain has.

Something is very different now than in most election years. The pattern suggests that industries regard their contributions not as expressions of their ideological preferences but as investments. One invests in the liberal candidate who is likely to win and ignores the conservative who is likely to lose. I believe the expression is "smart money". It goes without saying that investors expect, and get, a return on their money.

No smarter money than George Soros and he is doubling down on Obama. Soros is an Israel-hater from way back who claims that AIPAC runs the government and comes as close as is "legal" to antisemitism, though himself nominally a Jew. When he ran an article to that effect in the New York Review of Books last year, Obama was forced to publicly repudiate him. Nothing has been disclosed about whether Obama also repudiated his money. My guess is that he didn't. Going back to Linda Lovelace, where there is money there is influence, no matter what the public posturing.

All other things being equal, the process is self-reinforcing. A candidate seen to be likely to win gathers more money than one seen as less likely. The accumulating money makes the candidate more likely to win and enables him to gather still more money and become still more likely to win. The fact that the money comes from the few rather than the many is often said to make the system undemocratic. But a moment's thought shows us that if money makes any difference at all, then democracy is a joke anyway.

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