While I appreciate the investigative journalism by the Conservative Treehouse, and while I can understand the philosophy of Trump as wrecking ball, there’s something amiss here. When the theory drives reality rather than the converse, you end up with things not quite making sense. A conservative site that downs Cruz and Carson? I’m not talking specifics, but general smears as in thinking that these men are being pushed by the GOPe or are their puppets. Carson, someone’s puppet? Cruz? Not only that, but they come out swinging against Citizens United, too. Again, it doesn’t add up.
In the case of Citizens United (already discussed here), you’d think that a conservative site would be all about freedom of speech, including the freedom to spend one’s money as one wishes. Apparently rich people are a special kind of people, dangerous in the extreme, and must be disallowed from doing what they wish. I don’t get the “Freedom for me but not for thee” thing. I really don’t. They wave vague and sinister suppositions around, claiming that rich people are now free to fund any candidate for nefarious purposes through Super PACs. And, so? Why do I care what someone else does with their money? Well, they couldn’t do it before. Bullspit. You’re telling me that rich people couldn’t find a way to get their money to a candidate they wanted to support, for whatever reason? The only thing stopping them were these laws? No, I don’t buy it. So guns good, money bad. Weird.
Anyhow, they take the conspiracy-tinged thinking up another notch when they claim that because a rich guy contributed a lot of money to Ted Cruz, that indicates that Cruz is being kept on life support, so as to usher in Jeb! Sigh. It’s like the writer is completely unaware of Cruz’s campaign schedule and his book. Do you think he is sitting around, dialing it in, thinking that he will just carry the RINO’s water for them until he reaches the midpoint, and then drop out and laughingly endorse Jeb? The same guy who lambasted Mitch McConnell as a liar on the Senate floor? Whom are you kidding? Generally the complaints I’ve heard about Cruz boil down to three things: 1) he’s too principled, 2) he doesn’t have enough support, and 3) conspiracy stuff.
On the same page, they question the ability of some candidates to launch an effective campaign for president. Candidates like Pataki, Graham, and Kasich all do seem like jokes. However, one thing left unanalyzed is the role of vanity and self-deception. Does Pataki honestly think that he has the solutions that America needs? Sadly, I’m sure he does. Vanity is an enduring problem in politics, and the longer you hold a position, the more it becomes a problem. You start believing your own PR.
Let’s imagine that you have been a governor of a large state for a long time. Of course, you have a bunch of supporters telling you that you’re great. Are your delusions fed? Yup. Are your wildest fantasies encouraged? Yup. Do you have enough money from prior campaigns to make a run for the presidency look doable? Yup. I’m not surprised at all that Pataki is running. Kasich (governor of Ohio) doesn’t surprise me, either.
Another form that vanity and self-deception take is believing that you are the “next great” something or another. This is what has happened to Rubio. Rubio, as Florida voters know, ran for US Senate against Charley Crist (then a Republican). Crist refused to concede graciously and then changed parties in order to run against Rubio as a Democrat. He didn’t succeed. Rubio then coasted into office and immediately betrayed the voters by joining the gang of 8 and supporting amnesty. Florida folks have never forgotten this.
So that Rubio thinks he can run for president doesn’t surprise me, either. He has been told that he is the next great something – probably the Great Hispanic Hope that the GOPe is always chasing, a political El Dorado. He believes he has something to contribute and probably believes that he is temperate enough to appeal to many people. His voting record has been softening for years, which indicates his lack of a core, his drift to the center so as to appeal to the mainstream voter, and that he has probably been encouraged to run. Yet how can he do this as a political neophyte? Of all the candidates, is the strongest case for TCT’s theories.
That some people with money decide to get together and fund others to run for president doesn’t surprise me. However, neither do I care very much, because as long as I have the power to contribute myself, and as long as I have the ability to join with others to contribute, then I have a voice and a choice. Other people exercising their voices/choices do not diminish mine.
I say this because MONEY DOES NOT BUY ELECTIONS. Money does not vote. Money does not sprout legs and pull the lever or color in the circle. I don’t care how much you spend, money is an influencer only. The instant you buy into the “he who has more money gets more votes” kind of thinking, you are assuming that people can be controlled and/or bought through money on a scale large enough to win national elections. In short, you assume that two classes of people exist: the sentient and the easily controllable. This means that you have become a collectivist. Both the Nazis and the Communists prided themselves on the use of media to control the citizenry. Both were utterly wrong.
However, does spending money win elections? Talk to the Dems who outspent Scott Walker in WI and lost three times. The same union-backed fiasco train also lost the state senator recall elections despite outspending them as well. Two out of three Dem senators were recalled in Colorado, when they outspent the recall folks 3-1.
So how does money buy elections? Is it the act of spending money alone? Or do you just have to spend more than the other guy? Proponents of this have no answers. Let’s assume that spending money will have some effect, however, the election is a binary event. You either win or lose. If your expenditures do not secure a victory, then your money has resulted in no effect. It’s wasted. Just like all that money the Dems spent trying to elect Charlie Crist to the governorship when he ran against Rick Scott this year.
If you assume that both candidates in any given contest are equally funded, then at least half of the money each election achieves nothing. Multiply this by the number of elections per year and you can see than an awful lot of money is spent that fails. Therefore, money alone is not the determining factor. It’s not even spending more than the other guys. It’s something else entirely.
It’s sad to see the animist positions that people embrace when they are angry (guns kill people, money buys elections). I resonate with the anger, but if you let anger lead you, you will end up taking nonsensical positions, trying anything to assuage your emotions. I think we need to do what is right instead of being lead around by our emotions.
All that brings me back to the other position they embrace: Trump. While Trump can steal the oxygen from the lame campaigns, he also could soak up the funding and energy that would go to supporting worthwhile campaigns as well. That’s the thing about wrecking balls: you just don’t know who or what they will hit next. You don’t get to choose their effects.
So while some people may say, “Who cares? Screw them all!” That’s the kind of lazy thinking that liberals (as they are children) utilize. Maybe all the vanity/GOPe candidates will bow out, but maybe Carson will too. Maybe we lose Pataki and Carly but Huckabee as well. That’s why embracing a wrecking ball is a perilous position and not without its risks.
I don’t think that the Conservative Treehouse has really thought their positions through. Maybe they should stick to investigative journalism.