The Government You Paid For

I never contributed to a political campaign before this year. I figured it would be like dropping some coins in a wishing well, and you know how that goes. You throw in the money, make a wish, go home, and there is no Ferrari waiting for you in the driveway. So I never contributed. Until now.

So I gave a few hours wages to the Obama campaign. Then I waited and gave some more. Then I gave some money to the local Democratic Party booster group and then some more money to the presidential campaign. Then I stopped.

So let me tell you, if you want to get lots of e-mail from famous and important people, just give some money to a political campaign. For a while there I thought the first lady and I had something going. Anyhow, I put some coins in the slot and hoped for a payback of some sort. It turns out I could have saved my money. It was not really needed. The election was always in the bag. I should have known.

So, this was not your typical wishing well scenario. In the wishing well scenario of the first kind you drop in a coin, and then you listen, and you hear a splash. It is faintly dissatisfying. The wishing well scenario of the second kind is a little different in a disturbing way. You drop in you coin, and then you listen. And you never hear the splash. That’s the way I always picture a contribution to a political campaign. This one was different.

I dropped in my coin, and three was a definite echo. Still, there was no Ferrari waiting for me in the driveway, but I did get something I wanted. I got the government that I paid for.

Now I had long believed that you should not have to pay for good government. You should be handed it as a birthright. You are born, you have your birth certificate in hand, and somebody comes up to and says, “Here you are, good government. Have a happy life.” I have long ago learned it is not that way. You want good government; you need to pay for it. Actually, you want bad government; you need to pay for that, as well. Nothing comes free. Not even bad government. Let me tell you some sad stories about bad government you paid for but did not get.

Election Day’s Biggest Loser

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson gambled more than $54 million on Tuesday’s elections. And he lost.

The quixotic chairman of the Las Vegas Sands gaming company rose to the top of campaign giving in 2012, gaining notoriety for almost single-handedly staking the campaign of Republican primary contender Newt Gingrich and then continuing to make audacious contributions once Gingrich dropped out – with millions more going to GOP nominee Mitt Romney and two superPACs supporting his bid.

Tuesday, he emerged as arguably the single biggest loser of the campaign, financially speaking. In addition to investing in Gingrich and Romney, Adelson and his relatives donated to the U.S. House campaigns of Rep. Allan West of Florida and New Jersey Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and the Senate runs of Virginia’s George Allen, Florida’s Connie Mack, and Texas’s David Dewhurst. All lost. (Dewhurst never made it past the primary.) His sole consolation was helping fund the defeat of hometown nemesis Shelley Berkley, who lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

Wow! Talk about no echo! What do you think his wife is saying to Sheldon Adelson right tonight?

Carl Rove is also gasping for air about now. Rove is notable for being the brains behind the Bush victories of 2000 and 2004, and is counted among many, this writer included, as one of the most astute political minds going. So what happened?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As television networks began declaring that President Barack Obama had won re-election, the most captivating televised drama Tuesday evening played out on Fox News, where Republican strategist Karl Rove refused to believe the race between Obama and Mitt Romney was over.

“I think this is premature,” said Rove, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush and architect of Bush’s two successful runs for the White House.

“We know that Karl has a rooting interest,” Fox host Chris Wallace replied.

More than a rooting interest: Rove was the most prolific fundraiser for Republican causes during the 2012 election cycle.

With the assistance of a few powerful Republican friends, Rove helped to secure an estimated $300 million for Republican candidates, hoping to help turn the White House over to Romney and control of the U.S. Senate to Republicans.

In a $6 billion campaign, Rove’s ability to part wealthy Republicans from their money made the political operative – who co-founded the American Crossroads “Super PAC” – a force in the party’s effort to take down Obama.

Politics appears to be a great game to play, but it more closely resembles a wishing well of the second kind.

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One thought on “The Government You Paid For

  1. Pingback: The Government You Paid For | Skeptical Analysis

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