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Right Turn
Posted at 06:31 PM ET, 07/12/2012

Wealth is bad, except when it isn’t

A brief recapitulation of this week in politics: Voters discovered that Mitt Romney is offensively rich, keeps his money in Swiss bank  accounts and is padding his campaign coffers with cash collected from ditzy, nouveau riche right wingers. He has a large boat, which something no American president should possess unless a member of the Kennedy family. Or if you are Franklin Roosevelt, who could have also have a boat because he was “a traitor to his class” and pushed progressive legislation. Acting against your self interest—a phrase one hears quite a bit of these days—is a terrible sin when committed by the working class of Kansas; it’s a moral duty if you’re a member of the gilded class. It matters little if supporting liberal economic policy or higher taxes on the wealthy actually makes economic sense in the long term; we’re discussing the politics of intention, not results.

John Kerry has amassed a fortune estimated somewhere around $280 million dollars—that’s more than Mitt Romney’s worth!—and was photographed windsurfing during the 2004 election, provoking a storm of stupid criticism from Republicans, most of which is currently being plagiarized by Democrats who want to remind swing voters that they don’t have jet skis. Kerry, Romney and Obama—worth a respectable $10 million (which, as Bill Clinton has ably demonstrated, will almost certainly balloon upon retiring from politics)—are allowed to be rich, sure, but it’s best not to remind anyone. Then you will appear “out of touch,” someone who likely doesn’t know how much a gallon of milk costs, what a supermarket scanner does, or what the best Woody Guthrie record is.  Someday though, and let’s hope it’s reasonably soon, political consultants will understand that the photograph of the politician confidently wielding a polo mallet is far less offensive than the shot of the same politician awkwardly standing in a dank sports bar, cracking a Schlitz and reciting a few rote lines about the hometown team.

And it wouldn’t do if the Obama campaign was thundering against Romney’s wealth while outspending him on the campaign trail. Instead, the administration has repeatedly claimed that their modest operation is being vastly outspent by the Romney machine. But as Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney points out, the picture is slightly more complicated, and when the data is parsed, he finds that Obama appears to be outspending Romney. A sample:

But Obama actually leads Romney in spending by more than 40 percent, according to the latest data -- about $148 million to $104 million (this does not include June spending, which has not yet been reported). And Obama's margin is understated because much of Romney's spending was fighting off GOP primary rivals. Money spent attacking Newt Gingrich doesn't help Romney beat Obama. 
Campaigns are only part of the story. When Obama or Romney do their $40,000-a-plate fundraisers, most of that money goes to the DNC and the RNC, respectively. The DNC has outraised the RNC $210 million to $187 million and outspent it by more than 50 percent -- $175 million to $113 million, according to FEC data…
Outside groups have reported $23.5 million attacking Romney, compared with only $11.3 million attacking Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, or CRP. While that $23.5 million against Romney includes some of Gingrich's and Santorum's attacks, more than $18 million of it is liberal money by my reckoning.

Read the whole thing.

By Michael Moynihan  |  06:31 PM ET, 07/12/2012

 
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