Opinion: Ron Paul’s chump change


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Really, it’s news that only political junkies pay attention to. But it’s still staggering.

The Times reported Wednesday that ‘Rep. Ron Paul raised more than $8 million for his presidential campaign in the last three months’ from 100,000 individual donors.


And that’s not all. ‘Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he raised more than $17 million from 22,000 donors.’

Wait, there’s more. Though he didn’t announce a total, ‘a source close to the Mitt Romney campaign said the former Massachusetts governor’s third-quarter fundraising take was expected to be more than $14 million.’

And let’s be bipartisan here. Though President Obama’s fundraising total in the quarter is reportedly lagging, he’s still expected to rake in $55 million, compared with an $86-million haul in the previous quarter.

Think that’s it? Nope:

A senior advisor to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is leaving his federal post to open a ‘super PAC’ that can raise unlimited amounts from individuals and corporations to back conservative Republican candidates and causes. The move by John Murray, who served as Cantor’s deputy chief of staff, is another indication that congressional leaders are looking to raise funds through super PACs, new, technically independent political organizations that were spawned as a result of a controversial Supreme Court decision in 2010.

Wow. To paraphrase the quote often attributed to the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, ‘A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.’

Sure, the nation’s economy is ailing. But in corporate America today, you can be sure of this: There may not be money for new workers, there may not even be money to keep workers, but there is always money for two things: bonuses for executives and funding for political candidates and causes.

And why is there plenty of political money? What, you think it’s a coincidence you’re eating poison cantaloupe? Or that Wall Street got bailed out but your line of credit got canceled? Or that a company wants to build a pipeline through a precious aquifer?

Paul put a positive spin on his fundraising:

‘If you get $8 million … and you get it from small individual donors who are fervently engaged in campaigning for you, that’s a lot different than getting money that more than likely might have come, for the other candidates, from special interests,’ Paul said at a luncheon at the National Press Club. ‘All donors are not equal. I will take my small donations, with the enthusiasm of the people who send me the money.’

Sure, that’s one way to look at it. You could argue that Paul got about $80 each from 100,000 people. And that Perry got about $775 each from 22,000 people.

And the Tooth Fairy brings me $1 every time I lose a molar.

Look, I’m not trying to pick a fight with Paul’s supporters. They are fervent; they believe he’s leading a revolution. It’s very American.

But in American politics today, money talks. And big money talks the loudest.

Paul’s supporters may be digging into their pockets for loose change to fund someone they believe in.

But I don’t think those pockets will be nearly deep enough to offset the ones in those nicely tailored suits in the corporate suites.


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--Paul Whitefield