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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Giuliani Plans a $100 Million Campaign -- Just Like Everyone Else...

There's some question as to how the New York Daily News got hold of presidential hopeful Rudy Guiliani's campaign strategy. The loss of the 140 page document reveals a pretty uninspired campaign. Team Rudy knows that he'll be attack for his support of issues like gay rights and gun control, as well as his three marriages. I could've told him that.

He'll also be hit for his career as the mayor of New York City. Bernie Kerik -- who went on to become a high profile Bush scandal as a nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security -- was Rudy's police commissioner. There's his own high profile scandal, with the very public affair with Judith Nathan while divorcing his wife.

You've got to wonder why Rudy thinks he has a chance in hell.

So, of course, with all of these meaty issues to deal with, Associated Press get's right to the heart of the matter:

The presidential campaign strategy for former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani includes a $100 million fundraising target for this year.

The 140-page schedule for the Republican's budding presidential bid was reported in Tuesday's editions of the New York Daily News.

The paper said an anonymous source obtained the document after it was left behind on a campaign trip in 2006, but Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel claimed it was taken from a piece of airline luggage.

"This wasn't left in a hotel," Mindel told The Associated Press. "This is clearly a dirty trick. The voters are sick and tired of this kind of thing."

Mindel said a Giuliani aide lost a piece of luggage containing the paper.

Why, the document wasn't left behind -- as the Post claims -- it was left behind in a piece of luggage. I guess there's a difference.

But the big news, in AP's opinion, is in the first paragraph. Giuliani plans to raise $100 million by the end of the year.

Here's the thing, that's not news at all.

Back in early December, I wrote about fundraising by presidential candidates for '08 (2008 - 'The First Billion $ Presidential Race'). Turns out pretty much everybody plans to raise $100 million. AP's 'big revelation' from Rudy's campaign strategy is basically common knowledge.

Washington Post (emphasis mine):

Michael E. Toner, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, has some friendly advice for presidential candidates who plan to be taken seriously by the time nominating contests start in early 2008: Bring your wallet.

"There is a growing sense that there is going to be a $100 million entry fee at the end of 2007 to be considered a serious candidate," Toner said in a recent interview.

That was from March 11 of this year. Rudy may have a lot of problems, but the fact that he's running an exceptionally greedy campaign isn't one of them -- everybody's going to aim for $100 million.

The story here is that campaign spending has gotten seriously out of control. You have to court wealthy, powerful people to raise that kind of scratch. And anyone who believes those donors are only interested in good government is seriously deluded.

They want access. And they get it.

Take the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It was backed by energy companies and was chock full of tax breaks and loan guarantees.

Washington Post, July 30, 2005:

[A provision to allow corporations to seize property] was just one example of how the energy bill, touted as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil or moderate gasoline prices, has been turned into a piƱata of perks for energy industries.

"Every industry gets their own little program," said Myron Ebell of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute. "There's pork in there for everybody."

The bill exempts oil and gas industries from some clean-water laws, streamlines permits for oil wells and power lines on public lands, and helps the hydropower industry appeal environmental restrictions. One obscure provision would repeal a Depression-era law that has prevented consolidation of public utilities, potentially transforming the nation's electricity markets.

It also includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy -- including oil and gas, "clean coal," ethanol, electricity, and solar and wind power. The nuclear industry got subsidies for research, waste reprocessing, construction, operation and even decommission. The petroleum industry got new incentives to drill in the Gulf of Mexico -- as if $60-a-barrel oil wasn't enough of an incentive. The already-subsidized ethanol industry got a federal mandate that will nearly double its output by 2012 -- as well as new subsidies to develop ethanol from other sources.

Sound like good government to you? Yeah, me neither. "The energy sector contributed $50.6 million in individual and PAC donations during the 2004 election cycle," writes "75 percent to Republicans. Environmental interests contributed $1.9 million, 88 percent to Democrats."

Who spent more and who won? It'd take a buttload of naivete to think that the dollar amounts and the outcome are coincidental. Current campaign finance law is legalized bribery. Money stops being speech when bills come with price tags.

Rudy's just doing what everyone's doing, Republican or Democrat -- playing by the rules set by big donors.


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