by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A week after Bloomberg Businessweek plastered his face on its cover, former Bush adviser Karl Rove gets feature-length coverage from TIME magazine. Much of the five-page article focuses on his American Crossroads Super PAC.
More recently, Crossroads launched another ad supporting Romney. This one features small-business owners marveling at Obama’s statement that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Never mind that the ad distorts Obama’s point–that government supports the private sector with things like roads and bridges. (Crossroads ads are regularly deemed things like “exaggerated,” “misleading” and “false” by media fact checkers.) Or that at least one of those small-business owners was revealed to be a paid actor. It still served as crucial backup for the Romney campaign, whose ability to advertise this summer is restricted. That’s because election law divides a candidate’s campaign cash into primary and general-election dollars. Romney burned through most of his primary cash fending off his GOP rivals this winter. But he can’t spend his vast reserve of general-election money until he’s officially nominated in Tampa later this month. Steve Law, who is the CEO of Crossroads and manages the group day to day, calls this period “the interregnum” and says Crossroads’ support has been a vital buffer against Obama’s summer advertising blitz. “We’ve helped Romney survive what was going to be a killing field for the Obama campaign,” Law says.
By Election Day, Law says, Crossroads hopes to have spent about $200 million just on the race for the White House–about as much as McCain raised in the entire 2008 campaign. That doesn’t include the additional $100 million Crossroads intends to spend on the fight for Congress, especially the Republican effort to wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats. Crossroads ads have battered Democratic candidates like Nebraska’s Bob Kerrey (“Bailout Bob”), Ohio’s Sherrod Brown (“voted with Barack Obama 95% of the time”) and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill (“ObamaClaire”), putting Republicans in position to control not only the White House but also both chambers of Congress for the first time since 2005.
For those who worry about all the big money flowing into politics (and John Hood puts that big money in its proper perspective), I offer the following rejoinder: If you want less money in politics, make government less important to our lives.