As the November elections draw closer, President Barack Obama seemingly has been spending more time raising money for his fellow Democrats than leading the country. Recently, he has attended fundraisers in California, New York, and Washington. In coming weeks, he will host fundraisers in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Now, even Vice President Joe Biden is getting into the act.
In an email sent out July 29, Biden uses some outlandish claims and scare tactics to appeal for donations to a political fund to keep Democrats in office in November. Biden claims in the email that special interests have pledged $200 million to the Republicans in November. However, Biden does not disclose the nearly $350 million Democrats took in from special interests in 2009 alone. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 58% of all special interest money goes to Democrats.
Despite the facts, Biden tries to characterize Republicans, not Democrats, as being in the pockets of special interests. “When our administration and this movement decided to take on the special interests, we knew we were making a choice,” Biden said. “And the consequences are clear. These groups have fought us at every turn in our struggle for change, and now they’re trying to drown out our voices — and our accomplishments — with their campaign cash this fall.”
However, the individual “groups” Biden spoke of support Democrats more often than Republicans. The health care, legal, defense, and finance industries give more special interest money to Democrats than to the G.O.P. Even the defense industry supports Democrats over Republicans. Of all major industries, only construction has supported more Republicans than Democrats, the Center for Responsive Politics reports.
To counter this imaginary threat, the Democrats have established yet another fund to raise money for their candidates, this time with a people-friendly name. “Organizing for America is announcing the ‘By the People Fund’ with the goal of getting 3 million citizen donations to fuel our grassroots campaign for the upcoming election. Please donate $5 today and help us take back this election from the corporate interests,” Biden said.
Later in the email, Biden continues to play the politics of fear, claiming the special interests that support them will actually fund a Republican movement against them. “I’ve been in politics a long time. I’m used to seeing the good guys outspent by interest groups,” Biden said. “But we’ve never been outnumbered — and we’ve never been outhustled. I’m asking you to make sure it stays that way. Will you chip in and help us grow our ‘By the People Fund?’ Please donate $5 or more today.” The email then links to a donation page at BarackObama.com.
If the “By the People” Fund manages to succeed in finding 3 million people to give $5 each, it will have raised $15 million for the Democratic Party. That is less than 5% of the amount Democrats received from special interest groups in 2009. The question is whether that small percentage will earn the average joe any influence or support among Democrats.
Sources: BarackObama.com, Center for Responsive Politics