November 9, 2012

Isn't it heartening that $3 billion was spent on the presidential election?

Each major-party candidate's campaign spent $1 billion and there were also over $1 billion spent by outsiders to the campaigns. But I'm looking at the bright side, which is hinted at by the headline for the NYT article on the subject: "Little to Show for Cash Flood by Big Donors."

So much money is spent that no one is big enough to be big. Everyone — all the way up to Sheldon Adelson, who dumped $300 million into the ocean of money — is diluted into smallness.

More speech is the classic remedy for whatever is considered the bad speech in the marketplace of ideas. Think about whether more money can work as the remedy for whatever you're thinking is the bad money in campaign finance.

90 comments:

shiloh said...

(6) billion ~ carry on ...

Joe P. said...

It's an arms race. Politicians can't afford not to raise and spend more, because it's winner-take-all and they need every last percentage point.

Just as an example, some people theorize that Romney lost because Obama had the entire summer to paint him as an evil robber baron in television ads. If that is true, then Romney could have won by spending more money on TV ads in May through August. The mere possibility is enough to enforce the spending the next time around.

TosaGuy said...

I don't see a problem.

It was money freely donated (mostly) by people. It was not gov't doling it out.

Think of it as "stimulus" to the consultants, media companies, caterers, hotels, etc.

If people see they are not getting the bang for their buck, they will quit donating.

Americans spend more money on potato chips.

shiloh said...

Again, turdblossom and his fellow con billionaire Superpacs ROI was also disheartening! :-P

Matthew Sablan said...

Joe is right on that. All we learned is that we need to finish up the primaries sooner, have an early, quick convention so that we can start punching back against unfair smears and lies.

shiloh said...

Re: $$$ and Willard ...

You can put lipstick on a hog and call it Monique, but it is still a pig!

AJ Lynch said...

But I thought the NYT warned us the gusher of corporate cash meant the end of democracy as we know it?

Matthew Sablan said...

Interesting note about pigs and Romney. Someone killed a pig dressed it in a Romney shirt and left it on Republican's doorsteps.

Civility. New Tone.

Jehu said...

We must get all the big money out of politics so that the proportional influence of the Mainstream media, which isn't counted as political spending will be much greater!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Does the $3 billion include the auto-bailout used to buy Ohio?

Real American said...

when the federal budget is in the trillions, spending a billion or two to be in charge of it, doesn't seem like that bad of an investment. If you don't like the big money in politics, get rid of the big money in government.

David Carlson said...

clearly money worked for Tammy Baldwin - she managed to both define herself and Tommy very effectively (and completely falsely, but that is the point of advertising)

Ann Althouse said...

"she managed to both define herself and Tommy very effectively (and completely falsely, but that is the point of advertising)"

Thompson shouldn't have been so lazy and so inarticulate. If Tammy won with that Tommy-sold-out ad, then she beat him well. Lame for him not to have predicted that and had great material ready to launch back.

The people need to know how to handle advertising properly, just like they need to learn to detect lies and be skeptical of promises.

If we can't learn that, we can't run a democracy.

If we need babying, we're not competent to vote.

Be tough. Be smart. Carry on!

Matthew Sablan said...

The fact the spam hit right after Althouse posted amuses me.

SunnyJ said...

Does this amount include the crony grants and loans to bundlers and unions? Does it include our union dues (forced member)money that is spent? GM bailout that bought Ohio?

Either way, it was better for the economy than anything else the govt did in the past 4 yrs. That money goes out in a million ways, and spends its way around the markeetplace.

If anything, it disproved the long and loudly complained idea that conservative corporate 1% could out buy everyone else. This election proved progressive 1% and the govt supported unions have the money advantage.

Crunchy Frog said...

How about we try better freaking candidates next time instead of retread has-beens?

Shouting Thomas said...

My leftist friends on Facebook are having an orgasm of righteous indignation right now!

They have defeated the devil!

Their god, Government, has triumphed over all other gods!

SunnyJ said...

Does this amount include the crony grants and loans to bundlers and unions? Does it include our union dues (forced member)money that is spent? GM bailout that bought Ohio?

Either way, it was better for the economy than anything else the govt did in the past 4 yrs. That money goes out in a million ways, and spends its way around the markeetplace.

If anything, it disproved the long and loudly complained idea that conservative corporate 1% could out buy everyone else. This election proved progressive 1% and the govt supported unions have the money advantage.

mccullough said...

This election is a total vindication of Citizens United.

Rich people and stealth interest groups spent $1 billion and nothing changed. Same President and same Congress.

SteveR said...

The MSM is free to the right side. No pun intended

but I am a robot said...

"If you don't like the big money in politics, get rid of the big money in government."

Exactly. Elections have consequences. Those consequences have become morbidly excessive for Americans, and each year they continue to grow.

roesch/voltaire said...

About Baldwin and Thompson spending's - it was equal so one is forced to consider other factors one of which I thought was Wisconsin did not need another rich white guy, Ron Johnson, who does little for the state, and Tommy has a fine resume so why not leave it at that?
• Spending by the two sides is almost evenly divided. Of the $30.8 million spent by outside groups on the two main candidates so far, $16 million has been spent for Baldwin or against Thompson, and $14.8 million has been spent for Thompson or against Baldwin.

raf said...

Soon, political campaigns will be recognized as the driving force behind the entire US economy. Well, maybe not 'soon,' but eventually.

Bender said...

A LOT of the money that was "spent" in the campaigns was to enrich the people who populate the campaigns themselves, their consultants, ad producers, and the PACs, not to mention fundraising, spending money in the quest to get more money. Much of election expenditures are nothing more than income redistribution from contributors to the pockets of politicos.

Very little gets spent, percentage wise, on buying airtime for ads. In short, campaign finance is about 85 percent scam. How many tens of millions of dollars did Romney's people make in losing a sure-win election to the second-coming of Jimmy Carter?? You think that they are all that freaked out about the loss? They really didn't care one way or the other -- they certainly didn't show any sense of urgency, much less emergency, in the campaign -- they were going to profit and live comfortably whatever the outcome.

Fr Martin Fox said...

So the "big money is a mortal peril to democracy" argument is thus disproven, right?

So there goes the whole rational for amending the Constitution to restrict political speech by groups--as advocated by President Obama and many of his progressive friends?

Disproven but not derailed. The hysterical and/or dishonest folks on the Left will recycle those tropes as soon as they can.

Even so, let's have some fun. When they do, simply quote back to them how they crowed over the total failure of the big money this year.

John Foster said...

I'd bet that more jobs were created by the political spending than an equal amount of stimulus spending.

Fr Martin Fox said...

McCullough:

I know it won't happen, but: how sweet it would be if at the next State of the Union, Alito showed up with a sign:

"Citizens United: we were right. You lied."

Fr Martin Fox said...

Yoo hoo..."Citizens United will destroy us!" liberals...where are you?

Don't you want to come out to play?

caplight45 said...

If that figure doesn't include the money that ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, etc, etc, etc gave as "in-kind" donations for their news filtering and propadanda services then it is not an accurate figure.

Bender said...

Speaking of living comfortably whatever the outcome -- I hear Neville Boehner sniveling that capitulation is necessary because "elections have consequences," that we all have to bend over and take it, so he's going to help Obama with that.

Well, if elections have consequences, then Boehner has to be the one to go. Of the $4 trillion in debt that Obama has racked up, half of it, $2 trillion were spent by Boehner. You want another reason that Romney lost? Because too many people could not tell any difference between the so-called Republican House and the Dems. In too many areas Boehner engaged in these secret backroom deals, then rammed disasterous policies down Republicans' throats. Given that, what incentive is there to vote Republican? How can the electorate get excited enough to throw Obama out if the Republicans are only slightly less crappy?

Hagar said...

Some of the money goes for consultants, etc., but the overwhelming mass of it goes for advertising, especially TV.
So, why all the handwringing and lamentation in the media? For them an election year is fat city with raises and bonuses!

Likewise, does the support for "free" medical care have anything to do with the government paying for the prescription drugs so heavily advertised in the media? Including the cost of the advertising, of course?

caplight45 said...

Plus what SunnyJ said about Unions and corporate give-aways etc.

Coketown said...

But...but...Citizens United! But...but...buying elections! But...but...

Durrr.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Carlson said...

Ann- I am not whining - I am simply pointing out your wrong. Money does matter.

Tommy slept through most of the race till that last debate where he cleaned her clock. Tammy did what it took and Tommy did not. But it was the money that let her do it.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Bender:

There are many lessons from these results, and the first ones we hear about are mostly wrong--but that is usually what happens.

Remember, all that stuff comes right away from:

(a) talking heads on TV, many of which are political types who are either incompetent or dishonest or both, whose skill lies not so much in winning elections as in being available for interviews;

(b) from campaign operatives who are determined to salvage something from their failures, so they throw somebody else under the bus; and

(c) from ambitious politicians who are eager to position themselves favorably for 2016, on the still-warm corpses of their "good friends" who just lost the elections.

We have this spectacle of Democrats piously saying what the GOP should do to be "relevant." If we had honest media types (I know, dream on), wouldn't some of them ask those Democrats this question:

"You're claiming that move (sellout on taxes/immigration/abortion etc.) is going to help the GOP gain votes and win elections. Why in the world would you, as a Democrat, want that?"

Matthew Sablan said...

"Tommy slept through most of the race till that last debate where he cleaned her clock."

-- Tactical error on his part.

caplight45 said...

Fr. Martin, I haven't seen the exit polls on the Evangelicals but the Roman Catholic numbers I saw were fifty percent for Obama. Might have helped if Cardinal Dolan and Rick Warren had gone to jail. That message would have been worth a few bucks.

bagoh20 said...

Clearly more money is not helping. People are very poorly informed about their choices. I talked to people about this election, and virtually none of them outside of a couple political junkies knew anything real about either candidate. All you have to do is watch any of the street interview videos out there were people can be told anything about the candidates and they just accept it, because they don't know any better. How many times have you seen interviewers completely reverse a candidate's position and have people just buy it unchallenged. Apparently money is not helping, because the stupid is worse than ever.

What's worse is that even when people discover that they are against their own candidate on what they would call "deal breaker" issues, they still will vote for them. I think it's hopeless. I'd rather flip a coin. At least that would be honest. Cost: $0.25.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Please, somebody...come restate your argument for why Citizens United is a mortal peril to our republic. Because big money would buy the election.

C'mon...

Amartel said...

Project Orca malfunction resulted in Republicans suppressing their own vote.

"By a rough calculation, Romney lost the election by falling 500,000 to 700,000 votes short in key swing states. If each of the 37,000 volunteers that had been devoted to Orca had instead brought 20 voters to the polls in those states over the course of the day, Romney would have won the election."

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/08/Orca-How-the-Romney-Campaign-Suppressed-Its-Own-Vote

Amartel said...

(16) trillion ~ carry on ...

mccullough said...

Hagar,

The MSM doesn't like political ads because it dilutes their power. It's pure rent-seeking on their behalf.

I'd be happy to amend the constitution to limit all corporation's rights to speech and the press. That would mean that no company or campaign organized as a corporation (which OFA and all the others) could say or publish what they want. You wouldn't have NBC news or the NYTimes. You would have all their reporters joining together as individuals to say what they want or publish what they want. Their buildings would have to be owned by them individually, etc. All contracts they enter into would have to be done individually. It would be great.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Caplight:

A very good point.

However, I think a couple of things are worth noting about the 50%-of-Catholics-backed Obama statistic:

1) I'd like to see that broken out among Hispanic and black Catholics. And I'd like to see it broken out for those who are "regular" Mass-goers.

When that happens, I think you'll find that regular Mass-goers were not for Obama. And I suspect a lot of Catholic Hispanics voted for their perceived economic interests.

2) While the 50% isn't something to be happy about, it did decline from 2008. A better test of the impact of the bishops will be shown by the "Mass-goers'" shift. After all, it's hardly surprising that Catholics who seldom go to Mass might not listen to the bishops.

Still, you're right in saying more could have been done to convey the seriousness of the issue.

The bishops are always loathe to be perceived to be "partisan."

bagoh20 said...

"Project Orca malfunction resulted in Republicans suppressing their own vote."

Even if Romney won it would have been disappointingly close. I have never seen a bigger difference between two candidates in terms of record, qualifications, and the quality of message in Presidential election. It was not our technology that failed us. In the end, it never is.

Rockport Conservative said...

My first thought on this is, "no wonder the media want us fighting with ads, they are the ones making the money from it." Political advertising is a huge boost for the media.
My second thought is "why hasn't anyone else discussed that?"

garage mahal said...

Nice avatar caplight45!

shiloh said...

"total failure of the big money this year."

It worked in many House races plus the redistricting helped Reps immensely also.

But yea, not so much in Seante races where Sherrod Brown was outspent 4 to 1 w/outside $$$.

And it is never gonna work on the presidential level as long as Reps keep nominating shyster/charlatans like Willard.

And so there will be no misunderstanding, Romney is a very good man re: his personal family and church, but on a business/political level he's a shyster/charlatan, his constant flip/flopping on every major political issue notwithstanding as he inspired no one as regards to political leadership.

Dave said...

Fr. Fox a question - the RC Church has expended a lot of energy to uphold the "sanctity of life" and the "sanctity of marriage" - even to the extent of threatening to deny communion to politicians. Why didn't the church fight for the sanctity of life this year in California when ending the death penalty was on the ballot? Why doss the church seem more interested in advocating against the "least of these" (the young girl impregnated by a family member, the gay teen in crisis, the adult crippled by an abusive cleric) rather than for justice and peace. I fear the church is marginalizing itself.

machine said...

I can still hear Glenn Beck crying..sniff...sniff...

Michael said...

Chump change. It is other people's money just as every dime they spend if they win is other people's money.

Bread and Circus is what the progs want. Let them have their free phones and rubbers. It will come to an end soon and the conservative few who will be left will help them all get back on their feet again.

Obama is off to the far east to look around. 57 days until we go off the cliff and AGAIN he is leaving it up to congress. Best leader ever.

Bread and Circus. Free shit for the incapable. Voters for life.

Mandate. Bread. Circus. Beyonce.

Michael said...

Dave: The church wants bread and circus too!!! It wants Social Justice and it wants it now!!!!!

You think the church is into salvation? Sin?

Huff and puff and hide.

Methadras said...

shiloh said...

Re: $$$ and Willard ...

You can put lipstick on a hog and call it Monique, but it is still a pig!


No way to talk about your mom bro.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

If we need babying, we're not competent to vote.


ROFL!!! Guess who voted? All the babies the left has indoctrinated over the last six decades. They are all crying for their public tit to suckle on.

wyo sis said...

Spending 3 billion on an election is heartening?
If heartening=heartbreaking or heartrending.
A billion of that would hasten the demise of yet another alternative energy boondoggle, and the rest would get the Obama's and retinue a nice vacation in the South of France.

Doc Merlin said...

Only 3 billion? Thats relatively cheap to take over the establishment with the largest revenue on the planet.

Doc Merlin said...

Only 3 billion? Thats relatively cheap to take over the establishment with the largest revenue on the planet.

Amartel said...

Bagoh @11:57 "Even if Romney won it would have been disappointingly close. I have never seen a bigger difference between two candidates in terms of record, qualifications, and the quality of message in Presidential election. It was not our technology that failed us. In the end, it never is."

Not saying this was the only factor at all. Not even close. The Party of the Stupid prevailed over the Stupid Party for a variety of reasons.

This is a post about the massive money in political campaigns and my only point is that spending money to step on your own dick is, to quote Our Dear Leader, not optimal. This is not a shot at Romney, the candidate, either. Lastly, (as if this hadn't been rubbed in enough already), winning close is still winning. If you're Harry Reid, it's a freakin mandate.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dave:

I'm not in California and I am not at all familiar with either the item on the ballot, or what the bishops there did, or did not, do. I wasn't aware of the referendum until the last day or so.

You might want to ask the Archbishop of Los Angeles.

I know that I've talked about the death penalty.

That said, be clear that the Church believes that some things are intrinsically wrong--that is, they can never be OK, regardless of circumstances. Abortion and contraception and so-called same-sex marriage being in that category.

But the Church, in opposing the death penalty, pointedly does not term it an "intrinsic evil," because it isn't.

Historically, the Church has allowed for the death penalty; but it was Pope John Paul II who argued that while it can at times be allowed as a just and even necessary punishment, those circumstances, for modern society, are all but non-existent. (I'm paraphrasing his words.)

So the Church opposes the death penalty not in an absolutist sense, but in the context of (a) an overall climate of life being cheap and (b) having workable alternatives.

I might point out that any attempt to draw an equivalency between abortion and the death penalty is unreasonable; first because those who are the intended recipients of the death penalty are guilty of a grave crime, but what crime have unborn children committed? Second because there is due process beforehand; what due process do the unborn receive? And third, simply because of the scale. Over a million children are murdered by abortion every year in our country. How many people are executed every year?

With all those qualifications and distinctions...yes the Catholic Church opposes abortion absolutely, and the death penalty with some qualification.

But again, I'm not familiar with the situation in California.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dave:

Why doss [sic] the church seem more interested in advocating against the "least of these" (the young girl impregnated by a family member, the gay teen in crisis, the adult crippled by an abusive cleric) rather than for justice and peace. I fear the church is marginalizing itself.

I don't accept the claims here. The Church does NOT advocate against (a) a young girl who is impregnated; (b) adults crippled by abusive clerics; (c) gay teens in crisis; nor does she fail to advocate for "justice and peace."

Those are empty and absurd assertions, offered without any support. And they are demonstrably false.

Lem said...

Fear of money behind speech = fear of free speech.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dave:

Did you try googling "California bishops death penalty"? I did; and I got lots of hits with articles showing how the Catholic bishops supported the referendum against the death penalty.

Maybe you could explain why you didn't do that yourself?

edutcher said...

I spent 3 Bil and all I got was this fiscal cliff.

shiloh said...

And it is never gonna work on the presidential level as long as Reps keep nominating shyster/charlatans like Willard.

No, the shyster (he doesn't even know what it means)/charlatan was Choomie.

Enjoy that Taxmageddon coming at you.

And where were you hiding out 10/5 - 11/5 when the Romster was winning?

Trying to straighten to Willie's little kink?

That Peyronie's must be a bitch.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dave:

It took me all of a minute to find that out. You didn't bother. I guess you care less about the subject than I do--a Catholic priest living in Ohio, not California?

So tell me again how the Catholics don't care about the death penalty? From the evidence, you don't care...

Rick Caird said...

Even if we spent $6 billion ($3 billion) on the elections, we spent $7 billion on Halloween. Hmmm, which one is more important? Tough question.

damikesc said...

The people need to know how to handle advertising properly, just like they need to learn to detect lies and be skeptical of promises.

If we can't learn that, we can't run a democracy.


Obama won re-election on little more than lies and promises that he'll be competent this time.

Perhaps we can't run a democracy now.

If we need babying, we're not competent to vote.

But the voters are VOTING to be babied. That is what the majority wants.

mccullough said...

Fr. Fox,

From the exit polling data I've seen, Catholics were broken down into a few different ways: 50% of Catholics are regular churchgoers and 50% are not.

Of the regular churchgoers (weekly, more than once a week, and a few times a month), they voted about 60-40 in favor of Romney. Of the non-regular Catholic churchgoers, it was slightly more than 60 to 40 Obama (hence the 51-48 Catholic vote in favor of Obama).

Hispanic Catholics favored Obama over Romney 76-23 (I can't find any data breaking Hispanic Catholic voters into regular or non-regular church goers). WHite Catholics favored Romney over Obama 56-43.

Interestingly, 1/6 of Hispanics are Evangelical Christians. They favored Obama about 58-42.

Molly said...

I think it's worth noting that Obama's victory margin was almost exactly predicted (predictable) in July, and never varied in any significant way during subsequent months.

http://votamatic.org/

or

http://election.princeton.edu/

edutcher said...

Speaking of Competence, Inc., if you liked Benghazi and the Arab Spring, looks like you're going to fall in love with Mali.

I wonder how many people Choom will abandon there?

Fr Martin Fox said...

McCullough:

That sounds right to me. I won't defend anyone's vote for Obama, but it doesn't help when Romney:

> Is himself partly-pro-abortion and not terribly convincing when he claims to be prolife;

> Endorses a return to using torture and seems eager to go to war in Iran;

> Seems heartless on immigration;

> Fits nicely into the Obama playbook as Mr. Moneybags from the Monopoly game;

> Gives confusing signals on the forced-contraception-participation mandate; he's against it, but then at the debate he seems to insinuate he's not going to change the mandate regarding employers in general.

In other words, the bishops can say a lot about what's wrong with the positions candidates take; but they aren't going to say of any of them, this is our guy. Apart from the tax-exemption issue.

Fr Martin Fox said...

McC:

By the way, thanks for digging that up and posting it.

Bender said...

Ah, the old deflect, change the subject, and attack tactic.

How many people have been executed in California in the last five years? ZERO

How many in the last ten years? All of three people.

How many have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in California in 1977?
There have been 13 killed by the state, which is fewer than the number of inmates who were killed by themselves (14 suicides).

Capital punishment in California is a de facto non-issue. Meanwhile, how many innocent human lives have been butchered by abortion? How many women have been broken, left to deal with the consequences on their own, after having been kicked to the curb by the bloodthirsty, money-grubbing abortion industry? How many families have been traumatized, how many lives lost because they were told that the answer to suffering is not love, but is instead putting a gun to your head and pulling the trigger, or a needle in your vein, etc.?

That one might prioritize in their arguments against evil, placing their greatest efforts to combat the greatest and more prevelent evils, is not a cause for criticism. But the attempt here to deflect from those greater evils is seen for what it is.

phx said...

Even if we spent $6 billion ($3 billion) on the elections, we spent $7 billion on Halloween. Hmmm, which one is more important?

Like it's really important for a voter to sit through thirty to fifty commercials a day that say some lying variation of "If you vote for my raggedy-ass opponent you might as well move to Canada. You know he poisons children in his part-time?"

Day after day, week after week, month after month, pitching to the vain and weak-minded. Yeah, that's important.

edutcher said...

OT: Anybody hear anything about Petraeus resigning from the Company?

Saw one reference to it, but nothing else.

mccullough said...

Fr. Fox,

No problem. I'm terrible at linking, or else I would have, but the data is pretty easy to Google.

Interesting also that Mainline Protestants (non Evangelical, non Historically Black churches) favored Romney over Obama about 55-44, and was fairly consistent between churchgoers and nonchurchgoers.

Black Protestants (who made up 9 percent of the electorate) favored Obama 95-5.

Bender said...

Meanwhile, looking at the actual language of California Proposition 34, that too is highly morally problematic.

Included in Prop. 34 was not merely abolition of the death penalty, rather, it also included a requirement of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, involuntary servitude (slave labor) for convicts, and a slew of counter-factual and/or questionable "findings." Were I a California resident, I could not in all good conscience vote for it given all of these added-on features.

Carl said...

Money isn't mined or grown, Althouse. It merely represents the temporary storage of labor. You work, and instead of exchanging your work immediately for goodies, you save it up, and exchange it later for someone else's labor.

So are you saying Americans worked too hard on this election? They should have thought less about it, talked less about it, paid less attention?

No, of course not. That would be dumb in the class of an Obama voter.

But spending money isn't quite the same as spending your labor directly, of course -- because it allows you to exchange your labor here (grading papers) for someone else's labor there (producing political ads). It's a way to professionalize labor. I work at what I'm a professional, and exchange the proceeds for work you do professionally.

So what you're really saying (if anything) is that you wish the labor involved in an election would be less professional. For example, I doubt you are saying there should have been much less analysis of the issues on (just to pick a random example) blogs by law professors -- only that there should have been less slick campaign ads and machinations by paid professionals. You want more amateur labor spent on the election, and less professional.

So far, so good. Most people feel vaguely that way, and this is why they complain about "money" in elections, but never about, say, the amount of amateur blog analysis, the hours people spend talking to neighbors about things, townhall meetings in which the candidates answer questions from voters, and any other nonprofessionalized expenditure of human labor.

To make the other side of this argument clear, let's talk about law. The business of law is to settle disputes between people, or between a person and The People in the criminal case, but let's focus on the civil side. Why is this process professionalized the way it is? You're a law professor, which means you study the law at a very professional level (and are paid for it), and you train other professionals, who in turn will be paid (well) by people who have disputes to settle in law.

Americans spend way more on professional law services than they spend on professional political services, in an election. Why is that? Why can't -- why shouldn't -- people settle their differences as amateurs? Represent themselves in court, write their own pleadings, appeal their own cases? Isn't there something...unseemly about all this slick professionalism in the way paid consultants (lawyers) deliberately try to use all the tricks and quirks in the system, appeal to the prejudices and emotions of the deciders (judge and jury), in the single-minded determination to win for their client? And let's not that, just like politics, it's pay-to-play, and the best quality results are reserved for those with the most cash to invest in them.

There's zero ethical and social distinction between a professionalized practice of law and a professionalized practice of politics. (No doubt a good reason why the same people tend to inhabit both worlds.) If you would defend a highly professionalized and expensive legal industry, you cannot coherently criticize a highly professionalized and expensive political industry.

weswanders said...

Funny how, when it comes to independent political expenditures, the Left suddenly becomes very interested in how billions of dollars could have been better spent

phx said...

Funny how, when it comes to independent political expenditures, the Left suddenly becomes very interested in how billions of dollars could have been better spent

Yeah, it's funny how they don't just leave it to the Right.

Steven said...

$3 billion?

So, everybody trying to influence the elections in all media spent . . . half as much as carmakers do in a year on TV advertising alone.

Scott said...

I wonder what Frédéric Bastiat would think of this spending. What is unseen?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dave:

I asked you a couple of questions. I paid you the courtesy of answering yours to me.

Waiting.

caplight45 said...

Fr Martin

Thank you for your response at 11:45.
I would imagine the stat on regular mass attenders might not be forth coming as it doesn't fit the media narrative of the Bishops being hopelessly out of touch and no longer influential.



a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Fr. Fox - The Church needs to be careful not to be too intrusive. As I blogged Oct. 12, Fr. Farkasfalvy was in Rome when John XXIII said he wanted to have a Vatican Council. The reaction of the Curia was, he says 'Why do you want to do that? With the doctrine of infallibility you can do anything you want.' But that's part of the point. When the Pope was elected, he told his intimates, 'You won't find me saying anything infallible.' So maybe even the Pope was a bit of a cafeteria Catholic.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I'm sorry psychiatrist, that comment is incoherent. Was it a joke?

hoyden said...

I am trying to decide if my $30 contribution was a bargain or money wasted.

If you had the choice to spend $30 with the assured outcome that nothing much would change, or choose to keep the $30 and be guaranteed things would change, but you wouldn't know how until after the election, which would you choose?

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Fr. Fox. - One possible interpretation of Pope John XXIII making the categorical statement that 'he would not be making any infallible statements' is that he didn't fully believe a Pope could do so. That the Pope was not capable of making infallible statements was an opinion expressed by John Henry Cardinal Newman. The fact that Cardinal Newman is now declared a saint would suggest that the opinion that the Pope is infallible is not of utmost importance. The affirmative decision that he is was made in Vatican I as the cardinals were hastily departing from their place of meeting as the French or Italian armies were bearing down on them. The Holy Spirit may guide them but that is asking rather a lot. As to what the Church should say, I think, fundamentally, the leaders of the Church have made errors in protecting the innocent such that they should by all means tell the faithful what is right or wrong but that those rules, for the faithful, must be made laws for others when there are opposing prudential arguments might be excessively intrusive.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Psychiatrist:

I'm not sure what the First Vatican Council has to do with this thread, but I don't accept your interpretation of John XXIII's comments; I think it's pretty strained. I'll be happy to refer you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, accessible online, to understand the Church's teaching about infallibility.

kentuckyliz said...

What's a few billion? Ain't no thang. After all, we have annual trillion dollar deficit spending.

kentuckyliz said...

An ecumenical council's documents aren't infallible without papal endorsement, so J23 had plenty of things he planned to be infallible about.

V2 only had four dogmatic constitutions. The rest were merely pastoral.