Sunday, October 28, 2007

What she said... about "Forward Montana"

For the benefit of faithful Montana Headlines readers who don't browse the "Dextra Montana" offerings found on the right side-bar of this website, it is worth pointing out Carol's recent fascinating post over at Missoulapolis in which she takes a peek under the hood at "Forward Montana." There have been further comments on other right-thinking blogs in response to Carol's post -- browse around and check them out...

For those who don't know about Forward Montana, it's basic purpose is to get out the Democratic/progressive vote among young people. Nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing illegal about the way that organizations like this are funded through interlocking alphabet-soup non-profit organizations that seem to lead back to the usual suspects.

Again, we use the word "suspects" loosely -- George Soros and his compatriots are following the law, as far as one can tell. The speed with which they knew how to follow the law and still pour big money into campaigns indicates that they knew where the loopholes to McCain-Feingold were before the ink was even dry. But again, loopholes are legal. That's what makes them loopholes.

This is the post McCain-Feingold world, where "regular" donors are severely restricted on how much reportable money they can give directly to candidates' campaigns -- but it is also a world where if you know how to do it, unlimited amounts of unreported soft money can still be funneled to wherever you want to target it, as long as it isn't given directly to a candidate's campaign.

This means that much of the most important spending that takes place in close elections isn't done by candidates who have to answer for what is said, or parties who have to live with long-term consequences of what advertisements are run. And it is not subject to the same strict reporting standards that traditional political organizations, parties, and candidates have to meet. Many of these organizations don't have to give any kind of public accounting of their donors or spending -- let alone a full and detailed one of the kind that actual candidates and parties have to.

You won't catch Montana Headlines whining about the fact that Matt Singer is able to rake in large amounts of out-of-state money from who-knows-where. He's playing by the rules, and in being linked up with the George Soros funding sources, he's learning from the best when it comes to knowing how to direct cash at key races in the "reformed" post-McCain-Feingold political money world.

Republicans need to find our own big out-of-state donors and form our own alphabet soup of organizations. We ned to use them to, among other things, get young Montanans excited about voting for and working for Republicans again. Some of us are old enough to remember that the cutting edge, cool thing to be in 1980 was a heartless Reagan conservative. That was a long time ago.

There are still a lot more conservative kids out there than Democrats (and even demoralized Republicans) think. That demographic just doesn't think much of the operation that Republicans are running in Montana, let alone the nation, of late, and who can blame them?

Many of these kids are supporting Ron Paul -- and they are treated to the spectacle of Republican audiences booing him at Republican debates (good job, folks!) And they get to hear Republicans of stature use dignified language like "certifiable" and "nuts" in describing the guy they like. Again, strong work! Way to get those enthusiastic Ron Paul kids on board with the Republican party! Way to encourage them to back the eventual Republican nominee! Brilliant political strategy...

The value to Carol's post (and we hope that she and our compatriots who have also added commentary on this subject continue looking under this particular hood to see where it leads) is that it is important for Republicans to know that the success of the left's "grassroots revival" isn't as much a local grassroots effort as it is portrayed.

It is at least partly an old-fashioned, politics as usual operation (well, except for the funny pinko bunny ears -- appropriate color, BTW.) Political movements need money, and there is nothing more ordinary than the direction of big out-of-state money into a low-population state. Nothing new there -- it's just that the GOP has been slow to figure out the new rules of the game.

Well, nothing new there, either. But eventually, we get it -- and demystifying the process of how the progressive netroots works here in Montana is a big step toward "getting it."


Ed Kemmick said...

Very powerful post. I confess I had to wipe a tear from the corner of my eye. I could picture all those poor Republicans, huddled up in a corner like grade-schoolers surrounded by taunting bullies. Yes, those poor, disorganized, starry-eyed Republicans, desperately trying to figure out how this whole power-building thing works. The Dickensian bathos fairly bubbled out of my computer screen. Godspeed!

Montana Headlines said...

Thank you, sir.

I'll try to serve up more of the same for your reading entertainment!

BTW -- Congrats on the harmonica Tuney.

Matt Singer said...

Other than accepting Carol's various allegations as true (several are flat false, some are half-truths), this is a great post.

I think a young conservative group would be great. And, for what it's worth, we've registered a bunch of Ron Paul supporters to vote. Good for 'em.

Montana Headlines said...

Well, what the blogosphere is about is this kind of dialogue.

It will be interesting to read your response that straightens out what is false and what is half-true -- this kind of back-and-forth only helps with the transparency that is the new gold standard for money in politics.

Thanks for the kind words, and for registering those Ron Paul folks...