Augusta Area Morning Show host Renee deMedicis posted an interesting article about political machines and I decided to reply.
Renee: Your article on political machines provided valuable insight into the “smoke filled rooms” of American politics—it’s a dirty game. Is the tail wagging the dog because people who make a living from political election fights want heated races (no pun intended) just to “stay paid.”
In Georgia, any Democrat in the know can name the famous machines around the state from the last 40 years. Retired teachers, coaches, military veterans, funeral home directors and barbers have long turned their community status into “side money” by getting out the vote or endorsing candidates. “If Mr. Blank says this candidate is good, let’s put the guy in there because Mr. Blank would not back any junk.”
My GOP friends who get involved in campaigns around the state know GOP candidates hate the idea of “street money” or the famous stuffed envelopes. The GOP in the South doesn’t need this practice because they have more energetic volunteers than they can use.
But, I think your article would have been more complete if you fairly acknowledged the conservative machines that served as the catalyst for the Right: the faith community’s involvement in politics. When the elite of the GOP realized that Pat Robertson had millions of supporters in his database, it was on like popcorn.
Again, is the tail gagging the dog because a GOP candidate knows that answering the right (pun intended) questions on the right questionnaires brings the machine into the mix. The “right” machine is a thing of beauty to see when it’s fully engaged and usually anything in its path will soon be in trouble.
Senate McCain knew that those groups would work hard to keep a Democrat out of the White House—millions of dollars for ads and volunteer hours but Obama still won because the people use the election as a referendum on President Bush. My friends on the right say the people were mistaken, fell personally in love with charming Obama, McCain was not a real conservative or the message was mishandled. My GOP friends who are real concluded that they got away from core conservative values, the people wanted the Dem way for awhile or Obama might be right (I mean correct).
If we are going to have a “fair and balanced” discussion about American politics, let’s admit that the left and right have political machines and wizards behind those “grassroots” machines are often big corporations for the GOP and big unions for the DNC. To be honest, the faith community works sincerely regarding abortions, illegal immigration, school vouchers, and morals but the party bosses in D.C. want their numbers to win elections then satisfy big campaign donors with regulatory reduction…hence, the origins of our current economic crisis. It is all about welfare; on the side street for the Dems and on Wall Street for the GOP.
Finally, many Democrats are strong in their faiths but they are guided by the compassion of the Beatitudes rather than the commands of the Ten Commandments. Of course, moderates like me think about both. Ultra-liberal compassion is well intended but the government can rescue everyone and the natural selection of the jungle means people sometimes fail. While almost no one wants to see hungry and homeless children, the role of government is limited by the practicality of economics. The same concept should apply to financial system recovery.
Yes, political machines on the right exist because they rode Newt and President Bush to death to get the investments they made in the GOP rise to power; the dividends were not stuffed envelops like the Dems but regulatory freedom. If Newt had a chance to be Newt back in the 90s, American would be a much better place today.