As much as Democratic strategists enjoy vilifying or condemning either Mitt Romney’s personal wealth or the largesse of Republican donors, the Grand Old Party itself is not playing into the Democratic scenario that an ample treasure chest is somehow shameful, unsavory or “out of touch” with the American people. Why, that Republican treasure chest actually came from the American people.
Consider that in June the Democratic National Committee and the Obama for America campaign raised $71 million. The Republican National Committee plus the Romney for President and Romney Victory campaigns, on the other hand, raised $106.1 million. But wait: 94 percent of all these donations were $250 or less, and arrived from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And a more frugally conscious party now has $160 million cash on hand.
Not too shabby. And no one is apologizing for it.
“Our June fundraising is a sign that voters are fed up with President Obama’s failure to fix our economy and want a change of direction,” observes committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
Some 3,000 tickets to see President Obama speak at a community college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday were snapped up days ago. Campaign aides have already laid the groundwork for Mr. Obama’s fourth trip to the state, steadfastly framing his message in appealing terms. He’ll build an economy “grown from the middle out, not from the top down, where everyone has a fair shot to succeed and plays by the same set of rules.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad sees Mr. Obama in a different light, however.
“Iowa launched him and I think Iowa’s going to sink him, because Iowans really feel betrayed,” Mr. Branstad said Monday. “These have been partisan, political trips that he’s been making to Iowa, and I suspect he’ll continue to make because he knows that he’s in trouble in Iowa.”
The governor says Mr. Obama is a great speech-maker but a “terrible” leader.
“He ran as somebody who was going to unite the country and instead he spends all his time attacking, and the latest thing is now he wants to try to divide people one against another based on class warfare,” Mr. Branstad concluded.
THE RANGE OF CHANGE
Of all the polling numbers that regularly pelt the political landscape, a new survey from the Hill newspaper reveals the most ironic findings, at least for this week.
“Two-thirds of likely voters say President Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise to change America - but it’s changed for the worse, according to a sizable majority,” says associate editor Sheldon Alberts.
Indeed, 68 percent of the respondents say Mr. Obama has “significantly” changed the nation. But alas, 56 percent say he changed it for the worse; 35 percent believe it changed for the better. Naturally, there’s a partisan divide: 91 percent of Republicans say the change is for the worse, along with 20 percent of Democrats. A mere 5 percent of the GOPers say the change was beneficial, compared to 71 percent of the Democrats.
“The results signal broad voter unease with the direction the nation has taken under Obama’s leadership,” Mr. Alberts notes.
New research indicates that California Gov. Jerry Brown could pay a price in the polling booth should he sign into law a bill that authorizes illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license in the Golden State, as they now do in New Mexico and the state of Washington.
In California, 6 in 10 voters say they’re less likely to vote for Mr. Brown if he signs the bill, says a survey of 1,000 likely California voters released Monday and conducted by Californians for Population Stabilization, a nonprofit attuned to overpopulation and its environmental impact. The driver’s license bill has been up for consideration seven times previously, incidentally.
Meanwhile, 63 percent oppose driver’s licenses for illegal workers, fearing that a legal license would be seen as a “reward,” encourage more illegal entries and be used to obtain “other taxpayer benefits.” Marilyn DeYoung, CEO of the Sacramento-based group, cites one more reason, however.
“The 9/11 hijackers used driver’s licenses to gain access to our airplanes and kill 3,000 Americans. I don’t have a lot confidence that the California DMV has the ability to run background checks that could identify potential terrorists,” she says.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
The 2012 election is not always an impersonal behemoth defined by big media. Grass-roots still matter. FreedomWorks, the fiscally conservative group founded by Dick Armey in 1984, continues to organize a “Take America Back” strategy at an old school, “can-do” level. On Tuesday, for example, the organization arrives in Tampa, Fla., to train volunteers and tea party leaders in plain but effective get-out-the-vote techniques - how to build a phone bank, make yard signs, knock on doors. At the moment, the group is coordinating 1,378 such events around the nation.
“FreedomWorks believes that government goes to those who show up,” notes a spokeswoman.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69 percent of Americans say President Obama and his aides should “answer all questions” regarding Operation Fast and Furious.
• 90 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of conservatives, 47 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of liberals agree.
• 61 percent of Americans overall say Republicans investigating U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s role in the operation seek to “gain political advantage.”
• 34 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of conservatives, 79 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of liberals agree.
• 34 percent of Americans overall say Republicans have “real ethical concerns” about the operation.
• 60 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of conservatives, 15 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of liberals agree.
• 53 percent of Americans approve of the House vote to place Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents about Fast and Furious.
• 73 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of conservatives, 37 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of liberals agree.
Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,517 U.S. adults conducted June 28 to July 1.
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