I actually learned of this group a couple months ago, but it took awhile for them to get their website off the ground.
Like it or not, money talks in politics. That’s the way the system is set up and no matter how much some on the Left pine for public financing of campaigns that’s not a viable model. To begin with, who decides what the criteria is for a candidate? The hypocrisy shows most clearly in their chosen 2008 candidate eschewing the public finance laws and raising hundreds of millions of dollars – this time he’s shooting for a billion.
So a group of conservatives got together and realized a shocking truth – we on the right may have let some close races slip away by not having enough financial backing. For want of 641 votes, Michael James could have eliminated Jim Mathias from state office after just one term and a few weeks – now we’re stuck with him for at least four long years. A number of House seats could have turned if Republicans had gained additional vote totals like 284, 319, 398, and 491. That would have put the GOP delegation in the House of Delegates right at the magic number of 47, a total which would guarantee relevancy because, united, they could bypass committees on key bills. (It’s sort of a nuclear option, but it can be done.) Locally, Mike McDermott flipped the House seat formerly held by Jim Mathias but imagine the impact if Delegate Norm “Five Dollar” Conway had been defeated by Marty Pusey, the queen of eliminating two laws for each one passed? Now that would be leadership in the right direction.
Of course, the CCforMD group is seeking to raise money. First among their fundraisers is a raffle for a Beretta shotgun, to be held in late October at the MarylandCAN conference. (Tickets start at $5.)
Granted, making money $5 at a time isn’t going to raise a significant sum right away but it’s seed money for the real fundraising the group will need to do by 2014. And in focusing on local, comparatively low-dollar races I’m sure the group feels it will get more bang for the buck. (Yes, the pun was intended. I’m here all week.) Contributing $1,000 to a House of Delegates race will help a conservative candidiate more than donating $5,000 to a statewide race (although both are necessary.)
Perhaps the future of politics is within organizations such as these which work outside the party apparatus. Lord knows the Maryland Republican Party doesn’t have a great deal of resources to work with, but part of the state party’s problem is in the brand name created by their national big brothers; for every conservative firebrand like Michele Bachmann or Jim DeMint the Beltway establishment seems to back at least one or more squishy moderates – cases in point: Maine’s Senator Olympia Snowe, House candidate Dede Scozzafava of New York, or former Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Conservatives tend to look past the party affiliation and kingmaking done by party leaders on high to donate to individual campaigns. (DeMint has taken it upon himself to back conservative primary challengers to establishment-backed candidates.)
Obviously CCforMD joins a crowded field of political groups looking for money in tough times. But at least you have a shot (again, those gun puns!) at something tangible in return soon and better political leadership down the road.