President Obama may or may not raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign, but his conservative rivals will spend at least that much trying to defeat him and the Democratic Party, according to Politico. And that's not counting the $800 million GOP nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee plan to spend on the election. If the coalition of GOP-aligned super PACS and other outside groups hits its target — $395 million from groups tied to the billionaires David and Charles Koch; $300 million from American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, the fundraising powerhouses set up by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie; $100 million from the pro-Romney super PAC Restore our Future — they will likely outspend Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate by at least a 2-to-1 margin. That amount of outside campaign cash is "unlike anything seen before in American politics," say Politico's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei. Is it enough to guarantee Republican dominance in November?
Yes. It's payback time: This "impressive coalition of conservative fundraisers" will clearly play a huge part in helping Republicans defeat Obama and take control of Congress, says Rick Moran at Pajamas Media. "But we shouldn't expect the Obama campaign to complain much." After all, they outspent Sen. John McCain 3 to 1 in 2008. But bigger than the "staggering" sums involved is where the Kochs and Rove money is going: Precinct-by-precicnt organizing, which "will negate the significant advantage the president enjoyed in 2008."
"GOP won't be outspent this time around"
The money won't sway elections: If Obama and the Democrats lose in November, it's because they failed to persuade the voters, not because of super PACs, says George Will at The Washington Post. These new groups have merely "led to more political debate over a lengthier period of time," says Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and that's good for democracy. Besides, $1 billion to sway the electorate is trivial compared with the nearly $3 billion Procter & Gamble spent last year "to influence Americans' choice of their detergent."
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Actually, the cash could well buy Congress: This spending tsunami probably won't be enough to sink Obama, whose campaign "is expected to have enough money to get its message out to voters and counter attacks," says Heidi Przybyla at Bloomberg. But it's a huge danger to House and Senate Democrats. Already, especially in key swing states, these outside groups are outspending Democratic incumbents and candidates by at least a 3-to-1 ratio.
"Senate Democrats outspent 3 to 1 on ads by super-PACs"
The real loser is transparency: Whoever you're rooting for, says Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog, you should rue the introduction of "dark money" donations: We no longer always know who's writing these huge checks — "or what they'll expect in return."
"Drowning in a sea of GOP campaign cash"
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