.@mrsinisterlefty How can we ever know what the presidency is actually worth if the free market isn't allowed to work its magic?
— Billmon (@billmon1) April 22, 2015
Doyle MacManus, in the LA Times:
… The most important players aren’t the candidates; they’re the mega-donors. In American politics, money talks.
That’s always been true, of course. But this year, we’re reaching new lows: The Republican race has devolved into a battle among headstrong billionaires, each with a pet candidate.
David Koch, whose family made its money in coal, has Walker. (For all his protestations of neutrality, Koch sounded pretty smitten.) Norman Braman, who owns 23 car dealerships, has Marco Rubio. Robert Mercer, a New York hedge fund manager, has Ted Cruz. Foster Friess, an investment manager, has Rick Santorum. (Yes, Santorum is still in the running — thanks in large part to the generosity of Friess.)
The biggest mega-donor of them all, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, is still playing hard to get. All the candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, are courting him.
There’s something grotesque about a process that requires serious politicians to hover anxiously around a few donors who can make or break a campaign at whim….
Further reading: In the NYTimes, “The Next Era of Campaign-Finance Craziness Is Already Underway“:
… On April 6, the day before [Rand] Paul made his formal announcement, National Journal reported that…[Paul’s longtime political adviser Jesse] Benton will be running with several others America’s Liberty PAC, the principal Paul-supporting super PAC — the class of technically independent campaign organization that is free to spend as many millions of dollars as it can raise, without all those nettlesome regulations that limit donations to formal presidential campaigns to $5,400 a person.
Then there is the longtime Jeb Bush adviser Mike Murphy. Murphy guided Bush through the rocky shallows of early-stage presidential politics and helped manage Bush’s successful push to lock down most of the Republican Party’s top donors for the 2016 race, effectively sidelining Mitt Romney and hobbling Chris Christie. Not long ago, it would have been taken as a given that Murphy would join Bush’s formal campaign once it was announced — but people close to the campaign expect he will join Bush’s super PAC, Right to Rise, instead. And Gov. Scott Walker’s former campaign manager and chief of staff, Keith Gilkes, announced late last week that he would not be joining Walker’s formal campaign but rather Walker’s super PAC, Unintimidated PAC — this in spite of legal investigations into Walker’s aides’ interactions with outside conservative groups…
Until someone rewrites Circle of Life from the point of view of the vultures & hyenas, this old chestnut will have to do…