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Outsiders vs. Insiders: GOP money worries over Ryan’s exit aren’t just unfounded – they’re dumb

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,” 1 Timothy 6:10.

Many sorrows indeed; much as we’d all hate to admit it, money drives a lot of our everyday decisions and ambitions. From the earliest years of adulthood we’re constantly bombarded by the necessity of acquiring Paul Ryanmeans – our parents tell us money, along with time, is the stuff life is made of.

That’s not to say money should be everyone’s sole preoccupation; but if you don’t got it, your options are severely limited on how to plan your life or business.

Perhaps nowhere in the world is the importance of a healthy financial situation felt more than in the political realm where a political party’s preeminent pursuit is to raise and distribute wealth to its candidates – so they can win elections. The recent “retirement” announcement from Speaker Paul Ryan highlighted the issue; after all, a party leader spends an awful lot of his or her time and energy flying all over the country to meet with people and ask for checks.

A party poohbah who can’t bring home the proverbial bacon isn’t going to last long. Some say fundraising demands (and the time commitments that go along with them) are the chief reason Ryan’s leaving this year.

One thing’s for certain – the Democrats’ success in raising money ahead of this year’s midterm elections has a lot of folks worried; but Republicans are having some luck of their own of late. Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner wrote, “...Democrats still hold a massive advantage after incumbents and key candidates continued to pile up their own cash in the first three months of 2018.

“Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, posted a $6.7 million quarter, while Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, raised $3.9 million and $3.3 million, respectively. The two incumbent Democrats each have over $11 million in the bank, agitating to Republicans.

“’We have seen absolutely white-hot fundraising from Democrats up and down the board for over a year,’ said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. ‘Lots more needs to be done. We're not anywhere near where we need to be.’”

Sure enough, as Weaver’s article details, Republican candidates from coast to coast are having difficulty matching their Democrat opponents step for step alongside the money train. It’s not really tricky to see why; with the ferocity and prevalence of the “resistance” together with the willing compliance of the major establishment media the nightly news is analogous to a non-stop fundraising commercial for Democrat candidates and leftist interest groups.

I don’t possess the exact figures but I’d surmise the vast majority of the Democrats/leftists’ money is from big donors like George Soros and California’s Tom Steyer, both of whom dumped tens of millions into assorted liberal causes. If there’s an organized liberal assembly somewhere chances are Soros, Steyer or some other filthy rich liberal ideologues are behind it (such as the “March For Our Lives” last month).

The kids you see on stage railing against the Second Amendment and President Trump are mere cogs in a very large and well-funded machine; they’re the unwitting foot soldiers in some well-to-do guy’s army, duped by ignorance to play a minute part of what appears to be a large cause. Why else would anyone go around chanting and waving signs about nebulous ill-defined concepts like “safety” and “sensitivity” and transgender “rights”?

Then there are the thuggish anarchist forces of Antifa whose members are likely paid to show up somewhere and cause trouble. None of it has anything to do with the First Amendment, political organizing, freedom of speech or the right to assemble; make no mistake, money drives the mission and keeps these groups going.

Money may be the root of all evil but it’s not evil in itself; conservatives must be much more aggressive in raising funds to support good candidates. Money is a tool to be used to get what we want – a more accountable, effective and lean government that focuses on its core mission: protecting us and our liberties. Sometimes it takes spending to save in other areas.

While Republicans should be wary of the Democrats’ mounting money totals there’s no need for the grassroots to be concerned. GOP party committees will always have their extensive lists of big donors; the Republican Party won’t ever run short. But if small dollar donors don’t feel compelled to write checks then good conservative candidates will face an uphill battle to compete with the establishment.

There are those who feel Paul Ryan’s decision to leave Congress could even harm the party’s money haul at a particularly crucial time, however. David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reported last week, “House Republicans face their toughest re-election in years and could go to battle with insufficient resources to defend their majority after Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., rendered himself a lame duck by announcing he would retire from Congress.

“Ryan has raised record amounts of cash for his colleagues during his tenure. The speaker’s allies insisted his stature and close relationships with deep-pocketed donors would keep the money flowing to colleagues struggling to withstand a developing Democratic tsunami driven by dissatisfaction with President Trump.

“But veteran GOP operatives and nervous House Republicans dismissed those assurances. They warned that Ryan’s decision to remain in leadership through November would handicap the fundraising power of the speaker's gavel, removing a crucial weapon from the GOP arsenal and negating a critical advantage the party has over the Democrats.”

Listening to the swamp creatures bellyache over the loss of Paul Ryan brings to mind another old adage, “It’s never a good time to….(you fill in the blank).” If we all waited for the perfect opportunity to get married, have a baby, buy a house, move across country in pursuit of a better career or…run for office…the world would have very few people in it and the ones who are here wouldn’t be happy.

Common sense says these political elites aren’t half as broken up over the prospect of losing Ryan as they are about potentially forfeiting his clout with the big money interests. According to Drucker’s article some Republican observers speculate donors will no longer write checks for someone who’s not in power, so the GOP coffers will dwindle accordingly.

Does this mean the only reason conservative Americans donate to the Republican Party is because of nice-guy Paul Ryan and his soothing bedside manner? Did they used to withhold money from John Boehner because the former speaker was orange in tint and smelled like cigarette smoke?

Granted I’m not a big donor but it doesn’t make sense what some folks are arguing. Anyone who contributes money to a political party understands they’re purchasing a platform of beliefs and principles – and perhaps a sympathetic ear on an issue of specific concern. But there will be plenty of people in line hoping to influence the next speaker in the same manner. It may take a while to sort out the particulars of who the next Republican House leader will be, but power is power.

Besides, what would GOP big donors do with their contributions – send them to Nancy Pelosi?

President Trump hasn’t been doing much fundraising of late but will certainly ramp it up closer to the election; and Vice President Mike Pence is out traveling the country stumping for various Republican senatorial candidates, a good many of whom haven’t even won their state primaries yet. There’s never a good time to be sitting around with an empty campaign bank account but there’s still a chance to get people woken up and donating prior to the most important work.

For his part Ryan doesn’t appear concerned his fundraising clout will evaporate. David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reported, “Ryan said his national donor network, worth nearly $150 million in campaign cash so far this cycle, has committed to stick with him. In a rare moment of braggadocio for the speaker, he labeled himself the best choice to lead Republicans into a turbulent midterm, lame duck or not.

“’I have shattered every fundraising record any speaker has ever set. I came into this job with a goal, as speaker, to raise $20 million. I doubled it to $40 million. Not only did I hit that goal, I hit it eight months early. So there is nobody who has come close to raising the kinds of funds I have and still can raise,’ Ryan said during a news conference. ‘It makes no sense to take the biggest fundraiser off the field.’

“Ryan’s political team told the Washington Examiner that the speaker raised $1 million in the first 30 hours after he announced he would retire after 20 years in Congress. The contributions were described as a ‘broad show of support’ from Ryan’s network after donors heard from him during a conference call asking them to stay on board. Politico first reported news of the call.”

Ryan has also scheduled a healthy dose of fundraisers and will be taking trips to Boston, Chicago and California in the near future.

In other words, just because Ryan announced nine months ahead of time that he wouldn’t be holding the speaker’s gavel come next January doesn’t mean he’s out of the game completely. If anything, the longtime Wisconsin congressman could have (should have?) left right now and perhaps put the party at a disadvantage – but he didn’t.

It could also be argued Ryan is freer than ever to legislate boldly, which might unlock even more goodwill cash to the Republican side. With literally nothing to lose and a ton of power still within his grasp it’s an ideal situation for Ryan to set a conservative tone for the remainder of his time in Congress. He no longer has to beg and cajole would-be donors to open their wallets. Ryan can lead by example and blaze new trails. And focus on the issues of greatest interest to the donor base at the same time.

There’s some evidence it’s already happening too. Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner reported, “The House won’t use next week's tax filing deadline as a showcase for a bill making the new individual tax cuts permanent, and will instead delay that vote until the summer to pressure Democrats closer to the midterm elections, according to Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.

“Norquist said he has received assurances from the GOP leadership that the legislation to make the individual tax cuts permanent will be on the agenda by summertime, along with a measure that would require the states to recognize conceal carry firearm permits from anywhere in the U.S.

“’A big vote on taxes and the Second Amendment, just as people are headed into the election, is the way to go,’ Norquist told the Washington Examiner.”

One wonders what took establishment Republicans so long to realize they should be scheduling these types of votes ahead of the election. What political consultant genius slapped the conference room table and shouted “That’s It!”?

Perhaps the money will flow in this year, perhaps it won’t. The GOP will survive regardless – but will the conservative cause? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that as long as Republicans do what they’re supposed to do that good things will follow, including coffers full of campaign cash.

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