One of the principal narratives of the Obama campaign, echoed without much criticism throughout the media, is that Romney-aligned super PACs are going to tear poor Barack Obama down with an avalanche of negative ads.¬† The President himself whined that ‚??$500 million in super-PAC negative ads‚?Ě would be run against him over the next five months, feeding on ‚??those fears and those anxieties and that frustration‚?Ě of a public that would otherwise be entirely comfortable with grinding unemployment, towering national debt, and the sacrifice of their health and liberty to ObamaCare.
This is all a subset of the typical media-supported campaign narrative that Republican campaign fundraising success is troubling evidence of ‚??too much money‚?Ě sloshing around in politics.¬† Super PAC money serves as a hellish reminder of the evils of the Supreme Court‚??s Citizens United decision, which has become the ‚??God particle‚?Ě of liberal theories about their political reversals.¬† Meanwhile, when Democrats pull in huge piles of suspicious money, as Obama did during 2008, it is portrayed as a healthy sign of their popularity, while their Super PAC spending is dismissed as entirely defensive – something they are regrettably compelled to soil themselves with, in response to Republican efforts.
Given the general stink of hypocrisy hanging over the Obama campaign, it should come as no surprise to learn that in reality, Obama-aligned Super PACs have spent more than Romney‚??s, and their campaign activities have also been more negative.
In fact, as Jim Geraghty of National Review reports, Federal Election Commission data from January 2011 through July 3rd show that with anti-Romney spending from groups supportive of his Republican primary opponents factored out, there is a ‚??two-to-one spending ratio of liberal anti-Romney efforts to conservative anti-Obama efforts.‚?Ě
The FEC actually keeps track of whether each dollar is spent on positive or negative campaigning ‚?? that is, political advertising in support of a candidate, or critical of his opponents.¬† The ratio of negative advertising dollars is much higher among Obama-aligned Super PACs.¬† $7.7 million has been spent on Super PAC efforts supporting Romney in a positive fashion, while less than one million has been spent on positive ads favoring Obama.¬† The largest Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, has spent $13.5 million on nothing but negative ads attacking Romney.¬† That‚??s the group that was happy to take a million dollars from the disgusting misogynist Bill Maher.
Geraghty has more details, concluding the observation that ‚??of course, it‚??s possible that the super PACs opposing Obama will indeed, by the time November 6 rolls around, have spent the gargantuan sums that Obama and Axelrod talk about; groups on the right may be holding their resources in reserve for the final months of the campaign.‚?Ě
But based on the actual, verifiable spending thus far, media narratives portraying Obama as a helpless victim under siege from sinister right-wing Super PACs are fraudulent‚?¶ just like pretty much everything the Obama campaign has said on every topic thus far, from the ‚??war on women‚?Ě to attacks on venture capitalism and outsourcing.
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