Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kerry Not Doing His Part for Democrats in the Senate

As readers are fully aware, John Kerry is doing his best to ignore democratic (and Democratic) fundamentals by ducking a debate with fellow Democrat Ed O'Reilly. While there is no real excuse for this for someone interested in true citizenship, some of Kerry's supporters (example, example) are implying that Kerry's time as an Obama surrogate is so precious, that not one evening can be spared for treating his constituents with that basic respect. This rationalization is shaky, in my eyes -- voters demonstrated a lack of interest in Kerry's opinions about what a president should do -- but it's the only one I've seen.

So, one might be forgiven for coming away with the impression that John Kerry is focused like a laser on Democratic success in 2008. Difficult, then, to square that away with this data, courtesy of a meticulous diary on MyDD. The writer plods through finance reports to report on sitting Democratic Senators' financial situation, and the amount they and their PAC have donated to Democratic candidates for the Senate, their PACs, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. This is based on the well-regarded 2006 "Use It or Lose It" campaign to ensure safe Democrats do their part by sharing their financial chests with candidates who could put it to better use than collecting interest and waiting for someone a level up to retire.

My first step was to pare sitting Democratic Senators not up for re-election in this cycle. Frankly, they can't fairly be expected to have as much Cash on Hand as their fundraising is in a low gear, and should definitely be generously aiding their current and would-be colleagues in their drive for more Democrats. So just looking at the 2008 candidates, this is some of what we learn:

Kerry is flush with cash. Largely due to his decision to reserve himself about $16 million of donors' money from his presidential run, Kerry has more money than any senator running in 2008. Twice as much as red-state Democrats such as Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu. So, given his relatively easy path to re-election, Kerry should be freely giving his money in for his colleagues, right? Hah!

Kerry is miserly. Despite his huge advantage, most Democrats have given more to ensure a Democratic Senate than Kerry. Despite an easy path in the general, Kerry is holding on to his money tightly; he has given less than all but four candidates. Biden spent much of his cash running for president, no doubt, and I am willing to grant extenuating circumstances to Tim Johnson. Lautenberg (who had a strongly contested primary against a sitting Congressman), Levin, and Kerry have absolutely no excuses. Shame. Even Mary Landrieu, the only Democrat who at one point appeared to face a real contest, is doing more than Kerry.

Bad as this is, things are even worse when contrasting Kerry's almsgiving with his cash advantage. I made another chart expressing Senators' giving as a percentage of their cash on hand to neutralize fundraising differences. Senators Baucus and Rockefeller continue to impress, as do Pryor and Reed. And, all things considered, Biden comes off a far sight better. Here's is the result:

Kerry gives less than 1% of his cash on hand to Democrats who are in far tougher races than he is. Max Baucus, a Democratic Senator from Montana, has been 30 times as generous as John Kerry. The constituents of Senators Levin and especially Lautenberg have some questions to ask. But I have some questions for my Senator.

If Kerry can't bother to debate a fellow Democrat...if he can't bother to respect the voters of Massachusetts...can't he at least do the bare minimum to give us a Senate working for America? Isn't $6 million enough?

1 comment:

Peter d'Errico said...

This is great work!! It should be posted on BlueMassGroup to get a wide audience. Maybe Huffington and DailyKos, too.

I think Kerry is afraid to debate because it will show he is against the MA Dem Platform on major issues. i.e., John Kerry is not a Massachusetts Democrat!