The good news is, the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame event on Saturday night raised close to $200,000, twice as much as the Republican Party of Iowa brought in with last Thursday’s “Night of the Rising Stars.” Even better, Democrats paid reasonable prices (starting at $35, I believe) for heavy hors d’oevres and a ticket to hear Tom Vilsack, Christie Vilsack and Sally Pederson. In contrast, Republicans paid $100 ($50 for those under 35) for Chex mix, a cash bar and Haley Barbour.
Now for the bad news, courtesy of Paul Deaton at Blog for Iowa:
Governor Culver bragged about the success of the event’s fund raising efforts, saying that more money had been raised this year than in any of the previous years of the Hall of Fame event. What Chet Culver does not understand is that it is false success when among the 2009 Hall of Fame Hosts are listed the powerful interests that stymie the efforts of the progressive movement to do what is right in Iowa and in Washington.
One asks what do Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto, MidAmerican Energy, Planned Parenthood, the Iowa Medical PAC, Mediacom, the Iowa Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, the Iowa Corn Growers Association and other political action committees, business associations and corporations want with their donation besides access and favorable attention to advance their agendas? The Iowa Democratic Party, despite statements made during the speeches, is far from being the grassroots party we need it to become. Grassroots activism, in my view, needs to eliminate the influence of the large, moneyed entities. A good place to start would be to cease accepting corporate sponsorship of party events. This seems unlikely in a Culver administration.
It’s normal for corporate interests to cozy up to the party in power, and why shouldn’t they? Look how well things turned out for the nursing home industry in Iowa this year.
I recognize the pressure Democrats are under to keep pace with Republican fundraising, but leaving big problems unaddressed for fear of offending business groups will not keep newly registered Democrats excited about voting and volunteering next year.
Looking further ahead, the corporate sponsors that made this weekend’s event a success may keep Culver from becoming the great governor he wants to be.
I don’t have an answer other than supporting individual Democratic candidates who stand for my beliefs and organizations working toward real campaign finance reform. If you have any better ideas, please post them in this thread.