The figure above is the very precise goal -- albeit rounded up to the nearest dollar -- set by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for its current fund drive. As Executive Director J. B. Poersch explains in a begging letter I received today, this exact amount of money is needed "to finalize [the DSCC's] planning for the summer and fall. The Committee needs this money by June 27; if you wait any later to donate, "it could be too late to fund the 2012 Victory Plan." Democrats must build their war chest early because "the playing field is tilted -- and corporate special interests will have a bigger advantage than ever." It's not that corporate special interests won't be giving to Democrats, of course, and Democrats certainly won't refuse their money, but, well, ... you know. On top of that, "Third-party groups now have a full election cycle to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash under the Citizens United ruling." Again, many "third-party" groups -- the term doesn't mean what we'd hope it would -- will be raising and spending potentially unlimited amounts on behalf of Democratic candidates. "Third-party" groups who support Republicans reportedly spent more last year than their Democratic-leaning counterparts, but that may be because the Democratic Party hustles harder than the Republican Party does. That is, liberals and progressives may simply be more likely to give directly to the Party, while conservatives and reactionaries prefer to give to groups that appear more ideologically reliable. Whatever the facts are, I feel pretty certain that the DSCC would rather your hard-earned piece of democracy went to them than to anyone else, however much anyone else sympathizes with the cause. I'd still like to see an itemized budget to see how they came up with that remarkable figure.
Interestingly, Poersch's letter seems to continue a trend toward de-emphasizing partisanship that may have been signalled by a begging letter I received from the President last week. Seeking to fund his own re-election, Obama managed to make his pitch without mentioning either Republicans or the Tea Party by name. In Poersch's letter, the are just three instances of "Republican," "Republicans" or "GOP." And instead of accusing Republicans by name of bad intentions, Poersch notes austerely that "some of today's politicians" wnat to "bring us back to the past." It's not as if no one will know who he means, but compared to last year's begging letters, Democrats seem to be soft-pedaling the enmity this year, as if some focus group had advised them that blatant partisanship was a turn-off to potential donors. This may reflect growing confidence, at least in the President's own prospects next year if not in the party's congressional chances overall. While Poersch warns that "some of today's politicians" want to do mean things like privatize Medicare or abort health care reform, there's an overall lack of fearmongering in the current begging literature that's almost refreshing. I wonder how long that tone will last.