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Showing posts from October, 2011

All of the sudden Limbaugh isn't so colorblind

Back in October 2009, Rush Limbaugh went on and on about being colorblind to defend himself against charges of racism...you know, as a result of doing things like singing about Barack the Magic Negro.

But now that its his guy under fire for sexual harassment, what do you know, all of the sudden he can "see" color again.

You know, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, folks. After all of these years, none of us should be surprised, but I still am. Look at how quickly what is known as the mainstream media goes for the ugliest racial stereotypes they can to attack a black conservative...

What's next, folks? A cartoon on MSNBC showing Herman Cain with huge lips eating a watermelon? What are they gonna do next? No, Snerdley, I'm not kidding. The racial stereotypes that these people are using to go after Herman Cain, what is the one thing that it tells us? It tells us who the real racists are, yeah, but it tells us that Herman Cain is somebody.
I'll tell you what Rush,…

Republicans gearing up to fight FOR government spending

Regular readers will know that I've been talking for awhile about how the debt ceiling deal will be changing the conversation in Washington. It hasn't hit crescendo yet, but things are definitely shifting.

While President Obama is out talking about the American Jobs Act and issuing daily executive orders on his "We can't wait" campaign, Republicans are starting to talk about the importance of government spending...on the military.

While they've spent the last couple of years focusing on austerity and decrying the dangers of our looming deficit, the triggered $600 billion in cuts to defense spending that will kick in when/if the Super Committee doesn't reach a deal are starting to cause them to change their tune and panic.

Conservative Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson picked up the mantle yesterday with an article titled The dangerous debate over cutting military spending. He shifts from a total 100% focus on austerity to framing the debate as …

Republicans diss Hispanics...again

Now that Perry has pulled a "Romney" and flip-flopped on participating in GOP presidential debates, it looks like we're in for more of the clown show.

But Republican candidates are united in one thing...they won't participate in a debate on Univision.

There are almost 12 million potential Hispanic voters in the United States. And both parties say they are eager to court their votes. So one has to wonder why the Republican presidential contenders would miss the chance to debate before the largest possible audience of Spanish-language television viewers.

This month, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman Jr., Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich said they would not participate in a debate on Univision tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29, before Florida’s Republican primary. Instead, they are expected to debate in December on NBC’s Telemundo, which has less than a third of Univision’s typical evening audience.
You might wonder why these GOP candid…

Remembering the everyday renegades on Dia De Los Muertos

A few years ago I started what might be called a blogging ritual by annually re-posting something Madman in the Marketplace wrote back in 2006 celebrating Dia de los Muertos.

Its especially fitting to do that today (even though the holiday is actually celebrated on Nov. 1st and 2nd) on the heels of my most recent post about the dangers of people like Greenwald forgetting to pay homage to our forefathers/mothers. Madman demonstrated so beautifully why its important to remember and celebrate them.

Today, in the spirit of Dia De Los Muertos, lets celebrate instead those who've fought dark times before, survived dark times before, PREVAILED in times that were much like what we face now.

I don't mean just the leaders, not just Elizabeth Cady Stanton, more than Joe Hill, not just Chief Joseph, not merely Martin Luther King Jr. or William Lloyd Garrison or Cesar Chavez. The authoritarians are the ones who have no choice but to elevate "great men" for them to FOLLOW...Our lu…

Greenwald gets it half right

As you might know, Glenn Greenwald has published a new book titled "With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful." You might have seen him on TV shows like Rachel Maddow's promoting it. He's also written articles like this that basically summarize the content. In that article, he's trying to answer the question "why OWS now?" He establishes that income inequality has been with us in this country for a long time and suggests that the difference now is that inequality is stemming from the unfairness of our justice system.

Here's the half of the equation that Greenwald gets right.

In lieu of the rule of law - the equal application of rules to everyone - what we have now is a two-tiered justice system in which the powerful are immunised, while the powerless are punished with increasing mercilessness.
The reality of a two-tiered justice system in this country is a fact - and one where the consequence…

We're STILL the ones we've been waiting for

Caroline Clarke at Black Essence reminds us:

President Obama was elected by an enthusiastic, optimistic, relieved majority. Like my emailing friend Ann, in Oregon, most of us cried tears of joy when the last vote was counted; some of us still choke up every time he appears. But most of us also receded back into our lives after the election, dabbing our eyes as we waited for him to work miracles. And we knew it would take miracles—not only because there was a mighty contingent appalled that a Black man was president—but because the deck he was handed was stacked high against him, and against us all.

When he proved to be a mere mortal... we went mute and let the liars, the haters, the extremists and opportunists take over. Do we blame him for that or do we blame ourselves?

President Obama is constantly criticized for the changes he promised that we don’t yet see. But his campaign for change clearly required that we all change; it required that we sacrifice and continue to stand with him …

A simple wish

George Will vs Pat Robertson

Yesterday I wrote about the great divide in Republican ranks over the presidential nomination. If I had asked you a few months ago to bet on where George Will and Pat Robertson would stand on that divide, I expect you would have lost some money.

As you know, earlier this week Pat Robertson accused the GOP base of being too extreme and made a plea for them to focus on electability. That's as close to an endorsement of Romney as you're likely to hear from him at this point.

You might have already seen that today George Will eviscerated Romney in his column and made a case in support of the base's extremism.

Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution c…

The left's doom-and-gloomers

I've been writing about how the debt ceiling deal will become a prominent part of the discussion in the coming months leading up to the 2012 election. With the leak this week of both the Democratic and Republican plans put forward by members of the Super Committee, the whole issue is getting some attention on the blogs and in the MSM.

Today Michael Tomsasky weighs in with what I consider to be typical leftist doom-and-gloom. He affirms what most people think - the Super Committee will fail to come to an agreement by their deadline on Thanksgiving. And then he focuses on the triggers - cuts to both discretionary spending and defense that will kick in January 1, 2013 if a deal is not reached.

The Republicans will, as John McCain and others have suggested, turn up the heat on the question of defense cuts. They will introduce legislation to exempt the Pentagon from cuts...

So they’ll advance a bill saying: cuts to domestic social programs, sure; cuts to Pentagon, nyet. It will pass t…

Who will have Attorney General Holder's back?

When the Republicans took over the House in 2010, here's the warning shot sounded by the New York Times.

When the Obama administration wakes up next month to a divided capital, no cabinet member will be facing a more miserable prospect of oversight hearings and subpoenas than Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Mr. Holder is a particularly juicy target because he presides over issues that have served as recurrent fodder for political controversy — including using the criminal justice system for terrorism cases, and federal enforcement of civil rights and immigration laws.
While stirred up controversies like the one about the New Black Panther Party didn't pan out for them, Republicans have nevertheless been on the hunt for something that would take down AG Holder. At this point, they think they've found that something in a controversy that the MSM and progressive blogs are pretty completely ignoring...the Arizona ATF's Fast and Furious operation. As the Daily Caller not…

The Republican Divide

Ron Brownstein has an interesting analysis of the Republican presidential field in his article titled The Two Republican Races.

He takes CNN/ORC polling data on the race since last January and tracks support for 4 of the candidates based on whether or not the responders identify with the Tea Party. Here's a graph of the results.



Browstein's point is that while the non-tea partiers have coalesced around Romney, the tea party crowd is still vacillating in their flavor-of-the-month search for purity. Romney is still standing after Pawlenty dropped out, Huntsman tanked, and the rest of the possible contenders knew better than to stick their toe in these insane waters. But the Tea Party vote is either divided or in chaos - depending on who is up at the moment.

This is causing folks like Adam Brandon, spokesman for Freedom Works, to loose sleep.

Brandon says what keeps the group "up at night" is the fear that tea party voters will never solidify behind a single candidate a…

Debt ceiling deal is starting to change the conversation

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how the debt ceiling deal would soon start to prompt interesting questions that are likely to affect the 2012 election campaigns. This week, we've seen some of that start to happen.

With the deadline for the Super Committee to vote on a deficit reduction plan looming in less than a month, both parties have submitted plans that pretty much mirror the stalemate that led to the creation of the committee in the first place. In other words, Democrats proposed a balanced approach of spending cuts and tax increases while the Republicans will have none of the later. So the situation is as deadlocked as it was in the past.

Some chatter about what happens if the committee fails and the triggers kick in is starting to happen...especially the part where defense spending would get cut by about $600 billion. And the Republican response is fascinating, - but predictable. All of the sudden, they're singing a totally different tune about the dangers of gov…

Cantor in total denial

With Congressional approval numbers in single digits, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor decided to brag about their performance this year.

In a 1-page “Dear Colleague” letter, Cantor pointed to several numbers that he said indicated a more deliberative and productive House due to the new schedule. For example, through Oct. 14 of this year, the House has taken 800 roll call votes so far, compared to 565 votes by the same time in 2010.
Here's a handy summary of what Republicans have been up to this year:



Hint to Eric...I'm not so sure this is something I'd be bragging about. Even grading on the curve wouldn't get you a pass on this one.

The wisdom of a child

Does anyone need a reminder that Republicans don't know what they're talking about?

Yesterday Steve Benen caught something interesting about Gov. Perry's first big campaign ad buy in Iowa:

...Perry tells viewers, “As president I’ll create at least 2-and-a-half million new jobs..."
Sounds good, doesn't it? But Benen explains:

Let’s consider the jobs data. Over the last year and a half, as the economic recovery has slowly progressed, the economy has added 2.56 million private-sector jobs...

Rick Perry believes he’ll able to create the same number of jobs in four years that Barack Obama has created in a year and a half.
On the other end of the spectrum, I'm reminded of an article Benen wrote a couple of weeks ago on what Sen. McCain said at the launch of his so-called "jobs plan." Here's McCain:

We’d love to see, for example, a vote in the United States Senate on a moratorium on Federal regulations, which are coming out by the thousands, costing businesses billions and billions of jobs. We’d love to see a vote on that.
Benen's response:

Hm…

From message to movement

Apparently Andrew Sabl spent some time with OWS and came away with some interesting insights.

First of all, he points out that the message of OWS is popular.

According to a Time poll, of those who claim familiarity with the protests (three-quarters of the sample), 86 percent agree that “Wall Street and its lobbyists have too much influence in Washington”; 79 percent agree that “the gap between rich and poor in the United States has grown too large”; “71 percent agree that “executives of financial institutions responsible for the financial meltdown in 2008 should be prosecuted”; 68 percent agree that “the rich should pay more taxes.”
He puts his second point rather bluntly: "The people running Occupy Wall Street are flakes." Here's a bit about how he explains it.

They have come to see the protests as ends in themselves. Their official blog disavows the right of any working group to produce demands. On the contrary, saith the blogger, ”[w]e are our demands. This #ows mo…

Autumn Leaves

I live in a part of the country where its impossible to ignore the changing seasons. That isn't true everywhere. I remember constantly having to think twice about that when I lived in Southern California.

There is a kind of beautiful melancholy that comes will fall. Here's an example of that beauty in my very own back yard today.



But the days are shorter as the darkness begins to take over the light of long summer days. And at least up here in the tundra, we know that the harshness of winter is on its way.

Melancholy isn't all bad. A change of pace is nice and taking a few moments to reflect is usually good for the soul.

If you ever had any doubts that melancholy could be beautiful, let me suggest that you let Eva disabuse you of that.

Young Americans Can't Wait

As part of his We Can't Wait campaign, today President Obama will announce new rules on student loans.

President Obama on Wednesday will announce a plan to allow college graduates to cap federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in January, two years before the cap was due to take effect under federal law.

The accelerated “pay as you earn” program, which Obama will authorize through executive order, could benefit up to 1.6 million borrowers and reduce their payments by as much as a couple hundred dollars a month, administration officials said. All remaining debt on the federal loans would be forgiven after 20 years — five years earlier than under current law.

In addition, some borrowers who have more than one federal student loan will be allowed to consolidate their debt, in some cases reducing their interest rates by up to half a percentage point, officials said. Obama will formally announce the program at the University of Colorado’s downtown …

Another bad day for Republicans

The Republican candidates for the presidency just can't seem to stop stepping all over themselves during this pre-primary season. Yesterday was another bad day for the top contenders.

First of all, we had Cain's bizarre ad that had everyone scratching their heads and wondering whether this guy is really serious.



Then there was Perry stepping all over the launch of his so-called "tax plan" with his own version of birtherism.



This stunt was reviled by almost every Republican leader out there and led conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin to call him "unfit and unserious."

Perry is playing the role of a Texas A&M frat boy, not a contender for leader of the free world and commander in chief. Can such a person be taken seriously?

This is not a problem, by the way, that his staff can fix. This goes to the candidate’s character and judgment. If such a person would stoop to birtherism and secession, and let anti-religious bigotry go without condemnation, where doe…

Is anybody noticing who's coming in 3rd in GOP presidential polls?

Almost every recent poll I've seen on the GOP presidential field has come in the same as the one released today by CBS and the New York Times.

Cain: 25
Romney: 21
Gingrich: 10
Paul: 8
Perry: 6
Bachmann: less than 2
Huntsman: less than 2
Santorum: less than 2

While we're all busy talking about Romney, Cain and Perry, Newt Gingrich has climbed into 3rd place. To most folks, that doesn't mean much because at 10% he's still not really in contention.

But there's something that's been gnawing at the back of my brain for a while now and I'm just going to put it out there. I could be terribly wrong and anyone who reads this can later come back and say "I told you so." But "nothing ventured, nothing gained," so here goes.

I wonder if anyone else has been noticing how cozy Cain and Gingrich have been during the debates. Didn't Cain pick Gingrich when asked who on the stage would make a good VP? At the last one in Vegas, while all of the other…

Beware of Gallup spin

I'm one that believes there can be some validity to polling at certain times and on specific issues. But it pays to keep a vigilant eye on things rather than just swallow all polling numbers whole.

As an example, I was a bit surprised to see this title to a new Gallup poll: Gov't Regulations Top Small Business Owners Problem List.

We all know that the Republican's answer to unemployment is to basically get rid of all government regulations. But we also know from sources as diverse as the Economic Policy Institute and the National Federation of Independent Businesses that government regulations are not the problem - its all about lack of demand.

So how does Gallup come up with that kind of result from small businesses? I took a look at the data. First of all the headline highlighted an open-ended question "What do you think is the most important problem facing small business owners like you today?" How they grouped the answers was interesting. "Complying wi…

The hidden victims of austerity

Benjamin Dueholm writes about his family's experience as foster parents in an article titled Taxing the Kindness of Strangers. He speaks mostly about their experience with their first child, Sophia (not her real name), who came to them malnourished with a broken leg when she was less than a year old.

Dueholm tells the personal side of the story (like driving Sophia around most of the night to get her to sleep and spending days working on qualifying for WIC). But he also draws some political conclusions.

It’s a major bureaucratic process to remove a child from her home and family. The state insures the child, pays for daycare, investigates the claims of abuse, and retains legal custody, but it cannot actually put a baby to bed at night. And so, on the other side of this most intimate public-private partnership are usually people like us, left alone with a stranger’s child and a garbage bag full of clothes and wondering what’s going to happen next. And what happens next depends, to …

Not disappointed by President Obama

Jake Lamar speaks for me! Listen and share.



h/t to Extreme Liberal

Scandal-free Obama administration

Jonathan Alter has written a fairly long but very interesting article titled Scandal in the age of Obama.

Barack Obama was not in office for more than a couple of minutes, it seemed, before conservatives began trying to cover him in muck. Yet for almost three years, the administration has been scandal-less, not scandalous. In a capital culture that over generations has become practiced at the art of flinging mud pies, Republicans and a few reporters have been tossing charges against a Teflon wall...

The question is, have Obama and his administration objectively engaged in less scandalous behavior, or has some combination of external forces kept scandals from spreading through the public consciousness? And if Obama has managed to build a scandal-proof administration, is that purely a good thing, or has it come at a cost?

Here I humbly offer some theories about how the Washington scandal machine works, and why there has been such a dearth of scandals in the age of Obama.
Alter goes on t…

"We Can't Wait"

A few weeks ago President Obama met with his cabinet. He asked them all to come prepared to talk about what their various departments could do to create jobs and ease the burden on American families that wouldn't rely on Congressional action.

President Obama today met with his Cabinet to talk about the most pressing issue facing the country right now: Putting America back to work. The President is waiting for Congress to take action on the American Jobs Act, which he introduced at a Joint Session in early September. But in the meantime, the President is committed to having the entire administration and all agencies to do everything possible that does not require Congress’s help...
I suspect it was some of those ideas that the President will begin announcing this week.

With his jobs plan stymied in Congress by Republican opposition, President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming mo…

Woman Up!

"Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
― Betty White

;-)

Ode to the 99%

I'm not typically a big fan of country music. But today Matt Osborne posted this song with some wonderful commentary (go read it!)

Alan Jackson has a powerful message for those of us who tend to see the plight of the 99%ers through the lens of liberal urban America.

Beyond tokenism

Back in the early 90's I was hired to run a non-profit organization who's mission is to prevent youth involvement in the juvenile justice system. One of my priorities was to diversify an almost all white staff so that we could better serve youth of color (primarily African Americans) who are disproportionately impacted by that system.

What ensued initially was a period at the agency that can best be described by the word "tokenism." With one black person in a program, they became the voice for all African Americans to the rest of the staff. I remember one young woman explaining to me what it was like in her exit interview. She said she was going to scream the next time a white person expected her to be the one to explain African American's response to the O.J. Simpson verdict.

Then I remember a moment when we crossed that threshold beyond tokenism to real diversity. A conflict arose between two of our African American staff that required some mediation by manage…

Herman Cain's attachment to the "plantation" analogy

Did you think that Herman Cain's recent reference to a "plantation mentality" was a new thing for him? Then think again.

Apparently this is one of his favorite analogies and he's used it to talk about both the federal income tax and social security. Think Progress found these gems in Mr. Cain's writing for "The New Voice" from 2005-2010.

It took our nation nearly 250 years to end slavery and live up to the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. It should not take us another 250 years to cease the involuntary negative return most working people receive from Social Security, or the involuntary servitude imposed by the oppressive income tax code.
And...

It is now evident that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not apply to the Social Security system. Due to the rising retirement age, differences in life expectancy between Blacks and Whites, and mandatory payroll tax deductions, the system by its very nature discriminates against black men and wome…

The Obama Campaign Donor Map

Recently, the Obama campaign reached the milestone of having one million donors. To celebrate, they put together a web page full of all kinds of data on those one million people - including the number of donors per state.

New York Magazine took that information and made a "money map" (which really should be called a "donor map"), listing the number of donors per capita in each state.



The map includes 5 shades of blue - which sometimes makes it difficult to decipher. But overall, it matches a lot of assumptions about what the 2012 election will look like. The two lightest shades of blue are mostly states where President Obama will be least competitive. The two darkest are states he'll likely win. And the middle shade generally includes the battlegrounds.

If so, there's some good news and bad news. First of all though, we need to acknowledge that the small populations of Montana and Alaska likely skewed their results.

In terms of bad news - its all about Ohio.…

President Obama: Keeping his promises to the world

Less than six months into his Presidency, Barack Obama gave an important speech in Cairo outlining his vision of A New Beginning between the United States and the Muslim world.

On the day after the President announced that U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of this year, it is interesting to review what he said about Iraq in that speech.

Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future…

Knock, Knock

Earlier today I wrote about Republicans blocking Senator Webb's bill that would have created a commission to make recommendations on prison reform. I mentioned Senator Hutchinson's indifference to the plight of those affected by the injustices in our current system. To her they are "not a priority."

It reminded me of this performance by Daniel Beaty that I heard years ago, but still brings on the tears. He recounts his own experience of loosing his father to that system as a little boy. How dare we not notice all the little boys (and girls) like Daniel!

Home for the holidays!

I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear, and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end… Today I can say that troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.

Walking the talk - our President is the real deal!

Eli Saslow has written a book titled "Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President." This week, the Washington Post printed an excerpt.

A few times during his presidency, Obama admitted, he had written a personal check or made a phone call on the writer’s behalf, believing that it was his only way to ensure a fast result. “It’s not something I should advertise, but it has happened,” he told me. Many other times, he had forwarded letters to government agencies or Cabinet secretaries after attaching a standard, handwritten note that read: “Can you please take care of this?”

“Some of these letters you read and you say, ‘Gosh, I really want to help this person, and I may not have the tools to help them right now,’ ” the president said. “And then you start thinking about the fact that for every one person that wrote describing their story, there might be another hundred thousand going through the same thing. So there are times when I’m reading the letters and I feel pa…

Republican Senators: No to prison reform

I know that yesterday Republican Senators blocked a vote on the section of the American Jobs Act that would have created/protected 400,000 jobs for teachers, fire-fighters and police officers and was paid for by adding a 0.5% surtax on millionaires. I'm just as angry about that as anyone else.

But on Wednesday, Republican Senators also blocked Sen. Jim Webb's bill that would have created a bi-partisan commission to make recommendations on criminal justice reform. I have not always been a big fan of Senator Webb. But on this issue he has shown courage and persistence in taking on something that no one else wants to touch, but clearly needs to be addressed. From his web site:

Why We Urgently Need this Legislation:

* With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners.
* The number of incarcerated drug offenders has soared 1200% since 1980.
* Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.
*…

It was not a good day to be a Republican

I imagine this isn't the first and won't be the last time this happens. But today was truly not a good day to be a Republican.

First of all, there's the ongoing Romney/Perry Fight Club coming out of the last debate. Apparently Romney's story is that he's a victim of Perry's road rage. But then, there was that Romney ad basically calling Perry a doofus that all of the sudden disappeared. What's up with that Mr. Romney the victim?

Not to be left out of this faux pas circus, Cain says he's pro-choice...no, wait...he's 100% pro-life. I guess that's kinda like being willing to negotiate with terrorists...but not being willing to negotiate with terrorists. OMG, my head is spinning!

But I give the award for the day to Herman Cain for telling us that he's got a secret plan to protect poor people from 999. Really...you gotta hear this one.

The other thing that they try to say – “well it’s going to be regressive on the poor.” No it’s not. We anticipate…

The truth about Obama and Wall Street contributions (updated)

A few days ago the NYT printed an article titled Romney Beating Obama in a Fight for Wall Street Cash. Then today, the Washington Post printed a story with this title: Obama has more cash from financial sector than GOP hopefuls combined, data show.

Confused? They can't both be true, can they? If not, which one is accurate?

In order to answer those questions, you need to know a few things about campaign finance.

1. Individuals are limited to contributing $2,500 to a candidate in the primary and another $2,500 in the general campaign.

2. Individuals can give up to $30,800 to a party per calendar year (Jan-Dec). President Obama is doing joint fundraising for his campaign and for the Democratic Party. Until the Republicans have an endorsed candidate, they will be doing their fundraising separately.

The Washington Post article compares the total President Obama has raised for both his own campaign and the Democratic Party to what the Republican candidates have raised only for their own…