August 14, 2008

Was a “Money Bomb” Dropped?

The ?Money Bomb??a big single-day fundraisers organized by the grassroots?was essential for Ron Paul?s insurgency last year. And the story behind it is pretty interesting, too. In the fall of ?07, Ron Paul?s campaign staff decided, brilliantly, to make the candidate’s fundraising transparent and live on its website?even including a nifty thermometer! This new widget inspired the now-famous political entrepreneur Trevor Lyman to develop the Money Bomb idea. (And by the way, Lyman has recently launched a social networking and media site everyone here should join.) Lyman organized a campaign to get the grassroots all to donate on the same day and make the thermometer go wild. Paul raised 4.3 million on Nov. 5, 6.1 million on Dec. 16?both single-day records. 

Lyman has recently teamed up with Glen Greenwald, who, as both Jim Antle and I have written about, is calling for a progressive jihad against moderate Democrats, particularly those that supported the last FISA bill that offered federal immunity for spying. The project?s based around the Accountability Now PAC, which bears the tagline ?strange bedfellows coalition??they?re bringing together libertarians and progressives who are united on civil liberties issues. It?s worth noting that the project gained the support of some paleo-oriented bloggers.

When I first wrote about this, I was more skeptical.

It all seems like one of those “enemy of my enemy,” improbably alliances that makes politics interesting again… Well, the Money Bomb had a pretty respectable explosion at around $150,000. But it’s still important to ask, Who in the “strange bedfellows” coalition is really on top?

As The Politicker points out, there is a full-fledged Ron Paul Republican named Collins Bailey set to run against Hoyer in the fall, and he’s strapped for cash. And yet, all of the money raised went to Accountability Now PAC, not Bailey. The PAC will probably end up supporting some causes and candidates that won’t much please the former Paul supporters who took part in the effort—after all, beyond FISA, progressives and constitutional-libertarians don’t agree on much. For Lyman, the “strange bed fellows” thing might start to feel like a bad one-night stand.

Recently, I was contacted by a Ron Paul guy very much involved with ?strange bedfellows,? and he stressed that there?s no reason why Accountability Now won?t eventually give funds to Collins Bailey. I certainly hope it does. Although I remain wary of any progressive-libertarian alliance, particularly when the progressives are in charge of the PAC. And besides, a lot of those moderate, conservative Democrats aren’t all that bad. They’re definitely some others I’d like to throw out of Congress first. 


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