It seems to me that there was once a very basic, black and white picture being painted in the media when it comes to super PACs. Two armies of very wealthy, highly motivated partisans would set up opposing groups of slush funds marching in lockstep. On one side would be Karl Rove with Crossroads and on the other, George Soros with American Bridge or whatever it’s called.
But as time went on it’s become obvious that the picture is a lot more complicated than that. Different groups have their own agendas and aren’t always interested in toeing the line for either party as a whole. That may be the case with this news from Politico about billionaire investment banking mogul Paul Singer, who is setting up a brand new super PAC to support Republicans… with a twist.
Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer is one of the GOP’s most sought-after donors, and has also been a driving force in New York State’s push for gay marriage. Along with Michael Bloomberg, Singer has used his financial resources to nudge Republican legislators in the direction of supporting same-sex unions, giving an incentive for them to buck the party line where the political down side might otherwise be too great.
And now, Singer tells the New York Times’s Frank Bruni that he’s going to bankroll a super PAC that could accomplish the same goal on the federal level
It’s apparently called American Unity PAC, and Singer is kicking it off with $1M to primarily support Republican candidates in congressional races. He’s quoted as saying that he feels there are GOP candidates out there who are either “on the fence” about gay marriage or are hiding their support for it, and part of his goal is, “helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it.”
Here’s another clip from Singer’s interview with the Times which seems to summarize this “third way” approach to opening up the tent a bit.
Our conversation also reflected a growing awareness among prominent Republicans that embracing marriage equality could broaden the party’s base and soften the party’s image in crucial ways. Many swing voters who find elements of Republicans’ limited-government message appealing and have doubts about Obama’s economic stewardship are nonetheless given serious pause by the party’s stances on abortion, birth control, immigration and homosexuality.
This will probably attract at least some attention, primarily in the Northeast where we regularly produce politicians along the lines of Bloomberg. How much appeal will it have in the rest of the country, particularly in the more “traditional” conservative strongholds? I wouldn’t be betting the ranch on it, but there’s no denying that it’s cheaper and easier to impact a congressional race than a national contest. And a few million dollars can go a long way in one campaign season.