Ed Morrissey may be on vacation but he’s still keeping his ear to the door of American politics. He popped up on Twitter this morning, searching for his dictionary to look up the definition of “chutzpah.” The reason for his apparent confusion was a rather off-putting interview with Georgia-06 Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff conducted by NPR’s Rachel Martin. The subject of the massive, record-breaking amount of cash dumped into this race couldn’t be avoided, so Martin asked Ossoff to weigh in. He did so, but his take on the subject rang a bit hollow to say the least. (Emphasis added)
MARTIN: How do you feel about the money that’s been spent on this campaign? The Atlanta Journal Constitution published a calculation that said you and your opponent have spent or reserved over $40 million for TV and radio ads. Does that disturb you? What does it say about our political culture?
OSSOFF: The role of money in politics is a major problem and particularly the role of unchecked anonymous money. There have been super PACs in Washington who have been putting up tens of millions of dollars of attack ads in air for months now. When you have that kind of an environment, it’s necessary to raise the resources to fight back. I’m proud of the fact that my campaign has raised that money in small-dollar contributions, on average less than $50.
MARTIN: Although, it was your party that started the big spending. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also found your campaign and groups supporting it spent about $2 million more in ad spending than Handel during the runoff.
OSSOFF: Well, the overwhelming majority of money spent supporting my opponent has come from super PACs in Washington. And the overwhelming amount of money that’s been spent supporting my candidacy has come from small-dollar donors. But there’s no question that money in politics is a major problem, which is one of the reasons that we need campaign finance reform so that candidates and campaigns will spend more time talking to voters and discussing the issues and less time raising money.
Um… Jon? A word if you have a moment?
See, that sort of tactic used to be quite popular and it very likely worked for any number of politicians in the 70s and even the 80s. But you do realize that since that time we’ve gotten this newfangled technology called “the internet” right? It’s just this thing, you see… sort of like a series of tubes. And it allows us to look up not only things you’ve said in the past, but all sorts of verifiable facts which have been reported.
For example, by the end of May, your opponent, Congresswoman-elect Handel, had spent $3.2M. You, Jon, on the other hand, had spent $22.5M. And then there’s all of that big “out of state PAC” money which Handel was getting. Of the roughly $13M she managed to take in, it was lumped into the category of “super PAC and party committee cash.” Sure, there was some PAC activity on her side just like yours, but NBC reports that the significant majority came from only two sources… the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund. These aren’t exactly nameless, faceless non-profits popping up in some warehouse owned by George Soros.
With all due respect, Mr. Ossoff, you just lost the most expensive House race the country has ever seen. And you gladly took in and slathered cash all over the landscape in an effort to win it. There’s no dishonor in losing a hard fought campaign, but calling for campaign finance reform on the final day of that spending spree is a bit much even by the standards of lifelong Washington insiders.