The day after Mitt Romney smashes every fundraising record the GOP has ever seen (and perhaps beating Hillary as well –we don’t have the breakdown of the general/primary numbers yet– the New York Times gets started on “its the Mormons (plus Wall Street)” meme.
Of course a lot of Mormons gave bucks to Romney, just as a lot of Italian-Americans no doubt donated to Giuliani, African-Americans to Barack Obama, Jewish-Americans to Joe Lieberman, and Greek-Americans to Michael Dukakis. Ina story that also runs today, black financial support for Obama is covered in detail, but also in a supportive tone. Judge for yourself how the paper views Mormon involvement in Romney’s campaign. (And please send me the link for the paper’s coverage of Greek-American support for Dukakis in 1988.)
Then there’s this line of attack:
Mr. Romney helped make many others rich through steep annual returns for investors in Bain Capital and through its payments to finance or buy out private companies. Some. like Thomas Stemberg, founder of Staples, have returned the favor with political contributions.
Meg Whitman, who has made a fortune as chief executive of eBay, met Mr. Romney when she worked as a Bain consultant. In January, she signed on as a financial co-chairwoman of his presidential campaign. She and scores of others called their own contacts on his behalf as part of a public demonstration of his fund-raising prowess that raised more than $6 million in one day.
“Returning the favor” and “call[ing] their own contacts on his behalf” are odd ways to describe the transformation of companies into market giants or the voluntary and long established practice of networking in fund-raising, but the Times’ “eyebrows up” assessment of Romney is hardly a surprise.
There are two surprises in the Times this morning.
First, the paper does understand that yesterday’s report was a huge blow to the McCain campaign:
Mr. Romney’s first-quarter take may undercut some of Mrs. Clinton’s triumph, but his lead over his party rivals most damages Mr. McCain.
Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, Terry Nelson, said in a statement that the campaign was “taking the necessary steps to ensure fund-raising success moving forward.”
Second, the Times’ double-standard in all things Republican/Democrat is nowhere more wonderfully clear than in the side-by-side you can do with the Romney article and the one that ran today on Barack Obama’s triumph, chillingly titled “Obama Built Donor Network From The Roots Up.” Compare the tone in this graph with that in the Romney story:
Interviews and campaign finance reports show Mr. Obama drew crucial early support from Chicago’s thriving black professional class, using it as a springboard to other rainmakers within the broader party establishment. Soon he was drawing money – and, just as valuable, buzz – among wealthy Chicago families like the Crowns and the Pritzkers, as well as friends from Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago, where Mr. Obama taught constitutional law and his wife worked in community relations. As his popularity surged after his rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004, big fund-raisers on Wall Street and in Hollywood hopped aboard, and grass-roots contributions began pouring in as well.
But perhaps Mr. Obama’s most crucial early support came from the city’s longstanding cadre of highly successful black executives and entrepreneurs.
John W. Rogers Jr., chief executive of Ariel Capital Management, which oversees $16 billion in investments, played basketball with Mr. Obama’s brother-in-law at Princeton University. Quintin E. Primo III, who made a fortune financing commercial real-estate deals, and Louis A. Holland, an investment manager, have also contributed to nearly all the senator’s races.
Buried very far down the story:
Mr. Obama also attracted major national Democratic donors, including George Soros and members of his family, who gave a total of $60,000.
Romney’s report will no doubt show a lot of strength in Utah. Of course some Mormons will be supporting him because of enthusiasm over their shared faith.
But Romney’s also the guy who saved the city’s Olympics and restored its reputation. He made an enormous amount of friends there. When reading takes on his Utah strength, keep in mind this paragraph on Obama’s grip on Chicago:
And Chicago has become almost completely an Obama town. Though Democrats here still express respect for Mrs. Clinton, “if she’s raising any money in Chicago, I don’t know who’s doing it,” said Mr. Schmidt, the lawyer who was once co-chairman of President Clinton’s fund-raising here.