follow the money

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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8 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    He got elected in 2006, started in 2007… So he’s a sophomore at this point. Hardly an institution… what would you say to the argument that said “surely if the people of ND wanted a Congressman who wanted these things, they could vote one in, just as they voted out the old bum in 2006”?

    If, for example, the people in North Dakota are all addicted to local celebrity Clay Jenkinson (who isn’t?) and have adopted some sort of pseudo-Jeffersonian false consciousness and think that they wouldn’t *REALLY* benefit from single-payer health care and have elected a guy who reflects that… then what?Report

  2. And how much money do you think that leading Democrats are getting from the health sector, E.D.?Report

  3. E.D. Kain says:

    Well, given that Conrad is a Dem and a sophomore – probably a hell of a lot, John. And probably they’ll put together something that reflects that. I’m well aware how corruptible this all is.

    (I’ve written recently that I’d like to see a two-pronged approach to this with some sort of socialized medicine means-tested for those who want it and a totally deregulated marketplace solution also, taking health care out of the employers’ hands. This way the two models could compete rather than exist in a hybrid state….)

    Jaybird – I doubt co-ops was a platform that Conrad ran on given that he just thought of it the other day.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      What platform did he run on?

      Additionally, I want to say that ND strikes me as a fairly conservative State. I mean, it strikes me as far more likely that 2006 was an example of throwing out corrupt Republicans rather than embracing Progressive values (I could be wrong, but that’s my sincerely-held suspicion).

      The ratio of citizens to Representatives in ND strikes me as a lot closer to the ideal than that which is found in states that qualify for multiple Representatives.

      Has something like this happened with a Californian Rep? Illinois? New York?Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

        It’s perfectly within reason to say that he is adequately representing his ND constituents. I do think, however, that any time a politician takes that much money from an industry it’s pretty likely that he is in favor of retaining to whatever extent possible the status quo for that industry.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          Oh, I think the guy is dirty and ought to be tarred and feathered and run out on a rail.

          I’m just inclined to think that if ND is representative of something, it’ll be the first time, like, ever.

          Except for Clay, of course. Big shout out to TJ.Report

  4. Uhh, Conrad is not a sophomore. He’s been in the Senate since 1986, and has held his current seat since 1992. He’s as close to a safe seat as they come in the Senate, winning almost 70% in 2006. I’d be very wary about concluding that this suggests a quid pro quo in light of that. If studies of interest group politics in Congress tell us anything, it’s actually that the more common occurence in situations like that is a shakedown going the other direction.
    Also, the data from the OpenCongress site that is linked above don’t seem to line up with the data from Open Secrets upon which that site purportedly relies. I’m not sure how OpenCongress is calculating “election cycles” but it’s misleading at a minimum – so far as I can tell, it’s calculating based on a six-year cycle, not a two-year cylce, so four years of the 2006 data are incorporated into the 2008 data, and vice versa.

    One final note of caution- those numbers include individual contributions and PAC contributions. To be sure, those individual contributions are often de facto corporate contributions, but not always. Anyone who works in the health care industry counts for purposes of those totals. Since health care spending accounts for about 18 percent of GDP, and about 14-17 percent of Conrad’s fundraising, it’s even more difficult to draw conclusions based solely on campaign contributions.

    None of this is to express any opinion on the merits of a co-op plan or anything else, just to caution against over-reading campaign contributions.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      Oh, my lord, I am so embarassed. I saw that his term started in 2007 and completely misread it.

      I am sorry.

      It does make me doubly sure that tar/feathers are not inappropriate, however. Bring enough for 550ish people!Report