On Monday, The Wall Street Journal’s front page announced that President Obama is sponging off taxpayers to pay for round one of his reelection campaign. Is anyone surprised? Probably not, because that’s what Democrats do: live off government largesse and other people’s money. Planes, trains and automobiles paid for by taxpayers or corporate subsidies await their beck and call. Even Republicans in the White House have done it, too, says the Journal. That doesn’t necessarily surprise. Absolute power corrupts. But aren’t you a little surprised that puritanical small-government, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps constitutional bigots like Ron Paul are sopping up the campaign pork too? I’m talking about the TV debates. Pure and simple, they are becoming income-redistributing welfare programs for hypocritical politicians like Paul and Rick Perry.
Think about it! Who is paying for all these debate spectacles? Do you think that it’s really completely free? Think again. When Fox or CNN “sponsors” a debate, who is paying for that set, moderators, other production costs and airtime? Do you think they are “donating” all this? No way. They and a few co-sponsors may claim some tax-deductible charitable write-offs, but they are passing a lot of it along as a “cost of business” to sponsors. And who pays the sponsors’ bills? Consumers like you and me.
I have also uncovered another source of the welfare transfer payments: poor students, their parents and the taxpayers who subsidize higher education. A news report out of Tampa reveals that the University of South Florida Student Government and University Communications and Marketing are paying some of the “incidental costs” for security, cleaning and room rentals for an upcoming January presidential debate. So in the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, student service dollars are going to subsidize Ron Paul’s quixotic quest for the presidency. Rank-and-file students should just say no. Tell the Texans to pay for their own stinking presidential campaigns in Florida. Someone should look into all the so-called sponsorships of all these debates.
If Ron Paul discovered that a corporate entity sponged off a public agency to further its interests at home or abroad, we’d have to listen to a sanctimonious sermon about how wrong it is. Well, walk your talk, Mr. Paul. Stop living off debate welfare to keep your campaign afloat and in the public eye. Pay for your own TV face-time.
David Hill is a pollster that has worked for Republican candidates and causes since 1984.