It is the worst year for Congressional Democrats since 1994. Right now we are all just wondering if they'll be able to retain a majority in either house. You know who isn't worried? Nancy Pelosi. She has all the money.
This, of course, is one of the problems: Democrats are a lot better a fundraising than they are at governing. But isn't it nice that they can be good at something?
And the stark difference in the parties' respective fundraising performances starts at the top, where Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) last year collected a respectable $13.7 million kitty to spread to his colleagues - a sum that nevertheless pales in comparison with the $21.3 million that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had hauled in for her party overall as of late January, according to a Democratic fundraising tally obtained by Roll Call.
Pelosi continues to set the pace for her Caucus. The tally shows that as of Jan. 21, she had brought in more than $17 million of her $25 million goal for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee coffers. Pelosi has raised an additional $3.4 million for candidates in the "Frontline" and "Red to Blue" programs and forked over $850,000 to the DCCC in dues, $50,000 more than she owes. The Frontline program bankrolls the Caucus' most vulnerable members, while Red to Blue aids Democratic candidates seeking Republican-held seats.
The California Democrat owes her ascent on the leadership ladder in large measure to her fundraising prowess, so her total, while enormous, is not surprising. At around the same time in the last cycle - early February 2008 - she had rounded up a similar sum of $22.4 million.
The performance has helped give the DCCC a wide edge over the National Republican Congressional Committee heading into the election year. The Democratic committee closed the year with $16.7 million in cash on hand, more than six times the $2.7 million that Republicans had banked. Democrats are still carrying $2 million in debt, however, while the GOP has paid off its debt in full.
We will say it again: Pelosi is one hell of a Speaker. Her control of the purse strings is just about the only form of party discipline the Democrats practice. And look at how many important bill she passed last year, for the Senate to throw tantrums about!
But, you know, the Democrats may have raised a lot of old-fashioned money from "people" and stuff, but don't count out the Republicans just yet. Cause as Marc Ambinder reported on Monday:
For the first time in recent history, the lobbying, grassroots and advertising budget of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has surpassed the spending of BOTH the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee.
Their money bought them the death of cap and trade, and they probably killed health care too. And they're only gonna spend more this year. Hooray for Democracy!