That’s what Mitt Romney said to the donors gathered at a Florida fundraiser, who had paid $50,000 each to attend. He told them “that’s by far the most important thing you can do,” because in his words, “advertising makes a difference.”
In the secret videos of the fundraiser released by Mother Jones on Monday, when he wasn’t speaking negatively about 47 percent of America’s population, Mitt Romney also made clear what he thinks he needs to win the election: lots and lots of cash.
While he complained about the millions that Obama’s campaign is also raising, Romney neglected to mention the unlimited donations that nominally “independent” super PACs and political nonprofits are raking in from special interests to support his candidacy.
This all adds to the troubling body of statements that Mitt Romney has made on money in politics during this election. Rather than supporting needed reforms to empower small donors and support a democracy of, by, and for the people, Romney’s proposed policies would only worsen the domination of politics by a wealthy elite.
Romney has gone on the record proposing that donation limits be abolished such that candidate campaigns could take in donations of unlimited size—like Sheldon Adelson’s $10 million contributions—which would be able to go directly to Romney’s campaign rather than to allied super PACs.
Romney stated: “My own view is now we tried a lot of efforts to try and restrict what can be given to campaigns, we’d be a lot wiser to say you can give what you’d like to a campaign.”
Moreover, Romney continues to refuse to release the names of his biggest sources of campaign cash, the bundlers doing “the most important thing” for Romney by bringing in millions of dollars in contributions from their friends and associates. This breaks a norm that has been followed by Republican presidential candidates George W. Bush and John McCain, in addition to his opponent, Barack Obama. By bucking this trend, Romney is keeping the American people in the dark about who exactly is funding his campaign.
From the video, it’s clear that Romney knows that big money advertising “makes a difference” in winning elections, and the video also shows the special access and influence enjoyed by the rich and by moneyed special interests. But instead of supporting policies to raise the voices of average Americans being drowned out in today’s political system, Romney’s words and actions show him supporting putting even more power in the hands of a wealthy few.
If Romney wants to be president of the entire country, and not just the sliver of the wealthiest one-percent funding his campaign, he must show how he intends to empower average Americans to be full owners of the political process.