McCain’s Oil Money
The latest campaign kerfuffle is the shocking fact that John McCain is receiving significant donations from the oil industry. A new Obama ad says the amount is $2.1 million; FactCheck.org says it’s a mere $1.33 million. Either way, it’s about triple what the industry is giving to Obama.
More damning, critics say, is that there has been an uptick in oil money flowing to McCain’s coffers since he started pushing for offshore drilling, a position he previously opposed. Aha! Many on the Left seem to think this is a big winner.
The problem with this analysis, however, is that it occurs in a vaccum. Republicans always get more money from Big Oil than Democrats, just as Democrats always get more from unions and trial lawyers than Republicans. Is it really all that shocking that industry groups donate to the candidates and parties that are most likely to advance their interests while in office?
As to McCain’s supposed flip-flop on this issue, it’s rather easy to explain by reasons other than the lure of Big Oil dollars. First, the situation “on the ground” has changed radically. Gas prices have skyrocketed, changing dramatically the cost-benefit analysis of drilling. Second, the politics have changed for the same reasons. Hell, even Obama is now coming out for (limited) off-shore drilling.
I don’t worry about industries and interest groups donating to advance their candidates. I do, however, have some concerns when I see industries giving almost equally to both sides. One suspects, though, that much of that is a function of the limitation of large category lists like these. Perhaps, for example, doctors donate to Republicans and nurses and orderlies donate to Democrats.