Politics and protection: Two sides of same coin?

To learn more about the connection of money and politics, check out Open Secrets: www.opensecrets.org/

Protection rackets and politics are the same games on opposite sides of a legal line that provides a distinction without much difference. It’s the open (sesame) secret of politics and government.

The mob took a cut, or cut you out, sometimes permanently; you paid protection or lost more. Politicos and those governing do the same, minus physical violence, before and after elections.

The myth is that businesses and Republicans muscle this quid pro quo arrangement most, but collectivists and Democrats are actually more robust if the Center for Responsive Politics is accurate.

How else could an aging lawmaker turn a lifetime of politics into $25 million for a Senate seat race to represent a state of 2.5 million in the mountain west?

Nevada’s Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, has more than a few friends in business and collectivist quarters (unions and the like)—that’s how.

How else could said Senate majority leader’s son, a Clark County commissioner with no experience as a statewide or federal elected official, keep yelling boo about education?

Rory Reid has the backing of the teachers’ organization, a member of the parent organization nationally that lays out more political money in states than any other—that’s how.

Here are some facts from OpenSecrets.org of the Center for Responsive Politics, many of which feed into the above assertions:

• Ten of the top 15 political donors nationally in the past generation (21 years) gave 90 percent or more of their large contributions to Democrats. The other five leaned toward Democrats or split their donations almost equally.

• In 2008, the National Education Association (NEA, the teachers’ collective or union) was the top federal-and-states’ donor at $56.2 million, of which $53.5 million went into various state races and $2.7 million into federal races.

• Getting back to the federal generational list (1989-2010), the NEA was eighth overall (and that’s not even counting their more massive donations in the states over that period) with 92 percent of $30.4 million going to Democrats.

• AT&T Inc. topped the 1989-2010 donor list at $45 million, splitting 55 percent for Republicans and 44 percent for Democrats. The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union was second at $42.6 million; 98 percent of it went to Democrats.

• Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street darling and Main Street villain, was fifth at $32.2 million but favored Democrats 63 percent to just 36 percent for the GOP.

• Next came the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which at sixth donated $32.1 million—97 percent to Democrats. (In the top 15, by the way, there were nine unions if you count the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers as such collectivized union organizations.)

• The first OpenSecrets.org group listed with strong Republican donations was No. 16, the American Medical Association; it split the $26.4 million given from 1989-2010, with 60 percent going to the GOP and 39 percent to Democrats.

You might think big business executives made individual donations favoring Republicans, and perhaps they did overall, but if Goldman Sachs is any example it just ain’t so: heavy hitter individuals from Goldman in the 1989-2010 period gave more than $4 million to Democrats, just $2 million to Republicans.

Perhaps there’s something to that old saying about having the best government money can buy.

Best, worst, whatever. But don’t tell me the money fix is in for Republicans and not for Democrats. Feel protected?