Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Senior Contributor

Alan Geubert hits the nail on the head again

The official name for the group of 12 U.S. House and Senate members charged with finding "at least" $1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit by Thanksgiving is the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Unofficially, the group usually is called the Super Committee.

Not Super Group; Super Committee. A Super Group would be, say, Fleetwood Mac or U2. The difference is, of course, super apparent.

A Super Committee features policy wonks you've never heard of like Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, and Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio.

Super groups, on the other hand, feature people so famous they require no title and only one name. Like Sting or The Edge, which, frankly, aren't so much names as ideas.

The Super Committee is not without fame. After all, one member, Sen. John Kerry, ran for president in 2004, and another, Rep. James Clyburn, from South Carolina, is the assistant Democratic leader in the House.

Collectively, however, this group of super somethings has an even greater talent than politics. According to, these 12 disciples against debt have raised more than $65.5 million in campaign cash since Jan. 1, 2001.

Remarkable, eh? The group charged with finding the Holy Grail of the nation's fiscal future features a dozen of the most capable, most effective shakers of the political money tree since, well, since the tree was an acorn and today's obscene campaign cash shakedown was still seen for what it is: an obscene campaign cash shakedown.

Leading the pack is Sen. John Kerry. MAPLight, a non-partisan, non-profit research group that tracks money and its influence in politics, explains, however, that $14.1 million of the $15.8 million Kerry gathered in the last 10 years went to his failed White House bid.

Incredibly, the leftover Senate campaign cash -- a fat $1.7 million -- puts him dead last in the race for campaign cash among his fellow debt choppers. The money leaders in the super committee over the last 10 years are also the party and committee leaders who have been on Capitol Hill the entire decade:

* Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate's Finance Committee, $8.3 million.

* James Clyburn, the assistant Dem leader in the House, $5.9 million.

* Dave Camp of Michigan, House Ways and Means Committee, $5.8 million. 

* Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, $5.7 million.

If you're looking to make lemonade from these figures, you could say that if these folks are half as effective in cutting debt as they are in vacuuming up campaign cash the nation may see some green in what promises to a be a pretty-red Christmas.

If you choose to hold the sugar, however, the sour truth is that it's very hard to see how any member of the group will put country before campaign or budget before party because most haven't in the past 10 years.

In fact, according to MAPLight, 2,832 different entities gave cash to these 12 House and Senate super dupers in the last decade. The contributors include anyone with a special interest and the checkbook to pay for it.

(Links to MAPLight documents cited here are posted at

The biggest special interest was "lawyers and law firms" who coughed up $31.5 million since 2001; the second biggest was "securities & investment" firms who sent $11.2 million to Capitol Hill.

Some investment, eh? Very secure and all perfectly legal.

In fact, it's this dirty system that has led to our dirty debt problem: Capitol Hill's vulgar campaign finance system values dollars over ideas, special interests over national interests.

If you want to solve the debt problem, solve the campaign finance problem because, as a rancher friend recently noted, "Until then, you're treatin' an alcoholic for a cocaine problem."

Read more:
4 Replies
bruce MN

Re: Alan Geubert hits the nail on the head again

aInersting. Guebert is OK now, huh? There has never been anybody who would draw more vilification here, other than Paul Krugman, among you conservatives than Alan Guebert.


I don't disagree with a word he says. Seldom if ever do, actually. We won't get much straightened out in this country, much less even improved upon even a little until we clean up campaign financing.


But where were you or any other "conservatives" over the past decade or more when Guebert's views on the path agriculture was taking were brought up? He was just one more socialist then.



















Re: Alan Geubert hits the nail on the head again

Nah I always liked Geubert's columns, don't read him much anymore though.
Senior Contributor

Re: Alan Geubert hits the nail on the head again

I never knew Geubert was not OK with me.     I have read his artciles on and off for several years and find myself agreeing with him more times then not.  I have even posted a couple of his remarks on this site that I found interesting and worth sharing.


I'm also a push over for anyone recommending true campaign financing reform.



Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Alan Geubert hits the nail on the head again

I like his columns maybe to the extent of one out of every three. He tends to be a partisan hack, Bruce, much like you do.


Until you get out of the mindset of good guys and bad guys, there is not much hope for you, I fear.


Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, etc. bad.


Clinton bad because he did a few sensible things, outside of his overactive sex life.


Anyone that would bring us towards a communist state...good. Seems to about sum it up.


Money corrupting policies is bad no matter what side of the aisle references it.