Diary

No PA "street money?"

AS I’ve noted before, it’s fun when the principled choice for your political opponent is also the one that’s most favorable to your side. Virtue and anticipation: a heady brew. Via Glenn Reynolds:

How will no ‘street money’ play today?

For the first time in any Pennsylvania general election, “street money” – the cash apparatus used mainly by the Democratic Party to reward its supporters on Election Day – is in danger of extinction.

“It’s a problem and a concern,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who distributed nearly $500,000 in his 2002 primary battle against fellow Democrat Bob Casey Jr., who lost that race but won a 2006 campaign for the U.S. Senate.

The Democratic Party in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are two of the last party machines that expect cash from candidates for city council races on up to the presidency. Mind you, “street money” per se isn’t illegal – my concerns about it are due to the way that it can be easily misused – and PA Democrats are all being publicly confident that they’ll be delivering the Commonwealth to Obama. There’s still this to consider, though:

[Allegheny County Democratic chairman Jim] Burn contends that local party activists rather than outside volunteers should be involved – and rewarded by the Obama campaign – because no one knows the city’s streets and neighborhoods better than committee members and those they get out to vote.

“It is all a matter of knowing terrain,” he said.

“People are ‘parachuting’ in here to get out the vote,” he said. “They don’t know if they are landing in a mine field or a wheat field, and we do.

I actually know – and am friends with – an Obama supporter going into PA to work with GOTV. Up until this moment, I assumed that she was working a part of the Commonwealth where the GOP’s efforts needed to be countered. But if the Obama campaign is really pushing aside the existing urban party networks to do the job themselves (Pittsburgh is in Allegheny County), then I regret to say that her efforts today might be, ah, suboptimal.

That’s a personal regret. The partisan hack part of me isn’t regretful in the slightest.