Super-O-Rama

So today we learn from Politico‘s Ken Vogel that the people behind the three biggest pro-Democratic Super-PACs (the Senate-focused Majority PAC, the House Majority PAC, and the presidentially-oriented Priorities USA Action) are planning a gigantic, coordinated blowout fundraising effort at the Democratic National Convention. In a collective lapse of imagination, they are calling it “Super-O-Rama.”

Gotta say, folks, this news bears the aroma of desperation, or at least procrastination. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS has just committed to buying $25 million in ads during the next month, matching the Obama campaign’s ad blitz. Not to be intimidated, Democratic Super-PACs are talking about raising some serious jack in September. In case it’s slipped anyone’s mind, the election is in November, and I suspect an awful lot of ad time will be off the table by September.

Timing aside, I can see the logic of using the convention for a fundraising blitz. The event offers a unique concentration of political and non-political celebrity talent–sort of like the anterooms off the House and Senate floors, only with some of the lobbyists replaced by media stars. I mean, where else can you get half the Senate Democratic Caucus to take turns rattling the cup with five or six Oscar-winners?

But the bad news is that the Super-PACs will be competing for the attention of big money people with an awful lot of other events. Virtually every organization even vaguely connected to Democratic politics will throw parties and/or briefings; most convention attendees spend half their time attending these events and the other half wrangling invites and gossiping about it all (or so I’ve heard–I typically work 18-hour days at the convention, trapped in a speech rehearsal room or in some rabbit-warren of a script-writing cubicle, hoping against hope that I can swipe lunch off some politician’s food cart). The very features of a convention that make it an ideal place for money and star-power to come together also make it a logistical nightmare.

But hey, I guess it’s good the money-hustlers have some idea of how they will get within shouting distance of conservative money this year. Obviously Democrats will be less dependent on Super-PACs than the GOP, having an incumbent president and also a much stronger small-donor base, not to mention superior ground resources. But it would be helpful to ensure that Democratic Super-PACs aren’t in a position of “competing” with Rove and company by dominating the critical 2:00-3:00 a.m. time slot.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.