Changing horses in midstream – good idea or bad idea?

During the presidential campaign of 1944, Jim Moran set out to disprove the political adage which cautions against “changing horses in mid-stream.” Moran is shown doing just that in the middle of the shallow and narrow Truckee River near Reno, Nevada. Moran chose Reno for his experiment because, as he put it, “Isn’t Reno where people go to change horses anyway?” Scanpix

Breaking news, Sheldon Adelson has rethought his support of Gingrich for the presidency and now plans to switch his support to Romney.  What? Yep, Sheldon is switching – he is after all a gambler and he does want his money on the winning horse.  There Mr. Adelson was mid-stream riding that Newt horse when realized that the horse would not make it across the stream, nor make it to the finish line.  So quickly, like a circus acrobat, Sheldon is jumping to another horse.  He is sure that this one will get him across the stream and onto the lawn of the White House.  Now, mind you, this is my metaphor, not Adelson’s.  He must know know the old adage warning the traveler, not to change mounts in mid-stream.  It comes from an 1864 speech by Abraham Lincoln, in reply to Delegation from the National Union League who were urging him to be their presidential candidate. “An old Dutch farmer remarked to a companion once that it was best not to swap horses when crossing streams.”  Sheldon must be using another metaphor to characterize his change of heart, change of mind and more importantly change of purse, but I doubt he will share it with us.   But the bottom line is the same, sorry Newt, no more money for you.

Across the bay, there is another bit of mid-stream horse switching going on.  The Democratic Party is moving into action with super political action committees now on steroids with the president’s blessings.  Peter Stone of the Center for Public Integrity is reporting that five – count them one, two, three, four and five – are out soliciting big donors.  The PACs want those special people who really care about politics and just happen to have a million, or better yet ten million extra dollars lying around waiting for the right opportunity to put that money to work.  The five are in negotiations trying to form a joint committee to work together to find those donors.  Former White House press secretary Bill Burton will be heading up the efforts.  Is that like Adelson hiring someone who works for the prime minister? – just asking. One mega-committee, or one mega-super PAC is better than five, smaller and more scattered ones.  It confuses donors when five people call and ask for money for the same cause; besides they might over promise as they bid against each other.  They do have to promise something, don’t they, when they ask for more that a million dollars?

No one has ever asked me for that much money, but they have asked me for money.  A few years ago, I got a letter telling me that I had been selected as chairman of my county’s Presidential Business Advisory Council – and just $500 would secure my appointment and a press release to the local newspaper.  But it was not just fluff, I could actually meet the president, no one suggested he would ask my opinion on anything, but I could meet him.  Just send in my check for $1000 (after the one for $500) and I would receive an invitation to a dinner in our nation’s capital.  Alright, for one thousand dollars I would not actually meet the president, but I would be in the same room  However, for just $10,000 I could shake his hand.  Well, you can see the progression; I ask again, just what does $10,000,000 buy you?  Because, you know, I am thinking of changing horse right here in the middle of the stream.



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February 2012
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