Dave Gilson

Dave Gilson

Senior editor

Senior editor at Mother Jones. Obsessive generalist, word wrangler, data cruncher, pun maker.

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Dave Gilson is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Read more of his stories, follow him on Twitter, or contact him.

Koch Brothers: It's Only a Flesh Wound!

| Mon Dec. 3, 2012 7:03 AM EST

This has been a very bad year for conservative megadonors. That includes Charles and David Koch, the famously secretive industrialist brothers who pledged a do-or-die effort to unelect President Obama with the help of their wealthy allies and affiliated dark-money groups. So how have they been spinning the disappointing election results to their friends and fellow donors? This (entirely fake) letter imagines one possibility… 

Read more on the Kochs' political activities in 2012 and the real stats cited in the phony letter above.

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John McCain: Stand-Up Guy or Total Jerk?

| Tue Nov. 20, 2012 7:03 AM EST

"You know, I've been called a maverick; someone who marches to the beat of his own drum," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) boasted during his speech at the 2008 Republican convention. But for every instance of McCain bucking party orthodoxy or straddling the partisan divide, there's one of him being an obstinate, angry jerk. (The current example of this being his attempt to turn the Benghazi controversy into a Watergate-sized scandal.) This duality recalls Goofus and Gallant, the twin brothers who have long entertained Highlights for Children readers with their contrasting antics:

Goofus McCain

Gallant McCain

Tells this joke: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." Later befriends Sen. Hillary Clinton and calls her "one of the guys."
Unapologetically calls his Vietnamese captors "gooks"—in 2000. Says that torture is "unworthy and injurious to our country."
Freaks out over the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Says the Swift Boat ads about John Kerry's war record were "dishonest and dishonorable."
Votes against more disclosure for dark-money donors. Bashes Citizens United as "one of the worst decisions" ever.
Praises "spectacular" running mate Sarah Palin's "incredible résumé." Criticizes the "agents of intolerance" in the Christian right.
Says he'd be okay with US troops staying in Iraq for "maybe 100 years." Corrects a supporter who insists Obama is "an Arab."
Goes from backing climate legislation to saying climate science may be "flawed." Criticizes congressional tea partiers for their "bizarro" debt ceiling demands.
Says Susan Rice is "not qualified" to be the next secretary of state due to "not being very bright" and her comments about the Benghazi attacks. Defends Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin from Rep. Michele Bachmann's "specious and degrading attacks."

 

Sheldon Adelson's Lousy Election Bets

| Wed Nov. 7, 2012 2:31 PM EST

Aptyp_koK /ShutterstockAptyp_koK /ShutterstockCasino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, dropped more than $57 million on super-PACs in this election, becoming America's most famous conservative megadonors (besides the Kochs). So what did they get in return for their investment? A look at the groups they funded and the races they tried to influence shows that overall, their return on investment was about 40 percent: Only two out of every five races these super-PACs spent on had the outcome the outside spending group desired. The two biggest Adelson-backed losers were Republican presidental hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, to whose super-PACs the couple gave a total of $40 million. In the congressional races that Adelon-backed super-PACs spent on, the results were decidedly mixed. (A few of those races remain undecided.)

Here's the full tally of those races so far:

Adelson donation Super-PAC Candidate supported/opposed by super-PAC Outcome ROI
$20 million Winning Our Future Pro-Newt Gingrich (R, president) He lost Bad bet
$20 million  Restore Our Future Pro-Mitt Romney (R, president) He lost Bad bet
$5 million  Congressional Leadership Fund Anti-Betty Sue Sutton (D, House, Ohio) She lost Good bet
    Anti-Pete Gallego (D, House, Tx) He won Bad bet
    Anti-Kathleen Hochul (D, House, New York) She lost Good bet
    Anti-Brad Schneider (D, House, Illinois) He won Bad bet
    Anti-Patrick Kreitlow (D, House, Wisconsin) He lost Good bet
    Anti-Shelley Adler (D, House, New Jersey) She lost Good bet
    Anti-Lois Capps (D, House, California) She won Bad bet
    Anti-Leonard Boswell (D, House, Iowa) He lost Good bet
    Anti-John Barrow (D, House, Georgia) He won Bad bet
    Anti-Val Demings (D, House, Florida) He lost Good bet
    Anti-Krysten Sinema (D, House, Arizona) Undecided  
    Anti-Mike McIntyre (D, House, North Carolina) Undecided  
    Anti-Gary McDowell (D, House, Michigan) Undecided  
$5 million YG Action Fund Anti-Larry Kissell (D, House, North Carolina) He lost Good bet
    Anti-John Tierney (D, House, Massachusetts) He won Bad bet
    Anti-William Enyart (D, House, Illinois) He won Bad bet
    Anti-Mark Critz (D, House, Pennsylvania) He lost Good bet
    Anti-Scott Kreadle (R, House, North Carolina) He lost Good bet
    Anti-Lois Frankel (D, House, Florida) She won Bad bet
    Anti-John Barrow (D, House, Georgia) He won Bad bet
    Pro-Richard Hudson (R, House, North Carolina) He won Good bet
    Pro-Adam Kinzinger (R, House, Illinois) He won Good bet
    Anti-Mike McIntyre (D, House, North Carolina) Undecided  
    Pro-Allen West (R, House, Florida) Undecided  
$2 million Freedom PAC Pro-Connie Mack (R, Senate, Florida) He lost Bad bet
    Anti-Patrick Murphy (D, House, Florida) Undecided  
$1.5 million Independence Virginia PAC Pro-George Allen (R, Senate, Virginia) He lost Bad bet
$1 million Ending Spending Action Fund Anti-Barack Obama (D, president) He won Bad bet
    Pro-Mitt Romney (R, president) He lost Bad bet
    Pro-Deb Fischer (R, Senate, Nebraska) She won Good bet
    Anti-Bob Kerrey (D, Senate, Nebraska) He lost Good bet
    Pro-Josh Mandel (R, Senate, Ohio) He lost Bad bet
    Anti-Sherrod Brown (D, Senate, Ohio) He won Bad bet
    Anti-Richard Carmona (D, Senate, Arizona) He lost Good bet
    Pro-Jeff Flake (R, Senate, Arizona) He won Good bet
    Pro-Ted Cruz (R, Senate, Texas) He won Good bet
    Anti-Tim Kaine (D, Senate, Virginia) He won Bad bet
    Anti-Jon Burning (R, Senate, Nebraska) He lost Good bet
    Pro-Connie Mack (R, Senate, Florida) He lost Bad bet
    Pro-George Allen (R, Senate, Virginia) He lost Bad bet
    Pro-Richard Mourdock (R, Senate, Indiana) He lost Bad bet
    Pro-Tommy Thompson (R, Senate, Wisconsin) He lost Bad bet
    Pro-Dean Heller (R, Senate, Nevada) He won Good bet
$1 million Patriot Prosperity PAC Pro-Shmuley Boteach (R, House, New Jersey) He lost Bad bet
    Pro-Joe Kyrillos (R, Senate, New Jersey) He lost Bad bet
$1 million Treasure Coast Jobs Coalition Pro-Allen West (R, House, Florida) Undecided  
$250,000 Conservative Renewal Pro-David Dewhurst (R, Senate, Texas) He lost Bad bet
$250,000 Texas Conservatives Fund Pro-David Dewhurst (R, Senate, Texas) He lost Bad bet
$190,000 Hispanic Leadership Fund Pro-Mitt Romney (R, president) He lost Bad bet
$57.7 million spent total       42% good bets, 58% bad bets

 Sources: Center for Public Integrity, Center for Responsive Politics, Sunlight Foundation

This article has been updated.

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