The Mouse's Power: Popularity or Cash?
By Garett Jones
Alex notes that once again, the Mouse appears to have won a copyright battle (he won a big one back in 1998).
So, is this evidence that most political outcomes are driven by cash? Is this evidence that, contrary to my claims, money drives most of U.S. politics?
Hardly. Disney is one of the most widely respected brands in the world, ranked around Gillette and Toyota. And the House GOP is, how shall I say it, somewhat less respected.
When the Republican Study Committee briefly took on copyright reform, they took on some powerful organizations–but much, and I’d say most, of that power came from popularity. After months of claims that Republicans were trying to kill Big Bird, did they want to face a wave of ads claiming that they were trying to kill the Mouse as well?
As every high school quarterback knows, it’s great to be popular. And one of the benefits of being popular is that people will get mad at whoever you’re mad at.
It’s not that I don’t think money matters–I think Ike’s military-industrial complex speech should be required reading in high school–but voters almost always matter more. I think the Mouse (allegedly) won for the same reason farmers get subsidies: Farmers and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s relative are both incredibly popular, so voters give them a blank check, rarely worrying about how it is spent.
Voter: “Somebody’s trying to hurt hardworking farmers? That’s just wrong.”
Music to a lobbyist’s ears.