Bush's acumen and system in raising money have been truly extraordinary. As governor and then president, Bush took campaign fund-raising to new extremes (to Heaven or to Hades, depending upon one's perspective). He sought not only to fuel his own campaigns but also to advance two portentous conservative causes: strengthening ideological discipline within the Republican ranks and drawing lifeblood funds away from Democrats. His fund-raising efforts continued the cunning strategy started by the Gingrich-DeLay leadership of the House of Representatives in the early 1990s.
Gingrich and DeLay had developed an approach, carefully kept as far from public notice as possible, that handed them the reins—and the whip—to keep Republican members of Congress under their thumb. It worked especially well with the newly elected candidates who arrived in 1994 and the elections afterwards, who arrived in Washington typically without a great deal of prior political capital and, hence, were initially “grateful” for the campaign money help. Later, the more alert among them came to understand just how deeply they had gone into thralldom to the conservative interests from whom Gingrich and DeLay had raised the money they had taken. This was the real “Contract with America, ” by which the new Republicans had signed away their freedom—not the public relations campaign but the real political contract they had signed in blood with the agents of the powerful far-right distributors of campaign