Monday, April 02, 2007

Money, money, money....

Political oddsmakers are placing their bets on the 08 nominations, looking carefully at who's winning the campaign funding race. Hillary is the hands down winner on that score, reporting $26 million in just first quarter earnings, but all the major candidates are holding their own. Even John Edwards, who I consider to be a long shot candidate, has a tidy $14 million in the bank.

But I look at these numbers and I don't see the winners, I see the big loser -- the American people. The system has gone terribly wrong when the only way to win is to amass huge sums of money. Before it's over, the candidates will have spent hundreds of millions to play the game but the people will cheated out of the opportunity to choose their president based on position and platforms and will once again be limited to the lesser of two evils.

Let's face it, no candidate who has to raise that kind of cash is going to be coming into office without owing some big favors to deep pocket contributors. This is how our government came to be sold to corporate interests over the common good. When lobbyists outnumber politicians inside the beltway, it seems unlikely that legislation will ever be passed that puts the people ahead of the money.

I'm a recent convert to the idea of public financing for elections but I don't see any other way to wrest control of the process from the special interests that currently, for all effective purposes, own our presidents and all our legislators. If we took the money out of the process, then the people's voice would carry some weight again and politicians would be forced to run on substantive positions instead of pretty sound bites and our country would be the better for it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. It is criminal the way our government has sold itself to the highest bidder and that is on both sides of the aisle. Public financing would be a step in the right direction but it is not enough. Americans have to demand an end to negative campaigning and further demand that candidates clearly outline their positions on issues.
Instead, we hear this should be done and that should be done but never, I will try to do this or I will work for that.
Here in Singapore, candidates receive no funding, can only campaign in the 2 weeks prior to an election, cannot use radio or TV and must meet face to face with the voters. They can use their blogs and websites. I'm not saying that can work in a country as big as the US but then again, the system there is so far gone that I truly believe there is no hope for meaningful representation to ever again exist.
If Hillary's 26 million gets her elected, then Americans deserve what they get.

3:31:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

That's interesting Brian because I'm thinking that exactly such a system is what we need here but not so severely limited. But I think limiting the media ads to the last six weeks might work in a lot of ways.

10:14:00 AM  

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