Fundraising First

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The presidential election is starting to feel a little like the holiday season: it comes earlier each time, costs more, and you really get sick of the commercials. Except when the elections are over, rather than being left with a mountain of holiday debt, you've got a President in debt to wealthy special interests.


The Washington Post looks at the 2008 frontrunners and the resources -- both financial and human -- they are amassing on the way to primary season. Since it looks as though the major contenders from both parties won't be using public financing for either the primary or general elections, no spending limits will be in place and that means an all-out cash war for dominance on the ground, on the internet, and on television.


The third page of the article contains this revealing quote from former '08 hopeful Sen. Evan Bayh (D) who dropped his presidential bill, in part because of the dominance of the fundraising game:


"It's a fundraiser for breakfast, then call time. A fundraiser for lunch, then call time. Then a fundraising reception. And then you can still call the West Coast."


Competition is a good thing for our elections, when, in Clean Elections states like Maine and Arizona, the focus is not on how much money a candidate can raise, but on where they stand when it comes to issues that matter to voters. But the next presidential election is shaping up to be a competition of the almighty dollar, not ideas. And in that kind of competition I'm afraid the majority of Americans lose out.