The Philadelphia Inquirer isn't willing to let presidential public financing go down without a fight, imploring the 2008 contenders to opt into the system for the general election to put the skids on the anticipated $1 billion election pricetag -- and the parade of articles that treat money as the proxy for viability in the race.
These jaw-dropping totals have generated a twisted excitement about the race, as if the people leading the money chase are somehow "winning." By the time Election Day finally dawns, the winning nominees may have spent a combined $1 billion.
Soliciting that kind of money leaves the candidates with time for little else. And it increases the chances of a candidate's becoming beholden to the well-connected "bundlers" who arrange multimillion-dollar fund-raising parties for them.
Appropriately on the last day to file your tax returns, the editorial reminds voters to check the box to designate money for the public financing fund; something less and less of us are doing which sets up a strange little trap:
Dear taxpayers, we know you don't like politicians much. You think they're too prone to corruption. But failing to check that box on your tax return is a perverse way of showing your displeasure. All it does is thrust more candidates into the very fund-raising frenzies that promote and perpetuate corruption.
Did you check the box?