Picking Pockets

I remember receiving an unsolicited letter offering me a chance to become a “Bush Ranger”. The letter gushed at all the benefits that would come later including chances to meet with the hopeful Presidential candidate. My potential “ranger” status came with a price, a six figure donations with the first figure “3” or higher. Hmmm.

I viewed this solicitation as over the top, not to mention discriminatory. Who could support such large donations and were these donors likely to have the average person in mind? I had no trouble saying “no thanks” to my ranger offer.

Fast forward to 2014. Now I receive daily upwards of a dozen email campaign donation requests. These requests do not come from the GOP but instead come from national and State Democratic candidates. These requests start low, $3 or maybe $5 will do, although each request has an option to give more.

Interestingly, the messages all vary around a certain style. “Look what Speaker Boehner has said or done.” Or, “House Republicans want to impeach President Obama”. They are direct from literary school of religious donation requests which prey upon the elderly. “If you don’t give now, this poor child will go hungry”.

The DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) is shamelessly using mailing lists compiled using voting patterns and previous donation history and beating the same drum as often as it can. The DCCC apparently sells its list to any other Democratic hopeful (who can afford it) and the emails keep coming.

This unseemly effort to bilk the public is probably no different than the ranger offer. If one side gains a donation advantage, there is little left for the other side to do than innovate and collect more money. Thanks to the Supreme Court, really wealthy donors can give to PACs which in turn enjoy “free speech” and can pretty much say what they want, true or not.

Stop the train! Where is this madness going?

Like the old team building exercise called “war”, how does one disarm this process which requires continually building larger and larger campaign war chests?

The business of running campaigns is huge. Full time careers await those who can be strategists, speech writers, organizers, and communication experts. And maybe the choicest job awaits the clever person who can create the most effective method of generating campaign donations.

All of this has virtually nothing to do with good governance. There is also no evidence that the quality of elected public servant today is any brighter, any more interested in the public’s well being, or any more honest than what was produced by “machine politicians”.

It is relatively easy to understand why the news media (radio, print, and television) do not rise up and decry this wasteful spending. Most think tanks decry the money spent by those who express opposing views.

In the game of war, opponents must build trust so that each side disarms equally. The most effective way to build that trust is to begin with a common shared goal. Unfortunately, in today’s world, our elected officials seem to be able to cooperate only when there is a crisis.

What does a crisis look like if you are a conservative and believe a progressive is unfit to govern?

I wonder whether both sides could agree to a “black out” period of say six months. Within this period, campaigns would be limited to a finite amount of money (for example 20% of what was spent in 2012) which they could get from any domestic source they chose. Before the black out period, “issues groups” could spend what ever they wished thereby expressing their free speech freedoms. Considering a total of $6 billion was spent upon the 2012 presidential and congressional election, there’s would still be a lot of money to spend.

Thinking of the $6 billion, did you get your money’s worth?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, George Bush, Politics, Republican Party

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2 Comments on “Picking Pockets”

  1. List of X Says:

    That actually happened in some elections: I believe in Massachusetts 2012 Senate election, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown agreed to limit the third party spending.


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