Thursday, December 07, 2006

Only The Rich Need Apply

It’s one thing for pundits to say such things - but it is an entirely different thing when it becomes an official declaration from the highest election official in the land. Instead of using his platform to, say, talk about the need to publicly finance elections so that the system could be accessible to more candidates, the chairman of the FEC is telling the media that no one other than those who can raise $100 million should even consider trying.

Again, I realize that he’s not necessarily inaccurate - presidential candidates need a lot of money. But the top government official overseeing our elections should not be issuing declarations that the candidates should only be “taken seriously” if they can raise the amount of cash reserved for the very few who know how to shakedown Big Money. Why? First, the top election official has no business making an official declaration that America should not “take seriously” non-Establishment candidates who may be very legitimate candidates, but may not be able to reach his totally arbitrary and absurd threshold.

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, he has no business making an official delcaration that the government’s view is that the number one qualification to be “taken seriously” for the highest office in the land is an ability to shake down Big Money interests for cash. It’s not someone’s public service, commitment to the country, or anything else - it’s just being able to get enough rich people to give you $100 million. That may ultimately be true, but it shouldn’t be a matter of government policy or even official government opinion.

I doubt this country will have "true" representation of the people until we do away with this "million dollar" attitude about candidates. I hope that this new congress will make some progress with campaign finance reform.

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