As this piece makes very clear, all the leading would-be presidential
candidates–Democratic and Republican–have long since been
(as it were) privatized by just a handful of gigantic donors.
What to do about it? Certainly such presidential bids should all be publicly
financed; but since the US Congress is a moral shambles, with both parties
thoroughly hooked on the Big Money, that will not be happening soon.
In the meantime, here’s an idea that might fly (with the public):
How about a radical abridgement of the campaign season? Now that
everybody’s had it up to here with the ’08 campaign–which still has
a whole year to go–maybe We the People should demand a campaign
season lasting, say, TWO MONTHS from start to finish. (This would
seem to be an excellent idea, although, of course, it’s not a new one.)
Also, let us try to make it clear, at long last, to our fellow citizens that
nearly all that cash now being pissed away by hopeful politicians goes
to the corporate media. It’s the TV and radio stations that receive it–
which is why the US media does not report on this grave problem.
To coin a phrase: It’s the station groups, stupid. That means Sinclair,
News Corporation, GE, CBS, Disney and their antidemocratic peers.
What’s Wrong with Presidential Campaign Financing
Posted November 15, 2007 | 04:18 PM (EST)
Three very disturbing patterns emerge from an analysis
of the 2008 presidential campaign. The first is that
none of the leading candidates for their party’s
nominations will be publicly funded. Second is that both
Republican and Democratic candidates depend on large
private contributions, not small donors. And third, the
financial sector of the United States business community
provides a disproportionate share of campaign funding.
There is an easy explanation for the first – Congress
has underfunded the presidential system. Hillary
Clinton, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani are
raising and spending far more money than would be the
case if they participated in the public funding system.
The FEC website does indicates that if primary elections
had been held in 2007 each candidate would have been
limited to about $41 million. That figure will be
adjusted upward in 2008, but the order of magnitude will
be about the same.
The leading candidates have already exceeded those
spending limits. Clinton ($91 million) and Obama ($80
million) have dwarfed them. And though the Republicans
have not been able to raise as much, both Romney ($63
million) and Giuliani ($47 million) have also exceeded
the amount they would have received from the public