12 March 2007

We the People or We the Lobbyists or We the Professional Politician?

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the people, my ass. This country is being run by self-serving bull shit artists who pimp themselves to every Tom, Dick, and Harry lobby group with some cash to stuff in their g-strings. Most of these politicians fall somewhere between a lawyer and a prostitute - pretty far down the evolutionary ladder.

Every election cycle billions of dollars are spent. For what? Opponents of campaign finance reform declare that their freedom of speech is violated by enforcing spending restrictions. Seems to me candidates get a good amount of free air time on various news and talk shows (how much do you think that bit Obama had on Oprah was worth?). They get to debate other candidates on free air time. They are oft-quoted in any number of newspapers, magazines and internet news sites. The only thing I see the money being spent on are slick PR spin people and attack ads that provide NO knowledge of a candidates ideas or their solutions to problems. And real, substantial, implementable ideas and solutions are what we crave (well, at least I do). Any moron can put together an attack ad or a feel-good ad presenting the candidate as a saint. It still will not tell me how he or she will accomplish anything of substance if we elect them.

How do you get an elected official to willingly cut off the gravy train? McCain-Feingold is an absolute joke. Any meaningful campaign finance reform is watered down to the point of being ineffective. We need serious campaign-finance reform coupled with term limits for our representatives and senators. We need to limit spending on campaigns to only those dollars from the federal government. No option of using matching donations or private donor money – that way no candidate is beholden to a special interest other than the American people as a whole. I would recommend six terms for representatives and two terms for senators. We need to get away from the professional politician mentality that has permeated Congress. The longer they are in Congress, the longer they lose touch with reality.

I would recommend an overhaul of the primary and caucus system. The whole election cycle from the first primary to the November election should be a maximum of 6 months. No campaigning for a November election before January 1 of the same year. The primaries and caucuses would have 4 to 5 months to finish and then 1 to 2 months for the parties' candidates to campaign before the November election. Enough of this ridiculous state maneuvering to become the first state to hold a primary. If a candidate cannot get their message across in 6 months then their message is not very good to begin with. How much does a candidate's message really change over the course of 6 months anyway, let alone two years? Don’t we have access to all their position papers through the internet or their campaign offices?

I suppose I am an idealist when I think how much more we can do to alleviate the suffering of people here and abroad with those billions of dollars being spent by a bunch of blowhards in the name of free speech. I think we are heading down a dangerous road when someone reports that the entry fee for the 2008 presidential race is $100 million. It is a message that should give us pause and it is also NOT a message we should be broadcasting to the world as an example of "democracy".
Photo by KCThinker, Batey 50, La Romana, Dominican Republic

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