Past Rant II

“How Much Money Buys Victory?”

So for this weeks rant I needed to do some quick fact-checking. I looked up the amount of money raised by ALL (some have dropped out) the candidates running for President of the United States from roughly January 1st, 2007 through January 31st, 2008. Here it is – US$671,209,003. This number, courtesy of the Federal Election Commission and Center for Responsive Politics, and via CNN’s Election 2008 website is a figure I find quite staggering, and to a large degree disturbing. What this tells me is that if you want to win an election, money will buy you victory. It’s almost like one cannot hope to become President without massive amounts of money.

The other day I saw a news report that showed crumbling schools in a neighborhood filled with drugs, destitute criminals, and all the dangers that give children no fighting chance for success. This neighborhood was in East Cleveland, Ohio, where these candidates are spending a lot of money to secure votes. From what I saw on the TV screen this area of Ohio needs some serious rebuilding. It could use an infusion of money to rebuild schools and create programs so that kids have a constructive alternative to crime.

I know Barack has speaking about change. I know Hillary has been preaching experience that will get the job done on day one. How about this for change – give the hundreds of millions raised to buy negative TV ads and out of context pamphlets to charities that will rebuild schools. If Barack wants to put an end to those same old Washington games, how about getting the PACs (political action committees), SIGs (special interest groups), corporate lobbyists, etc. that flood the campaigns with millions of dollars to give that money to useful charities. How about telling McCain, “You get $85 million and I get $85 million. No loopholes. No exceptions. Nothing. When you finish spending, that’s it. No more money for you.” That’s NOW change.

In the end money is necessary. I fully understand that. Candidates need to pay certain staff, travel, eat, and get dressed, so I understand the importance of contributions and money, but how far does it have to go? Over $600 million raised during this campaign season (recently, Obama and Clinton raised around $30 million plus, each, in one month). How much money over the past year was raised to rebuild crumbling schools in places like East Cleveland, Ohio? I doubt $600 million plus. Over 35 years of change, but what about changing campaign finance? Instead of shaming Barack why not battle the lobbyists to get rid of the money that perverts the system.

Before I give money to a campaign, I will give that money to a much more needy charity. Hillary Clinton will have spent over US$100 million, Barack as well. What will the loser have to show for his/her efforts? If they could raise money like that for rebuilding schools and creating education programs they would have much more to show for it, and there would be no losers… Just winners.

For another look at the money click here.

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