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GannettUSA Today

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The political money game

It's little wonder why our political leaders have such a disconnect from the public they represent. Only the rich or those who curry favor with the moneyed class run for office -- and they have little in common with the average American. Yet that trend is likely to escalate as more and more presidential candidates opt to privately fund their campaigns rather than accept the limits that accompany public financing, which The New York Times reported today could toll the death knell to the 1976 law designed to reduce the influence of big donors and to open running for the presidency to more people.

The candidates would get about $150 million in public money for the presidential primaries and general election. But that's not enough for those already in the field, who obviously feel they can raise -- and need to spend -- so much more. Why? A full year before the first primaries, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mitt Romney said they will forgo public financing. John McCain is seeking private donations, too. Barack Obama hasn't said.

We in New Jersey know what that all means: super-rich candidates and unbridled influence of the special interests who pay their way. It's little different on the national scene, with those donors undoubtedly expecting a return on their investment. The candidates have to know that, yet they tell the "little guy'' they're running on their behalf. That's why politics breeds cynicism.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ray said...

We should allow the candidates to personally keep all of the money they get from either private or public coffers as long as they promise not to run for office. In the long run it'll be better for the middle class.

11:24 PM, January 31, 2007  
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