Friday, October 23, 2009

It's The Fundraising, Stupid.

President Obama has a full schedule over the next few days, and one of the reasons that it is as full as it is is that he is making visits to begging bashes on behalf of such fellow travelers as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Connecticut Senator and banking bagman extraordinaire, Christopher Dodd. This is our political system in a nutshell, regardless of party affiliation, an endless procession of what are euphemistically described as fundraisers.

Politicians would argue, self servingly, that they need to engage in these seemingly endless fundraisers because one needs lots of money to run a campaign. Of course one does, but the political class have, of their own volition, manufactured the endless night that constitutes political campaigns. They could just as easily cut election seasons in half or even by two thirds, (an initiative heartily endorsed here) but they choose not to. After all, given the incredible vapidity of the vast majority of political campaigns, where Republican and Democratic candidates fall all over one another trying distinguish their indistinguishable modes of governance, who needs more than six weeks to two months of a campaign. In short, there is far more fat and gristle than meat in the average campaign, and we should act accordingly.

Alas, the truth is that fundraisers are a gravy train for those who hold elected office, contacts are made, influence is peddled, and in the main, campaign finance laws are such that politicians stand to gain rather than lose as a result of the very system that they have put in place. So, the next time you read that a candidate will be mixing policy and politics, be sure that the mix is heavily weighted towards politics not policy.

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