Campaign Reform

It’s been roughly two and a half years of campaigning by hordes of candidates on both sides; we’re now down to two and, with one week before the election, some people are still undecided. What are they going to do on election day, play pin the tail on the chad?

There have been millions upon millions of dollars wasted on the campaign as candidates fell by the wayside and millions more spent by the two who survived. I can’t help but wonder what better use all that money could have gone to. Funding healthcare? Fixing up dilapidated roads and bridges? Cleaning up the classrooms and buying new books for students? Funding alternative energy?

Those are just a few of the many things that need fixing in this country. But, for some reason we would rather use all that money to have a bunch of candidates traipse around the country making promises they most likely cannot keep to people too stupid to realize it.

Do we really need to see a candidate in person in order to make a decision about voting for him or her? Do we need to watch as they bumble their way through small towns eating at diners and attending fairs? I think not.

I read news magazines and newspapers; I watched TV news reports and analysis; I’ve lived life and know what’s troubling our society and I’m able to make a decision. I’d like to think that the candidates too are pretty savvy about what people are thinking without all that hoofing around.

But maybe that’s just me.

I do think, however, that knowing about the astronomical amounts of money spent on this campaign, it’s time for campaign reform and I have a few ideas about that.

New Law: A campaign may only run for a total of six months prior to any election. Any candidate found campaigning in any form for longer than that shall be fined exorbitant amounts of money and prevented from running for election.

New Law: No campaign money may be sent to individual candidates, only to the political parties that they represent. No candidate will be allowed to know who the donators are; that way special interest pandering will be prevented. The political parties then dole out the money equally. That will make both the people planning to run for election and the political parties responsible for their money management.

New Law: Any candidate with a high net worth (to be determined) shall not be eligible to accept party money and he/she may never be allowed to spend more than the other candidates who do receive party money.

New Law: The television networks shall, as public service announcements, be forced to provide free and equal time (to be determined) to all candidates for their commercials.

New Law: There shall be ongoing broadcast debates with hard-hitting questions by moderators throughout the campaign and that’s how we will truly get to know the candidates.

There was an option for the candidates to pledge to use only a limited amount of public money but it was just that – optional – and the parameters weren’t well set. Obama opted out and ended up spending a fortune. In this case, good for him; I hope he wins. But for the future, I hope someone wises up to the patent unfairness of the system. What we’ve learned is that you have to be rich to play in the game and if you’re not personally wealthy you have to be able to connect on a grand scale with those who are. Why not level the playing field? Let brains, competence and good ideas win over financial brawn. In the 2008 Presidential election we are, in my opinion, lucky enough that the man who just might win, has shown that he has it all. originally filed Oct. 29, 2008

Unbelievable (or maybe not) – it’s 2012 and this article still holds up with respect to everything previously written as far back as 2008.  Our government will never change.  The stupid status quo will always be alive in D.C.

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