presidential race

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Primary Pressure

There's nothing like a frenzied campaign schedule to get candidates talking about the wisdom of public financing. This article in The Washington Post focuses on how the early primary in California is putting the Democratic presidential field into overdrive, and wraps with Hillary Clinton promising to put her weight behind public financing of elections if she lands in the White House.

 

Tough Spot

Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged he wouldn't take money from federal lobbyists in his bid for the White House, a promise that puts him in a tough spot: just who qualifies as a lobbyist, and what qualifies as lobbyist money? Moreover, with the fundraising wars just beginning, how do you mount a serious campaign for the Presidency while promising to change the system?

 

Quacks Like a Duck

If he looks like a lobbyist, and talks like a lobbyist, and acts like a lobbyist, but doesn't call himself a lobbyist on campaign finance disclosure reports...then presidential candidates can take his money without having to look like they're taking lobbyist cash, right? The Hill exposes the K Street equivalent of your mother writing "from Santa" on your Christmas presents.

Only You Can Stop Fundraising Fires

The Philadelphia Inquirer isn't willing to let presidential public financing go down without a fight, imploring the 2008 contenders to opt into the system for the general election to put the skids on the anticipated $1 billion election pricetag -- and the parade of articles that treat money as the proxy for viability in the race.

 

Small Donor Distortion

This article, from David Weigel at Reason Magazine, claims the rise of the small-dollar donor eliminates the need for public financing. He trots out the beaten horse of Howard Dean's presidential campaign as proof that the internet provides an effective counterbalance to any iniquity inherent to privately financed elections. While the internet is a valuable tool for enhancing participation in politics, Weigel is kidding himself if he thinks it has corrected the imbalance big-money fundraising creates.

 

Has To Be Done

The Baltimore Sun and the Raleigh News and Observer are both quick to move past marveling over the latest fundraising numbers from the presidential campaigns straight to the conclusion that action is needed to publicly finance campaigns at the presidential and congressional level before things get any further out of hand.

 

The Man With the Golden Funds

For shear number of alarming quotes, it'd be hard to beat this New York Times article on presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's fundraising operation. Romney is looking to leverage the deep pockets of a few major contributors into the office on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

 

Roundly Rebuked

The first quarter campaign finance disclosures from the Presidential field draws a trio of critical editorials on the subject of the "wealth primary" from The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and the The New York Times.

The Choice

This New York Times article focuses on how Presidential candidate Barack Obama built his fundraising apparatus from zero, and makes an interesting diversion to note Obama's reluctance at having to play the high-dollar fundraising game. A supporter of public financing at the federal level, Obama is concerned by the propensity of fundraising concerns to warp the scope and focus of the campaign.

 

Here's what he has to say:

 

A Perfect Storm

What do you get when you cross a highly competitive slate of Congressional races with a Presidential race? A wooley jumper! Sorry...wrong joke: actually you get a campaign fundraising season sure to dwarf its predecessors in terms of sheer dollars raised and overall number of wealthy donors squeezed dry by a parade of candidates and their fundraising invitations.