You may recall this letter from Public Campaign’s Nick Nyhart and Common Cause’s Chellie Pingree that appeared in The Hill touting the benefits of Clean Elections in opening the political process to more Americans. Here’s what they said: A democracy should be about all of us and not just those who can afford to write huge checks. […]To submit that the person with the largest pile of thousand-dollar checks is the anointed winner of some back-room “popularity contest” as a good way to elect our officials is irresponsible and just plain wrong. It’s time to make elections about voters, not campaign donors, and Clean Elections is the common-sense solution that will do just that.
Well, it seems Darren McKinney, who wrote to The Hill in response – would prefer we keep the people as far from elections as possible: wealth is the criteria by which we should judge who is allowed to participate in our democracy. The letter, in all its condescending glory is here (third down):
Money in politics better than some people in it
From Darren McKinney
The Jan. 24 letter to the editor from Nick Nyhart and Chellie Pingree (“Full public funding of elections proven to work in states, cities,”), respective presidents of Public Campaign and Common Cause, lament the lack of public financing for all American political campaigns: “A democracy should be about all of us and not just about those who can write huge checks.”
But if Nyhart and Pingree had their way, black helicopter conspiracy theorists off their meds, the dysfunctionally unemployed, irresponsible young men and women who have multiple babies out-of-wedlock, repeat felons and various other burdens to society without means might have as much to say about our nation’s political leadership and direction as folks who soberly get up every morning, lovingly raise their children, productively hold jobs, responsibly pay taxes, and occasionally write checks, huge or otherwise, to the political campaigns of their choosing.
Though poll taxes have rightly been abolished, and every qualified registered voter willing to wait on line should certainly be free to exercise the franchise, there’s a lot to be said — though Hillary “I Won’t Take Matching Funds” Clinton is never likely to say it — for having most of our big political decisions influenced in greater measure by those who have succeeded in life and thus have a better sense of what it’ll take for our nation to succeed in the future.
FWOP FWOP FWOP! Black helicopters?!?
Translation to those of you, um, “burdens to society”: According to Mr. McKinney one’s success in the world (as determined by one’s wealth) trumps any rights of citizenship when it comes to having an influence on our elections, and our public policy. Yup. Paris Hilton, that shining beacon of civic engagement, is more equipped, according to McKinney, than single working mother Deborah Simpson, a civic activist and Clean Elections legislator in Maine , to determine who can run a viable campaign for public office in this country.
Apart from the fact that Mr. McKinney apparently can’t grasp the possibility that responsible citizenry is not synonymous with buckets o’ cash, his palpable fear of the American public taking power away from high-powered campaign donors speaks to the divide that has arisen between the small minority who give big money to campaigns, and the interests of the average American whose voice McKinney would rather not hear.
And who is this McKinney guy anyway? Assuming he’s not flying black helicopters for a living, what does he do? Does he have the guts to come forward and say what he does for a living that allows him to pass such judgment?