Monday, September 23, 2002

The Federally Funded Campaign

There are people out there who support publicly funded campaigns. "They'll take the government away from special interests," they say. I disagree. There would, first, have to be some way for us to choose those who are eligible to receive government funds -- say, by petition or other means -- and that would be the new election before the election. PACs, organizations and individuals would begin pouring money into campaigns to get the right number of names on a sheet of paper, leading to just as much being owed to these groups as before.

What doesn't get mentioned often is that, if you've got a man in the White House, your local campaign for the house or senate already gets plenty of federal funding when we, the taxpayers, pay for the president to wing on over to your state. And, frankly, we've never paid as much as we are now that W's in the White House.

Sure, Clinton was (and is and ever shall be) a political animal and Republicans chastised him constantly for the "Permanent Campaign," his drive to always keep his eyes on the electoral prize. I said then (though I wasn't blogging) that, if they really wanted to prevent this kind of treatment, they shouldn't allow the president to charge off his campaigning to the people of the U.S. by making a short policy speech before running off to fill the coffers of whatever local Democrat he wanted to support.

Now, though, I would be surprised if any Republicans would have the audacity to bring up Clinton's campaigning again (or, at least, to complain about it with a straight face). Bush has broken all of Clinton's money-raising records and continues to rack up the political junkets every week. Do you have any idea how much this costs American taxpayers? How much it costs us to pay for the pilots who fly Air Force One, the fuel of that plane, the security for motorcades, etc.? Neither do I. I think we should, though, and we should bill whichever party's in office for the percentage of the trip that could be deemed solely political.


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