Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Fear, Much Loathing

I'm not the first one to notice this, and I won't be the last, but our country is in desperate need of a paradigm shift in the "political process". Not to pick on Sue Lowden, although she does make a fun target at times, I'll use her HQ "Grand Opening" yesterday only as an example. If I was a Democrat, I could just as easily use Harry Reid, or any other candidate for any other office for that matter. With my experiences in 2008 in mind, where I was an increasingly discouraged rookie volunteer, I came away from Mrs. Lowden's event feeling as if I had just seen Dracula rise from his coffin. The elections approach, the darkness has fallen.

Half way down a dead-end side street, not far from the airport and just off the flight path, is a row of one story offices. A sign in the parking lot says there are 24 hour security cameras, which seems wise since this is prime wine-o territory. Around the corner, unseen from the street, is the headquarters of a major candidate of a major party for one of the highest public offices in the land, in the greatest nation the world has ever known. It's opening day, but there is no band playing, no banners waving, no flags flying, no hot dogs for the kids, no Uncle Sam guy on stilts walking around; not so much as a single balloon or a funny hat to be seen. Could somebody please put a John Phillip Sousa record on the phonograph, or something? I've been in bus stations that were more lively than this. I left early.

Later that evening, I received an email from Mrs. Lowden; that is to say, an email from her campaign. She/It informed me that she/it had raised $800,000 in the last quarter, along with the standard "I need your help now more than ever" plea. How is it that someone who made $800,000 in 3 months is asking for "even $5" from someone who has never seen $800,000 in his life, and likely never will? Does this seem just plain wrong to anyone but me? Doesn't the high dollar amount of the campaign war chests seem odd compared to the cheapness of the events and complete abandonment of personal word of mouth advertising? It's not just the money itself that is offensive, but the lack of seeing it being put to good use.

I'm sure anyone with campaign experience could show me a binder full of statistics that would show why this is necessary. Where are the statistics for how many voters are disappointed with it? There was a time when candidates didn't campaign at all. It was considered unseemly by both candidates and the general public alike. They didn't ask for anyone's money either as any individual in a free society should be self-sufficient. To ask for a handout would be a sign of failure. Both of these perceptions still exist in the general public and are the reasons why so little faith is put in elected officials.

5 comments:

The Anon Guy said...

Given the amount Reid has, I would say $800K isn't really that much money for a U.S. Senate race against a majority leader.

Trust me, as someone who followed the emails of all the presidential candidates in 2007-08, this is just the beginning. Wait until the "politics of outrage" email begs start to hit your in-box ("Reid said something that just might be slightly disparaging about Ben Franklin. Let's show him by sending me a Benjamin today!")

Local So-and-so said...

It's going to be a long year. Are you going to be doing that again? How do you stand it?

Anonymous said...

Lowden is a money candidate, and that is about all she has to offer. I completely appreciate your post, because it is how I feel. I wish we could strip away all this nonsense and simply watch the candidates debate and talk. I am very disenfranchised with the entire process at this point, and this is why I am looking at candidates who AREN'T $ candidates. I think if we're going to challenge Harry Reid, we shouldn't do it on $- we should do it on someone who is appealing, and I don't think that is Lowden. I think it will be two Reids if it is the two of them.
There are candidates that aren't just out begging for cash. Take a look at a few of the others.

The Anon Guy said...

I don't know. It was really a pain after awhile. A lot of those emails weren't easy cut and paste jobs. If I could only automate them. Of course, perhaps the real cost is having to read them all.

Anonymous, unfortunately only the money candidates get heard or media coverage.

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