The Money Has It

I am growing increasingly concerned about the influence of money in politics.  Of course people with money should be allowed to exercise their opinions, but so too should folks who have little.  About a week ago, I found a historic first, an issue where Attorney General Cuccinelli and I disagree.  Although I strongly supported the idea of a convention to select the Republican nominee for Senate in 2012 like Ken Cuccinelli did, I didn’t believe that we should increase filing costs for candidates.  Even worse though was the suggestion to hike the fees for delegates to these conventions.  If someone displays enough energy and effort to come to Richmond to cast his or her ballot for a nominee, I don’t think he or she should be forced to shell out large sums of money to do so.

Another thing that bugs me is constant requests for money, as if I am merely an unthinking set of empty eyes attached to a wallet.  Over the weekend, I received a letter from the Lieutenant Governor.  Now I’ll confess that I enjoy the nostalgic touch of a letter and so I always look forward to the mail.  When I opened the piece, I was disheartened to find that it was merely another generic political letter asking for money so I can join the “Bolling Brigade”.  Are you kidding me?!  Plenty of people are out of work these days.  The last thing the unemployed can afford to do is join the Bolling Brigade.  Now don’t think I’m singling out Bill Bolling here.  After all, I do support both Cuccinelli and Bolling.  Many politicians and organizations have been scrounging for funds these days.  What they should realize is the simple fact that when it comes to a choice between eating and donating money to a politician, there is really no choice at all.

So let me ask you a couple of questions:  Just because I don’t give away my money, does that mean my volunteer time is useless?  Is my opinion somehow less valuable or less important than someone who is willing and able to cut a fat check?  What with the recent high priced Advance and barrage of form fundraising letters, I’m beginning to think that the rich are trying to exclude the rest of us from the political world.  I’m starting to wonder if politicians leer at us greedily, judging us merely based on the bulge in our back pocket?  Hey buddy, my eyes are up here!  I’m more than just my cash, check, or credit card!

9 Replies to “The Money Has It”

  1. Nice piece, Joshua.

    I strongly believe that 90 percent of what is wrong with American politics could be solved with real, meaningful, comprehensive campaign finance reform.

    Unfortunately, the two major parties value money over all else, and I don’t believe that will change without campaign finance reform.

    And on this, at least, you and I agree: increasing filing fees for candidates is a move in the completely wrong direction.

    1. As for filing fees, we certainly do agree. The rich should be able to participate, but so too should the poor. Although one campaign, candidate, or group may have an advantage in money due to either superior fundraising or personal wealth, that doesn’t mean that they are the only voice that should be heard.

  2. I’m not sure if you’re finally becoming a socialist or you’re just a naive, Pollyanna. Of course money is what they’re after. I hope you’re next entry isn’t about wrestling being fake! yes of course money is involved and that’s the nature of the beast. However, better to let it be out in the open in the free market of ideas than regulated by the government. Campaign finance reform will never work. It’s like the boy putting his finger in the dyke to block the hole and another leak springs out. The only true way to take money out would be complete government of financing of campaigns which is not only unconstitutional but a completely bad idea. We may all dislike that monstrous amounts of money are spent, but it is better than the alternatives. We may long for the Lincoln-Douglas debates, but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. If society we’re perfect, we’d have no need of money or politics, but society isn’t perfect.

    1. In regard to your comment Constantine, yes money is important to political campaigns. Donations should be considered free speech (although I do believe it is important to know from where the money comes due to potential corruption issues). I’m just saying that those people who cannot afford to donate money shouldn’t be tossed aside in favor of the rich. Money helps win elections, but so does manpower. Although it is difficult to gauge the exact value of time, should a volunteer who gives five hours be forgotten while a $25 donor be praised? Money is important, but it is not the only political currency. Has politics become merely a plutocracy?

  3. This sentiment is one of the reasons I was so impressed with Obama’s presidential campaign. Of course, they asked for money often, but they also provided easy ways for people to volunteer (such as online phone bank participation) and made participants feel valued and trusted as part of a team, even if they couldn’t donate a big chunk of money or travel to participate in an event.

    1. Thank you for your comment Renee.

      I didn’t really keep too close of tabs on the inner workings of Obama campaign, but it is certainly important to treat any person who donates money or time with respect. I was a volunteer for many years myself and a lot of my campaign work has dealt with volunteers. I guess the bottom line here is that one must remember to value them all, even those who are unable to give money.

  4. If you don’t like money taking over politics, then ask Cuccinelli if his father is getting money from Russian gas companies.

    The father gave 96,000 to his son’s campaign.

    I have added my links to the article you commented on. I have lots about this.

    You say I wrote a “conspiracy theory.” Cuccinelli won’t say that.
    He won’t answer questions about why he is citing the Russian press agency in his EPA brief. His father is a gas lobbyist with “European” clients. Are these Russian companies? Why doesn’t the AG answer?

    Why don’t you look a bit at my sources and ask the AG yourself.

    I voted for Cuccinelli, but then I took a closer look. Now I think he is a really subversive radical and a mouthpiece for the Kremlin-controlled gas industry.

    Just ask the AG my questions. See if he will answer you.

  5. I believe that you may misunderstand me regarding money in politics. I do not object to money’s influence. After all, it is a form of free speech that should be protected like all others. I just don’t think poorer activists or voters should be excluded simply due to their lack of wealth. Assuming I ever run for office, I would certainly appreciate any donations whether they are from my father’s company or someone else. These donations should be openly reported, of course, to make sure there is no buying or selling of legislators.

    As for your request from Attorney General Cuccinelli, I’ll tell you that he has at least skimmed your article. After all, I heard about your website through him. December 10th through Facebook, “Here’s a funny left wing conspiracy blog entry on me:” Now you may not like being called a “left wing conspiracy blog” but to be quite honest, I don’t think that your conclusions are adequately supported. After all, most of your supporting evidence leads back to more of your own articles.

    I’ll freely admit that I support and like our Attorney General quite a bit. I believe that he has done many great things for our state in his brief time in office so far. That being said, he supports many of the same issues and ideology that he did when he was a State Senator. As far as I’ve observed, he hasn’t really changed. He is the same constitutional conservative that he was several years ago. Just because he is against global warming doesn’t mean that he is some part of a secretive Russian cabal.

    Not sure what else to add, so let me close by saying thank you for your comment.

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