Thursday, October 19, 2006

Amendment Suggestion 2: this is one I've offered before

This was something I'd posted at my WittyLibrarian site last year...

  • No candidate for elected office can announce, raise funding for, or organize a campaign until the first month of that year of election.

This was the original point I'd made then, and it's still relevant today:

This is a response to how the Presidental campaign has devolved. When you've got Senators and Governors already polling and setting up campaign groups for 2008, three years from now (Hell, we've had Ah-nold campaigning since 2003 for an amendment to let him run for President), then we've got problems. Problems in the form of money that they need to keep these campaigns afloat for so long; ergo, problems in the form of political dealing they make to keep that money coming in.
This is an attempt to shorten the campaign process, and to lessen the costs of an extended campaign. It's to keep campaigns focused, and interesting: people lose interest after two straight years of nudging and posturing and mudslinging and flat-out campaigning. By November of a three-year campaign, people are tired of it. By November of a one-year campaign, there's (with hope) only mild fatigue.
There are no problems to having a shortened, one-year campaign: in this day of instant media across the whole planet, there is no need for extended times to ensure the word gets out. The California Recall (NOTE: dang, was that 2003?) proves that a short, three month campaign at a state level was doable: a nationwide year long campaign should work as well if not moreso. England and other countries are able to hold elections within months of declaring for one.
The only ones who benefit from a multi-year 'campaign' are those who fund them, the lobbyists and deep-pocket groups that want to use their money to buy the influence they need to stay in power. ADDENDUM: The idea is that, the smaller the warchest, the fewer numbers of Quid Pro Quos the elected official will have to pay back. Everyone else benefits (even the candidates, who have to be under serious stress from the greet and meet, see how many of the good ones burn out from the extensive campaigning) from a shortened campaign period. This ought to be a no-brainer amendment to pass...except that the status quo will fight it to the last dollar...

When you look at politicans today, they are in a constant mode of Campaigning. Constantly asking for funds. Constantly building up warchests. Even in years they are not running for office. All that money, all that need for money, can put even the most noble political wonk in serious debt to people who are going to expect their money's worth. If there is any way to cut back on that, we ought to take it.

Also, this amendment should add a second item:
  • No funds collected from previous years, either directly by the candidate or by any group or party that would seek to fund that candidate, can be used in that year's election.
This means that any warchest saved over from previous elections no longer exist. This means the deep pockets can't hold in escrow or in any kind of saving account or lock box (sorry, Al, had to borrow the symbol) for their favorite friends running for office. Everyone starts from scratch at the same spot: zero.

And as I noted before, the status quo is going to fight this amendment idea tooth and nail. The buying of politicians is how they reap billions later from the earmarks and the pork barrels and the tax cuts and the favorable anti-union, deregulatory decisions and... yeah, keep adding. That's what they do.

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