Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hillary does something good (for a change)

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 — The public financing system for presidential campaigns, a post-Watergate initiative hailed for decades as the best way to rid politics of the corrupting influence of money, may have quietly died over the weekend.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York became the first candidate since the program began in 1976 to forgo public financing for both the primary and the general election because of the spending limits that come with the federal money. By declaring her confidence that she could raise far more than the roughly $150 million the system would provide for the 2008 presidential primaries and general election, Mrs. Clinton makes it difficult for other serious candidates to participate in the system without putting themselves at a significant disadvantage.

Officials of the Federal Election Commission and advisers to several campaigns say they expect the two candidates who reach Election Day 2008 will raise more than $500 million apiece. Including money raised by other primary candidates, the total spent on the presidential election could easily exceed $1 billion.

If Hillary Clinton's actions have truly killed the public financing of campaigns in this country then it will be the one true act of public service that she has ever done and most likely ever will do.

Many people will think that a billion dollars it too much to spend on a presidential campaign, but is it? The American public will spend more money in 2008 on potato chips. American women (and a few men) will spend more money on cosmetics. We will spend more money on beer, more money on fast food hamburgers and more money on Internet porn downloads.

Isn't the decision on who will set the direction for the nation for the next four years and beyond more important than chips, eye liner and Paris Hilton's sex video?

The more information that the public has about the candidates the better they will be able to decide how they should vote. More money means more advertising and more advertising means more information. Now you may be saying that a candidate's commercials are misleading that they inflate their own qualifications while unfairly attacking their opponents. This is true, but important information can be learned by what a person says about himself even if he's exaggerating.

For example when you listen to Barak Hussein Obama do you get the impression that he thinks of government as a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless? Do you get the idea that he believes that the government which governs least governs best? Do you think that he believes in the idea of seeking out our enemies and killing them before they have the chance to kill us? Do you get the impression that he believes that money is best spent by the people who earn it, rather than by government redistributionists?

If you listen to the man the answer to all those questions will be a resounding no. The more money he spends on advertising the more clearly he will get his message out that he does not believe that the individual American is qualified to spend his own money or make any of his own decisions in any but the most trivial of areas.

The same will be true of Hillary and Edwards and any other candidate that the left throws at the wall to see if they will stick.

And the same will be true of the Republicans. Will Rudy or McCain be able to convince enough conservatives that they should be given the chance to lead the nation? More, rather than less information is the key to the people being able to make an informed decision. Taking federal money out of the process will lead to the public being able to make a better choice.

In political campaigns as in everything else the dead hand of government offers nothing of true value and much which does true harm.