Sunday, October 29, 2006

DICTATING WITH DOLLARS

The power of the informed voter to transform society is inherent in our democratic process. But the continuing influence of big money has distorted that concept out of all recognition. In a recent interview with an official of the National Republican Campaign Committee, I asked why the GOP believed that they would retain majority control of the House and Senate in the wake of virtually EVERY poll that said otherwise.

And the answer I was given was a single word: MONEY. With enough cash in the coffer, you can change the momentum of a campaign.

That wouldn't be so bad if candidates were getting cash the old fashioned way. If individuals who believed in a candidate gave their contributions to help get them elected so the incumbent could continue to do what is seen as a good job--or give a challenger who shows promise a chance.

But the big bucks today come elsewhere. In West Virginia's First Congressional District we have seen the effects of ONE MAN bankrolling the campaign against Alan Mollohan. In fact, the Charleston Gazette tells us that Robert Perry is the single biggest campaign contributor in America this election. We all know the efforts by coal baron Don Blankenship to dictate his policies to West Virginia out of his own checkbook. And in what is perhaps the most frightening of all, the LA Times today tells us that Karl Rove is using taxpayer dollars to win the election!

In just a week, the midterms will be over. And the next Presidential election cycle will be in full swing. The issue of the impact of big money in these races cannot be ignored. Whether the Elephants or Donkeys win, the American public will lose if we don't address these issues. Blankenship, Perry and Rove should not dictate with their dollars to the American voter.

And like it or not, the dollar dictates in the contemporary election system.

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