Some quotes from an interesting Alternet article:
'Incumbents have reacted to this new world by running faster and faster on their fund-raising treadmills. Incumbent Senators have to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a month—every month of their six-year terms.'
'Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig has written a new book called Republic, Lost, in which he argues that our campaign finance system is destroying our ability to have a functioning government. He does not claim that Members of Congress are venal and corrupt—to the contrary he says that they are largely good people, stuck in a system that focuses overwhelmingly on the need to raise money from interests who have it and contribute to influence legislation. To give you a sense of his book—which I commend to you—a couple of the Chapters are called:
WHAT SO DAMN MUCH MONEY DOES
HOW SO DAMN MUCH MONEY DEFEATS THE LEFT
HOW SO DAMN MUCH MONEY DEFEATS THE RIGHT
As you may have heard, is now back in Washington, out of prison and having seen the light. “Ban contributions from lobbyists”, he says, “and from the executives of companies that employ them.” Not because lobbying is bad, but because in his own personal experience the involvement of lobbyists in campaign fundraising can dominate the legislative process.'
What all this means is that staying in office is becoming confused with attending to our business (WE are the people!) and that staying in office and, most importantly, acquiring enough funds to mount the next campaign is rapidly crowding out the necessary business of government of, by and for the people. Most of our 'elected' representatives have neither the courage nor the creativity to get OFF this treadmill which is killing--that's right, killing--our democracy! That being the case, the stopping of this hamster-wheel falls to we the people.
What can we do then? Simply this: at least until there is serious reform of campaign finance, we must vote for the candidate who best understands and is most forthright about what s/he wants to DO in office. Pledges to return to private life once these things are done won't come amiss either--or real explanations, as opposed to obfuscations, as to why they're staying in office. And if one candidate spends far more than the rest, that has to warrant close examination and uncomfortable questions. So, members of the media, quit chasing cotton-candy gossip and do your f***ing jobs right!!
Neither we the people nor the press should acquiesce in the political blackmail by which our country's gambling casinos, aka the big banks, can say to good candidates: you'll do what we want or we'll carpet-bomb your campaign with our money. The media has to step up to carpet-bombers with uncomfortable questions and we the people must treat carpet-bombing campaign techniques as a disqualifier! And candidates must see that those candidates who say less for their program and rely instead on tricks and slogans which stay unexplained when the candidates are asked to expound are on a sure road to defeat! And that will probably give us more of a real choice between candidates. At least it'll make the candidates running behind think more as they articulate the 'reasons' why they, and not their running-ahead opponents, should be elected! That ad hominem or ad mulieram attacks should be treated as disqualifiers for the person running them goes almost without saying. However, that might necessitate explanations as to the difference between them and the 'raising of questions of character.' Well, fine, sez I: any citizenry can only be enriched and sharpened by serious and thoughtful discussion of such questions!
But while our elected representatives and even the Board of Elections refuse to act, the responsibility to do so lies with us--as it always should in any country honestly calling itself a democracy. I've suggested certain guidelines as to how to act; now, my fellow citizens, it's in all of our hands. No democracy will survive long without an actively engaged citizenry. The enemies of democracy know this and are using every parliamentary trick they can dig up to knock as many as possible off the voting rolls and discourage at least as many as they seek to exclude. Let's show these b****es and sons thereof that we won't be discouraged and that OUR government is NOT FOR SALE!! Not now or ever!