Friday, January 21, 2005
As Jake Bleed reports in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party has asked legislators to file legislation doubling Arkansas's contribution limits for state political races from $1,000 to $2,000. Chairman Ron Hood's rationale: "The cost of campaigns continues to go up. And right now, candidates have to spend so much time raising money."
The Chairman of the state Republican Party agreed with Hood, saying that it was a good idea for Arkansas's contribution limits for state races to mirror the federal limits on Presidential and Congressional races. Also agreeing was Lieutenant Governor Win Rockefeller (yes, of those Rockefellers).
Well, folks, the Arkansas state chairmen of the two parties that are running our country and a Rockefeller have spoken. The problem with money in politics right now is not that there's too much: it's that there's too little. Apparently, these guys believe that politicians need more money to pay more high-priced campaign managers to hire even more high-priced political consultants to buy even more over-priced airtime over the public's airwaves to show even more high-priced negative ads.
Are these guys for real? Do they expect the rest of us to buy into this claptrap?
The approach that these three are suggesting is neither democratic nor republican, but one designed to push control of our government even further into the hands of the tiny fraction of wealthy interests that can afford to give thousands to candidates they like.
Money alone may not win elections, but it certainly helps: in 2002, 94% of congressional races were won by the candidate that raised the most. Allowing $1,000 contributions already skews our representative government in favor of the rich. Doubling those limits will only exacerbate the problem.