Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I was sitting on my porch steps hanging out with my daughter this morning when Armand Legare walked up and handed me a business card. He's running for Congress in my district and is going door to door giving folks his campaign's website address. He asked me to take a look, and if I agreed with what he's doing to help out.
My first thought was that this guy is nuts. Doesn't he know that it takes more than a million bucks to run for congress? He can't possibly win simply by going around and talking to people.
He's running against Doris Matsui. She raised $1.7 million to win a seat previously held by her husband in a special election last fall. He was head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a key fundraising post. Her campaign website is here http://www.matsuiforcongress.com/
Legare is running on a promise to set up an internet system that informs his constituents what's going on in congress, and asks them their positions. He also stakes out where he stands on several key issues like the Iraq war, gun control, abortion, etc. He says he'll then vote the wishes of his constituents. Imagine that, a representative who sees it as his job to represent people, rather than make decisions for them.
Then it occurred to me that maybe Mr. Legare wasn't so nuts. After all, by going to both his and Doris Matsui's websites, I had enough information to know which one I preferred as a voter. I don't really feel like I need to see a lot of TV ads or slick mailings to make up my mind. Maybe campaigns shouldn't have to be about seeing who can raise $1.7 million dollars. Maybe if candidates could raise no more than say $50 from anyone, they'd all spend time walking their districts instead of schmoozing with lobbyists at fundraisers. Maybe that wouldn't be such a crazy way to elect our representatives after all.