Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Are All Elected Offices for Sale?

I am concerned about the hypocrisy of the mainstream media. They were instrumental in pushing through McCain-Feingold so that both you and I would not be able to exercise our First Amendment rights through financial support of political candidates, all in the name of taking the money out of politics.

So what does the media focus on in politics? MONEY! Give me a break! The vast majority of stories regarding the 2006 Senate race in Tennessee, for example, focus on fundraising. While I would love for my campaign to be well-funded (it certainly makes things easier), it doesn't have to be to win a statewide election (except perhaps in California, Texas, Florida, and New York, but those are the exceptions to the rule).

A case in point is the headline from The Tennessean today, "Millions Pour Into Senate Race." Sure, I guess it is interesting to political wonks like myself, but the average voter doesn't even know who the best-funded candidate (Bob Corker) is. In fact, the most recent numbers tend to show that nine-out-of-ten Tennesseans have no idea who Bob Corker is, despite his having spent over $1,000,000 in 2005 to increase his name recognition.

For us political wonks, though, there is a bit of news in the story. First, Ford and Corker both think that it will take $12 million apiece to run this race. You have got to be kidding. I tell you what, Bob. I could run your campaign for $2 million, and you could give that leftover $10 million to charity. I think you can learn enough of how a person will govern with your money in Washington, D.C., based on how they use their own money. Since most of such information is private, you can learn from how they run their campaign, which is public. If $12 million is what Ford and Corker think is an example of fiscal responsibility, then the label "tax-and-spend liberal" has to be dusted off for the two non-conservatives in the race.

Second, I have to give credit where credit is due. As regular readers of this site know, I am not a fan of Van Hilleary's minions, Jennifer Coxe and Brad Todd. In fact, I would rank some Democratic campaign workers... Well, I'm not going to go there today. In any case, Jennifer had a great line quoted in today's story:

"It seems as if Bob Corker is raising so much money from liberals and Democrats in Tennessee that Ford has had to go to his liberal friends outside of Tennessee to raise money."

Ain't that the truth! Nice zinger.

Sonny Scott, from the Bryant campaign, was not to be outdone, though:

"Bob is going to need that and two or three times more … in his strategy to spend millions of dollars to pretend he's something he's not."

Also true. Blogging for Bryant has been critical of reports that Bryant's fundraising might not be up to snuff. My feeling - so what if it is? Maybe I am an idealist, but there is a reason that I don't get involved in the fundraising aspects of campaigns. It simply isn't as important as everyone makes it out to be, and focusing on it like spending money is all that matters is somewhat against conservative values (which is probably why the non-conservatives are so intent on making fundraising what this campaign is about). I'm sorry, but a strong grassroots network, organization, endorsements, and issues will beat big money any day.

One final point - fundraising is important in the area of people getting out of the race. That isn't going to matter here. Van Hilleary is in the race, despite several conservatives (including myself) asking him not to be. Jeff Moder isn't getting out of this race. Ed Bryant is in this race until November. When I met with him prior to Thanksgiving in 2004, I was a bit concerned that Ed might not have the will to carry him through this extremely long campaign (which will be as long as any presidential campaign I have ever worked). After speaking with him recently, I have no doubts that a fire has been lit under Ed. Whether it was Van going back on his word not to run for the Senate or Corker's attempt to buy an elected political office, something has Ed ready campaign, and it has him ready to be the next U.S. Senator from the State of Tennessee.

The only candidate who might be getting out of the race due to lack of fundraising might be Rosalind Kurita. Her fundraising numbers are light, and I haven't seen much evidence that she is even campaigning over the past few months. With that one exception, though, the fundraising aspect is quite overblown.


I really enjoyed reading this post. One of the reasons I'm in this race is that I think our leaders need to be more fiscally responsible.

I fully understand the need to raise money to fund a state-wide campaign. However, I find it hard to believe a candidate that will spend so much time and effort to raise the kind of money that has been mentioned in this race will be fiscally responsible with our tax dollars when they get to Washington.

Fortunately, money doesn't vote, people do.

Thanks for the great post.

--Jeff Moder
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
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