June 28, 2011 - 9:06am
Today's Poll: Would you support public financing of political campaigns?
posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
June 28, 2011 - 9:23am#1
Public financing? Bad idea. You may be surprised to hear me say this but here's why: Firstly, money = speech. Secondly, here's how it would be abused: 1. File paperwork/petitions/declare your candidacy with the board of elections. 2. Buy a bunch of stuff (computers, printers, scanners, office supplies etc) 3. Never actually campaign. 4. Sell all of your stuff on Ebay. I am not opposed to campaign finance reform, I am opposed, however, to efforts that would make it easier for people to abuse taxpayer dollars. I think that it would lead to a system even more corrupt than the one we have now.
June 28, 2011 - 10:29am#2
We see every election exactly what privately funded campaigns amount to: candidates are sold like male enhancement products amid mudslinging and sound bites- a quantity Vs quality approach. Public campaign financing could level the playing field and produce viable candidates who might never have entered the field due to financial liabilities. Public financing could re-write the book on how candidates and voters interact. Public financing could put some substance back into the political process. Public financing could reduce campaign expenditures- well below the extravagant, wasteful white elephants they have become. Public financing does NOT have to be a carte blanche handout to politicians. Imagine that FCC regulations are re-written to mandate free airtime for candidates for office. Imagine cable franchises providing public access debates. Imagine broadcast radio interviews. Imagine budgeted vouchers for travel expenses and advertising materials. Imagine meeting the candidate INSTEAD of the rhetoric and gimmicks invented by some ad agency. Modern campaigns are as relevant as the annual marathon of commercials presented with the Super Bowl. A well thought out public campaign approach could instill substance back into our elections, provide a clearer picture of the candidates and their platforms- at the same time allowing qualified candidates to emerge, who could never compete, prohibited by daunting cost. The stunning bonus to all this would be the elimination of the quid pro quo existing between campaign donors and elected officials. Dan, I'm glad your equation didn't equate money to 'free speech.'
June 28, 2011 - 10:49am#3
Daniel, that is about as cynical a reaction to campaign reform as I have seen since the Supreme Court decided to make corporations whole with the same status as individuals equating money and free speech. Filing paperwork/petitions with the board of elections is a simple process, I hardly see the connection with publice financing other than the one that currently exists. It is the method of demonstrating intent to stand for election and secure a line with a party affiliation or independently in a primary election. The number of signatures required for most positions vary on the position, the petitioning forms are provided at no cost by the Board of Elections and are a fill in the blanks boiler plate. The petitioning process affords the voters a primary choice of candidates other than the candidate nominated by a party and allows the option to create a party line by submitting signatures. The ascertion that public financing opens the door to more corruption and abuse of the taxpayers dollars has no support in fact. What public financing does accomplish is a more transparant system and increased access for qualified candidates to stand for office. A qualified candidate such as David Bellavia is a prime examples of a qualified candidate that would be able to mount a credible campaign as an independent without having to compromise with the wishes and whims of party bosses without having an adverse effect on those candidates with deep pockets who self-finance or traditional candidates who spend a major portion of their effort before, during and after the election raising money from special interest groups at the expense of the majority of voters. Public financing can even the field in terms of giving the voters the opportunity to hear an amplified voice from all of the candidates in forums paid for by the public that provide real debates rather than ersatz choreographed candidate performances, or the war of sound bites and thirty second attack ads. Public financing is a good method of making the system more democratic and that is good for our republic.
June 28, 2011 - 2:56pm#4
CM, the idea of the FCC, mandating anything is what bothers me. Why should any broadcasting network, that already has to pay for its license be forced to give away airtime? And where does that stop? But more important is that once the government controls the money, it controls how, when and where it can be spent. Their money, their rules.
June 28, 2011 - 3:02pm#5
Actually, John, aside from the fact that the broadcasters license PUBLIC airways, the FCC agreement has ALWAYS contained a provision for mandatory public service/community programming. ...Given the drivel that usually monopolizes the public airways/airwaves- many would welcome something useful and intelligent for a change. You'd rather some corporate interest with a profit agenda OWNS what you see and hear on television?????
June 28, 2011 - 3:45pm#6
Political broadcasts, mandated by the FCC might not be any better or have less "drivel" than what we get now. And I doubt they would always be useful or intelligent. I don't like the idea that the government mandates what we will see or hear, or when and for what purpose. And I don't always think the FCC is neutral all the time since the members are appointed by whatever party is in power.
June 28, 2011 - 3:46pm#7
in the long run we are financing them any way, where do you think all this money come from.i think they should not get money from no one, use your own money
June 28, 2011 - 3:51pm#8
I don’t like the idea of giving away money either. I do like the idea of stopping all spending on campaigns. Instead each candidate should be given space in the local online/written paper and some TV time to explain where they stand on issues. That’s the only way we will break the stranglehold that the two party system has on us.
June 28, 2011 - 4:15pm#9
We saw in the 26th congressional election right here in WNY that she who spent the most money and he who had the most money did not win. I think it vindicates somewhat the Citizen's United ruling. Everyone that paid attention knew who was backing whom. True transparency about finances and who pays for those annoying, pain in the ass ads is the key, it's not there yet, but getting better. Also, I agree with John, government control of information good or bad, is bad.
June 29, 2011 - 12:23am#10
I can't support it.....I don't have any money left...