A Radical Proposal

campaign fund-raising campaign finance politics money
I was watching CNN the other day, when North Carolina Senator John Edwards made his announcement that he'll run for president. As these things go, it was a perfectly fine announcement. He talked about fighting for regular people, about the economy, about trouble overseas.

But the first question he got from reporters was not about any of that. It was this: How much money have you raised?

That's what we've come to in politics. Money has become such an overpowering factor that even the reporters are caught up in the money game. Who's got the most? Who's best at raising it?

Sadly, money questions are pertinent, because nine times out of ten, the candidate with the most money wins, because that's the candidate who can buy the most TV commercials. Even sadder, those commercials are where millions of Americans get most of what they know about politics.

After railing for years about money and politics, I've decided on a radical new course. I know it's radical, but what if those of us who cover politics paid less attention to who can raise the most money and paid more attention to what these candidates are saying, more attention to the programs they propose and what impact, if any, these programs will have on our lives? Even more radical, what if we tried to find out the candidates' views on foreign policy?

Who knows? If we did a good job at that, if we gave voters enough solid information, maybe they wouldn't have to depend on those commercials to find out about politics. If that happened, the politicians would stop buying those commercials, and the rest of us wouldn't have to listen to them. Now, tell me that's not a good deal.