The Voters “Should Insist”–So Says the New York Times

February 25, 2008

Money and the People’s Choices


A mind-boggling amount of money has already been spent on this year’s presidential election, and we haven’t even gotten to the conventions. The raising and doling out of lavish sums has been dispiriting to watch, a muddle of incompetence, avarice and special pleading, only vaguely restrained by the nation’s campaign finance laws. We sincerely hope that things improve before the general election onslaught.
Given this spectacle, it is discouraging to think that this year’s presidential candidates are vying to take control over the national purse strings.
Most worrisome may be the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, which heaped $5 million on consultants last month. The campaign splurged on luxury hotel rooms and spent nearly $100,000 for pre-Iowa-caucus party platters.
Then there’s Senator John McCain’s quasi-farcical attempt to reverse his commitment to public financing for the primary season. Mr. McCain had grasped at public financing like a tax-subsidized life preserver last year when his campaign was foundering. Now that he’s the presumptive Republican nominee and the donors have returned, he wants back into the world of deep-pocket financing so he can spend more freely up until the Republican convention in September.
. . . Congress could put the public financing system on firmer footing by updating campaign subsidies to meet inflation. The voters, for their part, should insist that the candidates accept public money and operate within the rules of the system.
Interesting points;
  • Clinton and McCain are both NYTimes choices for president
  • The Times has quietly resisted this call to concern over the ‘national purse-strings’ through seven disastrous years
  • On two year election cycles, the Times and its other newspaper holdings suck enough blood from candidate ads to weather the interim years of slack
  • Let alone campaign finance, the Times and Sulzberger family have never used the paper to consistently promote good government, relying instead on the reporting of bad government.

And here they are now, telling us–the most unempowered, uninformed (thanks, Pinch), disenfranchised, frightened, impoverished and confused (thanks again) generation in decades–to suck it up and ‘insist.’

Where do you editorial people live, in caves?

This country disapproves its president by a 4 to 1 margin. It disapproves the Congress by 5 to 1. While we’re losing our homes and jobs, you editorial types editorialize and cheer the latest quick-fix to the major financial fraud of the last 100 years. You actually think (between Manhattan lunches) that campaign finance is way up there on our list of concerns.

Every single poll taken shows that Americans insist we get out of Iraq, insist we stop giving tax payoffs to the rich, insist we care for our wounded, insist the Democrats we insisted on electing impeach this president and vice-president, insist Roberto Gonzales be required to stand trial, insist our country stop torturing its prisoners, insist the candidates actually say something other than ‘change’ and . . . panting and on our knees . . . insist someone . . . anyone, give us back our Constitution and stop calling us a Homeland.

None of that has happened.

None of that has happened while the disingenuous New York Times sat silently on its ass and printed blather, innuendo and falsehood. None of that happened while you guys failed us as a fourth estate.

And now you have the audacity to tell us, like battered children, to insist that our crooked, criminally liable and brutally corrupt legislators (at least the ones not serving time) stop their abuse.

Let me ask you this. If we do, if we come out into the streets (which is the only place left to us since you let us down), will you print the story? Or will you call us a mob? Will you back us, or call the cops? Will you come out in the street with us, or peek from behind your vertical blinds and wait for what George Bush has left of the New York National Guard?

Yeah. I thought so.

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