Does this Mean Obama’s Raised Enough Money?
2:41 PM, Oct 10, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Hill's Amie Parnes and Niall Stanage report:
One wonders if the president feels a certain sense of sadness about this shift in his priorities. Fundraising being something, after all, that he is still undeniably good at, even as his other gifts seem to have atrophied.
Interesting, of course, that the president is not forgoing the private fundraisers in order to spend more time at the office, doing the job he was elected – and being paid – to do. It is unrealistic, of course, to expect the president not to campaign or raise funds during the election season but this President has done an awful lot of fund raising at all times of the year, every year that he has been in office. The widely circulated measure is that President Obama has “held more re-election fund raisers than the previous five presidents combined.”
Some might not mind. If he wants to spend his time playing golf and raising cash for his next campaign, then he may be distracted and too busy to do things that might cause real damage to the country. Others, however, find it unseemly that the president should spend his time this way; Gregg Easterbrook among them. Easterbrook's ESPN column, Tuesday Morning Quarterback, is a reliably lively mix of football, politics, technology, and popular culture ... among other things. In this edition, Easterbrook takes on professional football's obsession with complexity:
Later in the column, he turns to the president's relentless pursuit of money, which Easterbrook finds ... well, distasteful. If the Supreme Court will not allow limits on political spending (i.e. free speech), he writes, that does not mean that the voters cannot insist on legislation that prohibits elected officials, as a condition of their employment, from engaging in fundraising:
Sounds good and reasonable. But the political class will not be denied. Loopholes large enough to serve as hangers for Air Force One would quickly be written into the legislation. And the wink-wink, nod-nod culture would find a way to prevail. "Whatta you mean 'fundraising,' I was there to talk policy. Not my fault that someone passed a hat after I finished speaking."
The crusade to get the money out of politics is doomed and the reason is ... because there is so much money in politics. The Washington area is rich. And that is not because it is sitting on top of vast reserves of oil and natural gas.
It is, however, interesting to imagine an alternate universe in which someone like, say, Senator Charles Schumer is suddenly rendered unable to go out and raise truckloads of hot political cash. One imagines him experiencing symptoms much like those any addict suffers during withdrawal. Fundraising is what people like Schumer do. They are good at it. And there is an immediate payoff, a high, when they get that pledge or that check. This is real action, unlike the slow, tedious working of the legislative process.
Get the money out of politics?
Tell us another one.
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