Money too influential on political campaigns
By raising $25 million, Barack Obama has identified himself as a serious presidential contender, a yardstick the candidate dislikes.
THE amount of money candidates can raise is the gauge by which they are measured and if that standard holds, then the astonishing $25 million Barack Obama has collected in just three months pegs him as a strong Democratic presidential contender.
The Illinois senator's 100,000 donors are another indication of his campaign's energy, double the 50,000 people who gave $26 million to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, considered the front-runner for the party's nomination.
It also testifies to the reality that running for political office means running for the money.
Though pleased with the response to his candidacy, the Hawaii-born Obama dislikes having to talk about money and in an effort to blunt its influence has refused donations from lobbyists and political action committees. Obama has pledged to stick to public-financing limits should he get to the 2008 general election, but for the primary, acknowledges he has no choice.
He, like all candidates, does, but the choice would be fatal, as long as public financing continues to be merely a visionary notion, as it is in Hawaii.
State lawmakers have been loath to adopt even a pilot program for publicly financed elections. The sole measure that has survived has been gutted of its good intentions. Legislators should restore the bill and get the state started on a program that would cut the influence special-interest cash has on decision-making in Hawaii.
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