Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Turning the Change Message Into Actual Change

Washington Post writer Richard Cohen has a great column this morning taking on the idea of "change" that has been omnipresent in this presidential election. He argues, as we have on both the New York State and federal levels, that the answer to how you get real change starts with public financing of campaigns.

Here's a snippet:

"The only way to eliminate the disproportionate influence of lobbyists is to break Congress's nymphomaniacal lust for campaign funds. Otherwise, we will forever be getting remedies that sound good in a presidential debate but that don't really matter all that much (and that in any event affect only one branch of government, the presidency)…

"I don't blame any of the candidates. Even special interests have a right to be heard. But not a greater right than you or I. If elections were publicly funded, members of Congress would not be reliant on special interests for money to campaign. As in all things, there would be a downside. Certain groups would lose some clout -- including, unfortunately, organizations with unpopular but progressive agendas. In general, though, the disproportionate role of money would be curbed."

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