When you enter the voting booth to choose your president, do you consider the role this person will be playing? Ever thought about how many days they’d spend on vacation? Perhaps you’ve wondered what else, besides concentrating on the needs of the nation, your elected leader will do with the time you pay for.
No one doubts that President Obama’s primary job is track the movement of golf balls; we’ve seen that image hundreds of times. What you probably don’t realize that since he took the oath of office in 2009, President Obama has attended almost 400 fundraisers. Do you think the founders of this nation envisioned fundraising to be part of the duties of the President of the United States?
President Obama isn’t alone in his fundraising activities. Decades ago presidents were out shilling for dollars for themselves and their party comrades; yet President Obama’s pension for passing around the collection plate might eclipse the prior record holder.
With less than half his second term concluded, President Obama has accomplished what George W. Bush managed in two full terms in the White House. Bush only managed 318 fundraising events in eight years while President Obama is now nearly 100 events ahead.
The all-time record holder for fundraisers is Bill Clinton who amassed 638 over his two presidential terms. What will President Obama’s final count be? Based on his current fundraising schedule leading up to this fall’s midterm elections and assuming he’ll be doing his part in the 2016 elections, Clinton may see President Obama surpass one of his remaining, if dubious, accomplishments.
While it might be easy to point at the two leading panhandlers being Democrats, fairness dictates that we acknowledge that while Republicans might not be as deft at begging for money, they do a fairly decent job wasting taxpayer money on fundraising adventures rather than concentrating on the issues that affect the public.
Sadly, this is what has become of our political system. We have a system that runs not on a vision for the future, but rather on a well-stocked war chest. Cash is king and unless you have a hefty bank account, you’re really not on the presidential, or congressional for that matter, road map.
Television, radio and print campaigns don’t come cheaply. A thousand yes-men or yes-persons as it were, Internet weenies, advisers, marketing whiz kids and accountants drive the money hunt; they want to get paid and so does everyone else.
Unfortunately money can be the difference between winning and losing; it can also mean that the least qualified, lowest common denominator who is only interested in the power and payoff often gets elected. Should we accept this?
The Supreme Court has had a hand in supporting the money pitch that campaigns have become by offering greater latitude to the donors. President Obama has railed against the loosening of campaign finance rules and then in his standard “do as I say, not as I do,” manner has availed himself of every campaign finance rule change that’s come down the pike.
Freedom of speech isn’t free, but freedom of access to the highest office in the land is downright expensive. Some suggest publically financed campaigns; but why should we pay for the lies that inevitably are told by politicians? What if our leaders were forced to run their campaigns as we did in school, with some construction paper, felt-tip pens and a box of thumbtacks? Alas, that will never happen, so we’re trapped in a system where politicians promise to look out for the 99 percent while raking in hefty campaign contributions from the privileged 1 percent.