Posts Tagged ‘Campaign Finance’

The campaign system is driven by the “campaign industry” –those professionals more interested in finding candidates who can afford their services rather than candidates who want to change how Washington works.  It’s that revolving door President Obama describes where friends bounce between the administration, the congresss, lobbying firms and campaign/consulting firms.   The situation is just another example of what the jam band Cameo termed “Talking out the side of your neck.”


If you are a Black voter in Willacoochee, Georgia, your two senators and one congressman are Republicans.  While you might prefer Democrats in those positions, you should consider developing a functional relationship with those officials—like Republican voters in Blue Dog Democrats’ districts.  And, if you know a Democrat won’t win a seat anytime soon, consider supporting the GOP candidate who has the most reasonable approach and sincerely attempts to connect with our community.  For the record, Willacoochee is in Congressman Jack Kingston district and Jack has a reputation of listening to everyone in his district and hires many Black staffers in key positions.


The center of the Democrats efforts in Georgia will always be voter-rich liberal Atlanta.  But, Black economic interest outside Atlanta is more conservative, supportive of the military and supportive of agriculture.  Those campaign industry professionals won’t tell GOP candidates that because they don’t know the South.  If Black Georgia is not moderate to somewhat conservative, why do Congressmen Marshall, Barrow, Bishop and Scott enjoy great success in the Black community? 


Bottomline: GOP candidates from moderate districts should be moderates on some level or their campaigns are a waste of time, energy and resources.  Let’s stack the deck with good Democrat candidates and not so bad GOP candidates. 

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What should we learn from the money part of the 2008 elections as we prepare for the 2010 mid-year elections?  Obama, love him or hate him, revolutionized the process by getting much money from little donors (little meaning small amounts not short people.)  When people give you money to run a campaign, they will be the first once at your office with a wish list.  Sometimes the items on the list are in the best interest of most Americans, other times the items serve the agenda of a few.


During the 2008 elections, I grew weary of the campaign ads blitz with a quickness.  The same short on substance ads over and over and over again had me watching T.V. with my finger on the remote control.  And I knew that someone did a whole lot of fundraising to finance those ads.  Are the members of congress spending time studying the federal government and proposed legislation or looking for dollars.


I want to mention great southern gentleman congressmen who often ate breakfast in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria (oatmeal with raisins) rather than the member’s dining hall—maybe he was avoiding his begging colleagues because he was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.  Congressman William Natcher had the respect of staffers because he never missed votes, did not take campaign contributions and funded his campaigns himself from 1953 to 1994.  



Of course, Natcher brought that pork to Kentucky and had votes that most southerners made back in the day but he should be an example for current candidates who really wants to run and win differently.  New Media gives candidates the opportunity to connect with voters without bombarding them with the same expensive ads. (What about five-minute campaign web videos on the top 10 issues and posting video from a dozen debates and forums?)  Smarter voters are starting to realize the “real” candidates cannot enter the arena without the lofty cash the system demands. 


If a candidate was smart and innovative, he/she could run for congress with a relatively small amount of money and label the other candidates as “bought and paid for” by national special interests.  The special interest money in the innovative campaign should be posted on the web and directly related to the state’s economy.  The people might appreciate a Natcher-type official over a money-hungry politician.   President Clinton’s remarks when Chairman Hatcher passed said it best:




 William J. Clinton

Statement on the Death of Representative William H. Natcher

March 30, 1994

Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Congressman William Natcher. We want to extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and staff for their great loss. For the past 40 years, Bill Natcher has served the people of Kentucky’s Second District with distinction and uncommon dedication. Earlier this month, I visited Bill Natcher at Bethesda Naval Hospital where I presented the Presidential Citizens’ Medal to him. The citation for that medal offers a fitting remembrance of Congressman Natcher’s career: “Few legislators in our history have honored their responsibilities with greater fealty or shunned the temptations of power with greater certainty than William Huston Natcher.”

Bill Natcher governed and campaigned the hard way. He never missed a rollcall vote or a quorum call in the House for 40 years. He never took a campaign contribution. He never made a political commercial. He never hired a press secretary. He read and answered his own constituent mail. He drove through the small towns and farms of central Kentucky visiting the people he represented at county courthouses and general stores. He paid his campaign expenses out of his own pocket and never had to spend much money. In an era of sound-bites and high-tech media campaigns, Bill Natcher was a rarity.

Some may think that Bill Natcher’s death marks the end of an era in politics. I hope not. I hope that Congressman Natcher’s devotion to public service serves as an inspiration to the young men and women of America for as long as his voting record stands. Bill Natcher once said he wanted his tombstone to read, “He tried to do it right.” Let us all carry those words forward in his honor and memory.

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