Campaign Financing

Is anyone else dismayed at the obscene amounts of money being spent on campaigns this election season? Obama has raised more than $600 million in his quest for the presidency. He originally stated – promised – that he would participate in the public financing system. Yet, when he started raking in millions of dollars, he broke his promise and started spending as much as he could. John McCain held to his vow to use public financing, which limits his overall spending. Obama can spend as much as he wants to. On every major websites from news to YouTube to Facebook, I see nothing but Obama ads. He is running one of the biggest advertising campaigns in history and it’s working. Social psychologists have shown that people like those to whom they have more exposure. The more advertisements we see or hear for Obama, the more likely we are to like him and therefore vote for him, regardless of his policies or competency. Obama, with his hundreds of millions, can vastly outspend McCain and effectively buy the presidency.

This is the biggest issue I have with how campaigns are run. Those with the most money (not just their own but also that of donors) will often win the election. It’s not always true but it’s sad that our elections are so money-focused. I think it would be better if the candidates were given a specific amount of money (let’s say $20 million) and had to manage that money effectively for their campaign. I know that it is important to get to know the candidates but candidates do not need to spend anywhere close to what they do. It would be interesting to see what pre-election polls were like if Obama and McCain had the same amount of money to spend. Whatever happened to electing the most qualified candidate and not the one with the deepest pockets (who could be the most qualified but that doesn’t detract from my argument)?

McCain Temporarily Suspends Campaign!

Sen. John McCain, in a move that shows integrity, announced that he would suspend his campaign until a deal was reached concerning the proposed bailout of Wall Street. Some Democrats, typically, are criticizing him for this move saying that it is much more important that a debate between McCain and Obama take place. That’s more important than a senator doing his job?! Obama’s response was: “It is going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once. It’s more important than ever to present ourselves to the American people.” In other words, “Look, I can deal with lots of things at once like a President has to.” The problem is that he isn’t dealing with a lot of things at once – he’s campaigning but not doing his job as Senator. Of course, Obama historically has mainly just worked with his party on issues so maybe he really isn’t needed in Washington for a bipartisan effort. McCain has worked with those not of his party a number of times over the years and is known for “crossing the aisle” if needed. I applaud McCain’s move – it shows that he is committed to his job, even if it costs him the Presidency (of course, he might have done some informal polling to see how this act would be viewed but that still doesn’t mean he isn’t doing the right thing for the right reason).

The Immorality of Radical Islamic Terrorists

CNN recently posted a story stating that 53 Iraqis were killed in a pair of bomb blasts. One bomb went off. As a group of people gathered to help the wounded, a suicide bomber wearing a bomb set the bomb off, killing many people. I’m one who always tries to see the positive in people and give people credit where credit is due but these acts are despicable. I have great respect for Muslim beliefs and the Islam religion. These radical Jihadists though are at odds with everything good about Islam. They seek to kill any who do not share their beliefs. Just think about the tactics they used. They set off one bomb, injuring many and killing a few. Then they wait for a crowd to gather to help – to show basic human decency and empathy. At this point a suicide bomber blows himself (assuming the person was male) up, injuring far more and killing many more than the first blast did. What these terrorists do makes any of the harshest interrogation techniques U.S. personnel may use look like massages. Radical Islam is completely incompatible with democracy.

We have to choose a president who will appropriately respond to this movement. We need someone who realizes that the only threats to America do not just come from within (many do, but not all). We also have a responsibility to fight radical Islam, which threatens the sovereignty and democracy of other nations. It’s easy to be opposed to the initial invasion of Iraq but to pull out prematurely would be immoral. The Iraqis need to (and are) take responsibility for their own country but they need help. Russia is still struggling to become a working democracy and the USSR ended a number of years ago. Change takes time. Violent change can take longer because change is forced instead of chosen. I have to laugh every time I hear Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama talking about starting to pull out of Iraq as soon as they are elected. It’s a naive promise. I’d love to see it happen if Iraqi (and American) lives weren’t at stake (plus all the trouble it would cause down the line). Radical Islamists only understand the language of violence. It’s not a language we like to speak but it’s, unfortunately, the only way to deal with these terrorists. I’m nearly as pacifistic as people come but there comes a time to fight. Now is the time to fight. We must continue to fight if we want to preserve freedom and democracy in the world and in our own country. John McCain will handle the threat of Radical Islamist movements better than either Clinton or Obama would.