Campaign reform and public funding of elections have to be our top priorities.
As I start writing this column, it looks like President Obama probably has it in the bag. I know what you are thinking, “For goodness’ sake, don’t jinx the election.” Look at the facts.
Everyone knows that Ohio will tell the story. Mitt Romney can’t win without Ohio and Obama leads Romney in Ohio, as of last Sunday by 9 points.
Yes, I know that miracles occur now and then — ask the kids at Fatima. But Obama has been in a comfortable lead in Ohio for over a month. Romney has done everything he can to win Ohio but the more voters see him, the less they like him. We all know that no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio. In a sense, only Ohio is engaged in this battle for the presidency. Both camps know the importance of Ohio — both have focused their campaigns on Ohio, spent millions on TV and radio there.
While Obama is running a good campaign, he should thank the GOP for giving him Romney to run against. Egad! Romney is the worst candidate in history. (Well, the worst in decades.)
As this marathon moves closer to the finish, what have we learned?
Well, we learned that there might be a limit on the impact of huge boxcars full of cash. When it comes to the presidency, that is. It will take time to analyze the impact of the Koch boys’ money on races for Senate and House seats. Watch Missouri and Wisconsin. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it might be an on-rushing locomotive. Regardless, we cannot sit and wait for Godot or the Congress to change the law allowing unlimited amounts to be spent by groups supporting or opposing candidates — mostly opposing. We must reverse Citizens United — no ifs, ands or buts.
Second, redistricting every 10 years is a partisan bonanza. Wisconsin doesn’t need districts shaped to favor one party. We need fair and competitive races. If they can do it in Iowa, we can do it here.
We need real debates, not make-believe nonsense. George Will got it right when he said these are not debates in the Lincoln/Douglas format, and we will get candidates regurgitating memorized lines. The consultants will prep their candidates in defense, not offense. Don’t make a mistake! We need wide-open debates that last several hours. We don’t need CNN’s Candy Crowley, who will moderate the second of the three presidential debates, asking long and convoluted questions so she can get more air time. (You can bet her agent is prepping her to ask long questions so she will be a hot commodity in talking head land.) What will we learn? That we should get rid of the private debate corporation and let the League of Women Voters handle the debates.
We have already learned to hate robo-calls and they should be banned.
We have learned that we should consider a part-time Legislature — couldn’t be worse than the one we have.
We learned — again — that the issue above all others is public funding of campaigns. At least let’s pass a rule that says any entity contracting with the state may not contribute to any campaigns.
I can hardly wait until 2016!
(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
October 2, 2012
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Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.