Wisconsin Drowning In Political Money
The numbers are staggering, the outcome is miserable.
That is the best that can be said of the report that blazed across the front page of Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal.
Many will read the story, toss the paper aside, say the article is just more evidence that this is how politics is played, and move on to something else.
But there is a real problem with too much money in the political system which causes a most corrosive effect on the governing process. If you do not think this is true I only ask my Wisconsin readers to switch on the TV and watch for 20 minutes.
Altogether, an estimated $86.8 million surged into Wisconsin campaigns and political groups between Jan. 1, 2011 — two days before Walker took office — and April 23 of this year, according to campaign finance statements filed with the state Government Accountability Board.
The period covers the first 16 months of Walker’s tenure, including his controversial measure to effectively eliminate public sector collective bargaining, which turned the state into a national battleground and sparked 15 recall elections.
The bulk of that money — $81.5 million — was split almost exactly in half between Democratic candidates and affiliated organizations, and Republican candidates and their affiliated groups.
The money raised by the parties does not go towards illuminating the issues or educating the public but instead is used for the most base of purposes. The dollars are too often used on worthless and unseemly ads that tarnish, tear, stoke, and malign. What is there to be proud of after the race is over and one reflects back on what was won?
I love a frothy debate and admire political calculations that make campaigns exciting. But I utterly despise the easy use of too much money when it replaces brains and ideas on the way to an election.
Too much rides on every election to allow it to be taken over by the consultants and the advertising men. Real voters have a whole list of reasons to invest time into following an election, but often get treated likes saps by being fed the endless, and nauseating series of television and radio commercials that dumb-down the process.