There’s an interesting article in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun that warrants a read. It demonstrates how money, and not much more, determines who is in the top tier and who gets the coverage. The value of the candidate himself is hardly a consideration these days.
Class warfare, or at least class envy, is alive and well in the 2008 campaign. Those at the top command constant media attention. They reap millions in donations and soar in their private jets. The long shots, short on cash, waste hours in airport lines, waiting for their middle seat in coach. Most have been campaigning for more than a year, but they seldom make the news.
Money over value.
Many in the lower tier boast resumes at least as good as those of the top candidates. But anemic poll numbers create a vicious cycle that makes upward mobility extremely tough.
And it’s a vicious circle.
Attracting campaign contributions is difficult, which means less money for organizing and advertising, which makes it harder to lift poll numbers, which makes money-raising even harder.
Naturally the Democrat party top tier is the worst.
Earlier this year, on the morning after a South Carolina debate, Sens. Christopher J. Dodd and Biden had to get up at 5:30 a.m. for a five-hour trip back to Washington for an important Senate vote. Neither Clinton nor Barack Obama, with private planes at their disposal, offered a seat.
Biden said that, in his first presidential run, “if Jesse Jackson had a plane or if Dick Gephardt was going back for an important vote, he’d say, ‘I’ll give you a ride.’ Not any more.”
Who’s at the bottom?
Stuart Rothenberg, an independent analyst, rates those at rock-bottom as “no shots,” with no realistic chance of winning: Democrats Dennis J. Kucinich and Mike Gravel, and Republicans Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter.
And which principled candidates have a shot (even though they don’t have gigantic warchests of cash)?
In between are the “credible” or “serious” long shots, with at least a remote chance to get nominated: Biden, Huckabee, Dodd, Brownback and – since his dizzying plunge from the top tier – former front-runner John McCain.
Both Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee are fine candidates who deserve more serious coverage. But they can’t buy it like the top tier candidates can.
When campaign cash alone, not principles, determines who our President will be, we get awful candidates like Mittens and Clinton. If that’s the best we can do, our nation is in terrible trouble indeed. Food for thought.