One of Rhode Island's unsuccessful 2006 candidates recently contacted me to vent about the influence of money in politics, and how the press rates the credibility of candidates according to their war chests. Well, as I told him, welcome to the real world. It's sad, but true, that money remains the juice on which our politics runs.
Not coincidentally, this morning's New York Times has the story of how Hillary Clinton has become the first presidential candidate since 1976 to opt out of public financing for both the primary and general election "because of the spending limits that come with federal money." Not for Nothing, but we're looking at a wild spending spree as a superstar like Hillary tries to emerge from the Democratic pack. It hardly hurts, of course, that the Clinton machine will back her to the hilt.
Here in Rhode Island, I broke the story a few years back of how a Brown student, Te-Ping Chen (who went on to intern at the Phoenix), was the driving force behind a Clean Elections proposal backed by Common Cause of RI. As Phi West anticipated, the effort went nowhere fast, but it remains a top priority for his successor, Christine Lopes. People get the government that they deserve, so if Rhode Islanders are unhappy with the disproportionate influence of money in politics, they can rally behind this effort.