Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fishy Pols

Have you noticed how even Presidential races have now been reduced to dollar figures? I don't mean the effect that money has on shaping political agendas and voter perceptions - this has been going on since at least the time of Pericles. I am referring instead to the assessment of candidates' appeal to voters based on how much money they have raised in their election "war chests". Hillary is deemed to be the frontrunner because she has raised X million dollars more than Barack, who is ahead of John Edwards and so on and so forth. This is so much like the order book of an IPO (initial public offering), for chrissakes. The more orders that flow in during the book-building period the better the chances that the issue will be "hot" and open for trading at an immediate premium. Hillarydotcom and Barrackdotcom.

We have financialized everything, so I should not be surprised. But I still think it is troubling and, ultimately, very dangerous for the quality of our democratic process. Money cannot measure the quantity and certainly not the quality of political ideas and principles. Judging politicians by their fund-raising prowess is akin to judging fish by their price at the fishmonger's stand, instead of by how they smell. Spoiled tuna will send you to the hospital no matter what the price.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thus... vote for Ron Paul! At least he wants to abolish the FED... :)

Anonymous said...

Hellasious,

This is herd mentality. We admire a successful person (a "winner") simply because they are successful, irrespective of their actual merits or attributes. The person's character or intellect is of little importance now. Therefore, the successful person becomes even more successful. It's self-reinforcing and everyone agrees that this person deserves to succeed. We all want to associate ourselves with a "winner".

Bernard

Anonymous said...

It's good to know "Joe Homeowner" has things under control.

Excerpt:

Nearly half of homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages don't know exactly how they work, according to a national survey released Monday by the AFL-CIO.

Three-fourths also couldn't say what their new monthly mortgage payments will be after an interest rate reset, according to the survey of 500 homeowners who took adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) from 2002 to 2006.

http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1486722.html

Bernard

Anonymous said...

American society is downward spiralling out of control.

America is facing:
- a severe recession, much like 1929
- a lost war
- lack of international credibility
- enormous public and private debt
- impossibility to fund medicare and retirement plans for the most part of the population
- huge social impairments

And which is the criterium to select the front runners for the next election? The budget amount? Oh my....

Byrne Hobart said...

I think fundraising is a popular datum because you can measure, to the last decimal point, how well someone is doing. +/- X% scares some people.

Anonymous said...

The person's character or intellect is of little importance now.

George W. Bush certainly proves this point.

Anonymous said...

Fundraising figures are easily manouvered by lobbies.
Using fundraising as a measure is like asking Kenny Boy & friends.

Juan said...

Anon @ 4:50,

For any, and you may be one, who lived during and well recalls the immediate post-WWII decades in the U.S., the downslide is very apparent. Other hand, there are what, two generations now that know only the post-1967 phase and may consider it to be the norm, i.e. they have essentially no personal knowledge of a fairly well functioning, reasonably fair, domestic political economy.

Oh, as an addition to your list, the American Society of Civil Engineers 2005 'Report Card' which notes:
... that $1.6 trillion is needed over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to a good condition.
http://www.asce.org/reportcard/2005/index.cfm

All and all, not that distinct from a running down of plant and equipment in an attempt to maximize short-term, increasingly casino-like, gain. ...really, even though masked by financial glitz, a process of undeveloping.

Mane said...

Anon @ 4.50 pm

Combine those things with the US gun culture and you may well have a recipe for a not-so-low intensity civil war.

The hungry may well turn out to angry and desperate.

Anonymous said...

In the last ten years, this has also happened with the media's coverage of movies. They only concentrate on how much money each film brings in at the box office, not on the quality of the movie. Quite disgusting.

jest said...

i don't think "we" have financialized everything. i doubt if the average guy cares how much cash hillary has raised. he just wants his gasoline to go back down to $2.25/gal.

the only ones interested in that crap is the media; lord only knows why.

i want the woodward & bernstein era back.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the raised amount is indicative of voter support. Those who have put their money where their mouth is are almost certain to follow up with a vote on election day. And in addition are likely to chew the ears off anyone within earshot. Of course, rather than amount of dollars it would be more informative to know the amount of donors.

yoski said...

The presidential race should be hosted by E-bay. Supporters/donors/lobbyists can bid directly on the candidate of their choice. The one with the highest dollar amount wins.
One dollar, one vote.
After E-bay fees, the proceeds from the race are then used to bail out an industry of the new president's choice.

Edwardo said...

On this topic, consider reading my response at, disasterporn.blogspot.com In the meantime, here are some three year old words from someone who knows the lay of the the land.

"Citi bank who made 2 billion net in the last quarter/year (can't remember what the article said now) along with some other banks are going to raise 100-150 billion for bailing out, ahem, subprime loans and such (really bailing out themselves). Where a bank with a 2 billion net is going to get all that cash from, along with their similarly situated brother bankers is a mystery, but one must conclude they want the money from their perceived rich uncle (SAM) who is also insolvent but runs a profitable counterfeiting operation. The system is so corrupt and so broken that the future survival of many in this country might lay in being able to grow one's own food once the system breaks open. How many more years they can keep this system together is the only mystery. The groundwork for an Amero dollar and North American Union/police state is being laid brick by brick in broad daylight and few seem aware or even interested. Once installed, nothing will be able to stand against it and no gold or lead to hold on to it will secure a future, only preventing it has a chance.

"The middle class and working poor are told that what's happening to them is the consequence of Adam Smith's 'Invisible Hand.' This is a lie. What's happening to them is the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious orthodoxy that in its hunger for government subsidies has made an idol of power, and a string of political decisions favoring the powerful and the privileged who bought the political system right out from under us."

-- Bill Moyers, Keynote speech, June 3, 2004

Ethan said...

Yeah, why doesn't the media discuss what the candidates say rather than where they stand in the polls? Isn't that what a free press is supposed to do? Provide a forum for IDEAS?

bub said...

re. elections and E-Bay.

"An election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods."
Ambrose Bierce

Ron Paul 2008

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