Sunday, November 13, 2005

Millionaire Politicians

There's an article in today's NY Times making the case that despite recent election experiences, millionaires don't have advantages when running for office. Hmmm....not sure I'm buying what's being sold.

Guess how many U.S. Senators are millionaires? 45.

From the article:

"The number of these candidates keeps getting a little bit greater, because the system is not particularly encouraging to people without money," said Benjamin L. Ginsberg, a campaign finance expert and lawyer."

It might also be worth remembering this example from the past when Arianna Huffington tries to self-identify as a populist:

"At worst, they can be seen as trying to buy an election, as some voters said about Michael Huffington, a United States representative who spent $28 million against Dianne Feinstein in the 1994 California Senate race."

According to the writer one of the main problems mega-millionaires face when they run for office is that they might come across as a phony. I'm sure there are instances when that has been the case but what choice do voters have if the only two candidates running are both self-financing moneybags? Based on marketing, you decide who is less phony?

I think this is a huge problem and wonder if there are any solutions. What are the chances of the millionaire Senators and Representatives already sitting in Congress voting for amendments to federal campaign fianance laws that would truly level the playing field?

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