by Ari Rutenberg
In a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday the former Speaker said that he thought the current election cycle "verges on the insane". He expressed concern about the length of time, especially time spent raising money involved in the current election cycle. I whole heartedly agree with those concerns and feel that our current electoral cycle is absurd. However, there is still one difference between us. Gingrich thinks the solution is to allow unlimited corporate donations so that politicians don't have to work so hard to raise the money. While I agree that this would eliminate the time spent pandering to individuals to get money, it would increase time spent doing the biding of their corporate paymasters.
I don't want to restrict anyone's speech, but money, unlike actual speech, completely corrupts the process. In addition to corrupting the process, this type of campaigning takes public officials away from their work and essentially prevents the government from doing its job because none can do anything a potential donor might not like.
In order to fix the system the parity between dollars and words must be removed. Elections in this country at all but the lowest levels must be financed by the taxpayers so that all the candidates can spend time. I propose full funding for all local, state, and federal elections. In addition I think that campaigning for the primaries, by law, must not be able to begin or be funded until January of the election year. The primaries themselves should be held in July, and the nominees should be allowed to campaign and be funded for a four month Presidential elections, which seems to be sufficient in every other democracy on the planet and will certainly be sufficient for us.