Does Money Talk Louder Than Performance?

Campaign spending is out of control - probably because politicians believe that if they tell you they are doing a good job long enough you will eventually believe it.

We’ve all heard the expression, “Another day, another dollar," but probably not within the context of politics. 

If your house is like mine, you are receiving 2-3 calls per day from some candidate or political committee asking for money, or from a blocked or unknown number. And there’s no relief from your mail because not a day goes by without an envelope (or three) from the Presidential, Senatorial and Beacon Hill candidates … or some committee. And, have you checked out all the political ads on the websites you visit – all with an easy-to-do donate button to the smiling candidate?  Very convenient.

The pols tell us that the Nation is bankrupt and the economy is bust, but they keep asking you for money, and the more you give, the more often they ask.  And then they use your money to tell you how well they have performed, and how dangerous their opponent would be, based on a declining sense of honesty, integrity and civility. It’s as though they really do believe that “We the people” are not especially smart, or paying attention, or that we have the collective attention span of gnats, and even shorter memories.   

And have you wondered about all those fund-raisers? Who is attending these lavish affairs, and what do the attendees expect in return for putting up to $40,000 per seat just to hear their candidate bash their opponent?  More importantly, how likely is this helping you and me to make it in America in 2012, or our grandchildren in 2025?

Speaking of fund raising, a report in yesterday’s news indicated that President Obama will soon be holding his 200th fund-raiser, compared with George Bush (84), Bill Clinton (70), George H.W. Bush (24), Jimmy Carter (25) and Ronald Reagan (3) in their re-election years.  That’s almost three times as many as Clinton or as many as his predecessors combined. Forget about Reagan. And, he’s not done. In true Democrat spirit, reports claim that the Obama campaign is spending more than they are raising, so they are adding even more fund raisers.  So much for leading, let alone governing.

So here’s the question – “Why is it taking Obama so much time raising enough money to convince voters that he is doing such a great job?”  Shouldn’t his excellent performance and well-earned second term be self-evident by now?  Or, does money talk louder than performance? If Obama claims he’s doing a great job loud enough and long enough, will you eventually believe it enough to give him four more years?

And, before you complain about the Republicans and their extensive fund raising (to which I will probably agree), let me simply add that the more that Obama spends trying to convince America that he has done a good job or that Mitt Romney is a flawed pretender, the more money that Romney must raise and spend to rebut the charges and offer his own. Sadly, we saw what happened to John McCain in 2008 when he agreed to campaign funding limits and Obama refused. As a result the system has clearly devolved into a “political arms race” in which cash is king.  It’s a process we cannot afford, either financially or emotionally. 

… And, it has co-opted and corrupted our government.

But this is where we are.  Still, I believe that elections should be reasonably straight-forward, limited pretty much to two objective and one subjective measures (although I am eager to hear more):

  • Did the incumbent keep their promises upon which voters decided?
  • Have their policies produced positive results and made America stronger/better?
  • How confident are you with this President as leader of America’s future?

And yet, what are the candidates talking about?  Are they talking about job creation?  Are they describing how they will reduce the debt or balance the budget?  Or, are they attempting to distract us by making unaffordable, unkeepable promises to specific ethnic/racial/victims' groups, as if we are not a United States of America, but a divided land of hyphenated Americans?  They’re talking about a war on the wealthy, a war on “women’s health,” a war on the Catholic Church, and a war on this and a war on that etc.   It actually feels like a “war du jour” – and it is exhaustingly un-American.  Is this what we want?

It’s long past the time for We The People to take charge. 

Let’s suppose that you are a share holder of a powerful international organization whose interim CEO’s term is expiring. The board asks you and the other shareholders to participate in the selection of the next CEO, a critical responsibility. The choice is between the interim office holder and a candidate recommended by a search committee.  Your first job is to identify the objectives and direction of the organization, and develop a go-forward plan including a blunt analysis of its strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats.  Your second task is to describe the skills, talents, qualities, needs, vision, experience etc. of the ideal person best able to lead the organization into the envisioned future.  Finally, you will decide as a group if the interim leader has earned the right to continue, or if the organization would be better served with a change. 

And, all of this must happen in fewer than 90 days.

We are the people and we must do our job to become better informed, and not lazily fall prey to deceptive and demeaning ads as our information sources.   After all, there are lots of politicians … but only one America, and right now America is depending on We The People to do the right thing.

So, what are you going to do?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cynth House August 20, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Paula, here is a link to check the voting records of all of the Senators during the 112th congress. It's so hard to sort through the information that gets thrown out there but this is a link to a public government record: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/112/senate/members/ Scott Brown has voted with the Republican party 66% of the time. From what I could tell it is the second lowest "party-line" type of voting record in the whole Senate. I'm always interested in hearing both sides of a situation and so disheartened by the "Win no matter what the cost." political attitude from both sides. I have been impressed with Scott Brown because I believe he considers us as Americans, not Republicans or Democrats. (as noted through his speeches and his actions) I hope he continues to do so and will not be swayed by the tremendous pressures of politics and media.
Jim Hatherley August 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
@Paula Leva 8:28 Thanks for your response. I get that you are an Obama supporter and you have plenty of Company. However, may i remind you that Obama did not "reach across the aisle" at all when he was elected. Instead, he used Pelosi and Reed to slam the doors on Republicans and passed Obamacare, Billion dollar stimulus bill, bailed out GM, invested $90B into solar energy etc. Is this anything but radical? I have been around for many yeas and have never seen this before ... ever. Now, if you are an Obama supporter, I understand the context, but I believe even moderate Democrats would say his jumping ugly on the Cambridge Cop, and not so ugly on the Ft. Hood terrorist were despicable behaviors. As to Brown, Cynth has provided the details you need to at least appear to sound fair minded. Compare that with Pelosi - "You have to pass the bill if you want to know what's in it " tactics. So, please ... and thanks for commenting.
Concerned Citizen August 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Thank you, Cynth and Jim, for supporting my statements with facts.
arthur August 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Everyone is worried about money - budgets, taxes, economy etc - and the news this morning reported that more than $500 Million Dollars has been spent so far... by the two parties. What does that tell you about how concerned about you? Will this be the first Billion Dollar race? It's not a campaign, it's a business.
Jim Hatherley August 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Arthur, thanks, and isn't that a big part of this blog? If President Obama has been such a good President he should need only list his accomplishments, explain how they have been good for America, made us stronger and better, and tell everyone that what and why about a potential 4 year extension. Instead there are billions of dollars being spent ignoring his "accomplishments" but telling us that Mitt Romney is somehow a dishonorable person... and that he is wealthy. Left unsaid is what he would plan to do to America if given four more years. As I have said in previous responses I choose to believe that even Massachusetts Democrats are insulted by this and will either not vote or vote for Romney. And hopefully I have used this space wisely enough to evoke a little passion among the Unenrolled voters to become better informed and equally outraged/insulted that Obama should be spending so much time, energy and money trying to convince them that he has been good for America.


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