by Jerome Armstrong, Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 09:31:36 PM EDT
Ari Melber and Andrea Batista Schlesinger have an article up about the up that asks for questions to be submitted by people for the Presidential candidates. Here was my submission:
The forum moderators, Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine and Joan McCarter of Daily Kos, and blogger NYU professor Jeffrey Feldman, all of whom are taking the questions submitted by the public, might not be so enamored with this seemingly inside-baseball question. Well, I judge a candidate, and whether I will support them, based on the campaign they run, and I don't consider millions of dollars a side issue. The system was a direct contribution to failed strategy in the '00 and '04 losses, and the answers by the candidates will signal to us how modern of a campaign they are running, how committed they are to transparency, and whether they will change many of the financial conditions that enable monied interests an advantage over sound policy within the government.
In chapter 4 of Crashing the Gate, we devoted much of a chapter to how it is the central piece of the broken system of consultants within the Democratic Party. I would encourage you to read this, and have placed much of the chapter online. As we write:
When you consider the emphasis being placed by our presidential candidates on gathering up small donors, the low-paid staffers clocking in 100 hour work-weeks, and the untold sacrifices being made by volunteers to contribute and be a part of these campaigns, how can we not demand an end to the commission model that pays millions to a few media consultants?
Other than to enable a media consulting firm to make millions, I cannot accept a single reason why a presidential campaign would choose to pay by commission instead of by retainer. The change will end the wasteful television spending that encourages media expenditures to use out-dated model of the media landscape; it will end a monetary competitive advantage for the Republicans that have moved to paying their media consultants by retainer fees; it will put an end to a cabal of insider-consultants making millions of dollars off of our campaigns-- we did 'buy the party' and we do own the campaign.