What question do you want to ask the presidential candidates?

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:

In 2004, the media consultants of John Kerry campaign made millions and millions of dollars, mostly from  pocketing up to 15% commissions based upon the volume of advertising dollars placed over television. This compares with the retainer model of compensation for media consultants, done by the Bush campaign and 90% of all product advertising today. Will your campaign payments to your media consultants be based on the commission model or will you instead be paying them by retainer fees?
I'm like a rapid single-issue voter with a litmus-test on this matter too, and will openly and vocally oppose any of the Presidential candidates whose campaign is supporting this model through the payment of media consultants with commissions-- for tasks that are paid for by retainer from the Republican side and 90% of all businesses. It's an out-dated and uncompetitive system that's filled with motives that have a financial conflict of interest.

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:

The problem is that millions of small donors are footing the bill for the consultant feast that feeds people like Bob Shrum and his cohorts. To them, these new activist donors are little more than a shiny new ATM to fund the same old campaign.

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.

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Donor numbers

Romney increased his number of donors by nearly 50,000 for a total of more than 80,000 for the year so far. McCain reported a total number of contributors of 72,000 for the first six months. The Giuliani campaign said he doubled his number of donors this quarter, bringing his total to about 56,000.

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Sunday polls

A couple of poll questions jump out. First, the horserace numbers are not surprising. The CBS numbers are about what has become the norm, 48-24-11 for Clinton, Obama, Edwards. Those who are wishing there were "more choices" on the Democratic side are at 35 percent. The second poll is from Fox News, the horserace numbers are 47-21-13 for Clinton, Obama, Edwards nationally.

But in the CBS poll, asking "If the 2008 election for president were being held today, would you probably vote for the Republican candidate or would you probably vote for the Democratic candidate?" The Democratic candidate wins by a 55-28 percent margin-- that's a heck of a starting off point.

The presidential aside, Fox asked a question of "where are you getting information about the presidential candidates? Are you getting information from:

Television               88%
Newspapers               69%
Radio                    51%
Internet news sites      38%
Blogs                    11%
YouTube                   7%
MySpace                   4%
That's just an astounding number for getting news off of the internet. Last cycle at this time, internet news was at about 8-12% blogs and myspace were not measured and YouTube didn't exist. From looking at the breakdown of the Republican vs Democrats sources of information, it generally shows that Democrats rely upon newspaper coverage more than Republicans by a 74-64 percent margin, and Republicans rely upon radio coverage more than Democrats by a 55-47 percent margin. Television and internet are about the same, in terms of usage. They had one other question that drew a response based on age, that's worth noting. When asked "Which do you think is having more influence on politics these days -- right-wing conservative radio shows or left-wing liberal internet blogs?"
                 Conservative         Liberal 
                 radio talk           internet blogs

Under age 30     37%                  33%
Age 65+          34%                   9%
Perhaps that's reflective of a generational shift happening among media usage, but given that the poll shows just about as many Republicans check out internet news sites, blogs, myspace and youtube as Democrats, I'm not as convinced that the internet is going to be as dominant a liberal vehicle as radio is for conservatives, but it does at least point toward (in the future), given the under-30 response, the blogs developing into having just as dominant a political influence as talk radio.

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Will Democrats Enact Tough Ethics Reform, Or Prove They Don't Get It?

It's been more than 7 months since voters took control of Congress away from corrupt Republicans, and more than 5 months since Democrats took over  - and still we are waiting for real ethics reform to improve accountability in Congress.  We at 21st Century Democrats ask, "are there enough reform-minded Democrats with strong leadership to convince the foot-draggers that the party will be over if they don't enact real ethics reform?" Sadly, the answer may not be what we want to hear.

The House leadership started off on the right foot in January by enacting rules restricting meals, travel and gifts from lobbyists, but some of the strongest measures, like requiring lobbyists to publicly disclose when they bundle campaign contributions for federal candidates, were passed over due to the resistance of some Members who don't get it.

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Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

I was just updating MyDD (long overdue) to have a Creative Commons Deed, and went and looked at which Presidential candidate websites have them.

John Edwards has a

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