Are We Paying for the Right to Fund the Right?

2 February 2000

By Jock Gill exclusively for

 You have sent in a lot of good questions concerning the debate tape scandal, the funny money the Bush brother's harvested in the savings and loans scandal,  rumors about possible illegal abortions on a certain resume, the multi-million gift that President  Reagan accepted - an entire ranch, for Pete's sake - , Bush the padre's relationships with the Rev. Moon, and many other fascinating reminders that we are dealing with some real and very imperfect human beings here.  The seven deadly sins are a live and well in the Bush clan.

 Frankly, we can deduce that the brother's Bush had something less than innocent in mind, months before the election, when the states of Texas and Florida set up the voter purging project implemented by Katherine Harris.  The only practically useful question to ask now, however, is why we did not see this coming and why we did not do more to defend against it.  Why did our Party fail to run extensive voter training classes, for example, for all of the new voters who were voting for the first time?  As has been said,before, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  We were not vigilant in Florida and we have paid a price.  Never again.

But to become an effective opposition we have to face the facts: taking shots at Bush is easy, fun, feels good, but is basically unproductive.  Being "against"  is not a powerful position.  Being FOR is very powerful.  But what are we FOR that would get you out on the street corner?  What ideas, visions, programs, goals would get you excited and proud to be a Democrat?  Now?  2002?  2004?  This is what my academic friends call the 'meta' question.  Focusing on Bush, and not the big questions for ourselves, will only re-elect Bush in 2004.

The key is to be humble and try to understand why, given peace and a terrific economy,  the Democratic candidate for president was unable to win in a walk in 2000?    We handed Bush the opportunity to seize the White House by any means, fair or foul, and he did!    Shame on us.  The question begging for an answer is how did we manage to give citizen Bush such a gift?

Now here is a great FUQ sent in by Jackie Stroud about why serious campaign finance reform needs to be at the top of our agenda.  She wonders, are we working Democrats indirectly paying for Republican corporate gifts to the Bush campaign? 

Jackie writes: “ I live in a small rural community in eastern NC. I have always been a very active Democrat and love politics. When GWB won the Iowa Primary, we made note in our office of the gasoline price on the day he was pronounced the winner. A new gas station had opened up and we got the prices from their sign.

It was 89 9/10 cents. In three weeks it had risen to $1.19 9/10.  In one month it had risen to $1.39 9/10.  After announcing Cheny his running mate, it went up to $1.49 9/10  and stayed at this price until just after the election when it dropped down to $1.35 9/10.  It now has eased back to $1.45 9/10.

When the price of gasoline rises, everything rises. Do you think that this was done on purpose to 1] get the money back that the oil companies gave to the republicans?  2] make the economy slow down since people had to pay-out more for energy so they had less to spend on goods? is this just a coincidence?  4. the same thing happened when daddy Bush ran against Clinton, but after the election the gasoline prices came down and stayed down until the Iowa Primary of last year.”

If Jackie is right,  we Democrats are fueling Republican campaign contributions that are built into the price of everything we buy.

As Jackie points out:  “This is what happened in Jimmy Carter's reign......the Middle East oil producers helped the republicans get rid of Carter using the price of gas and the hostage this coincidental?  Bush & his father's cronies are great friends with the oil producers.....(ie..Colin Powell's expensive lecture) etc......... coincidental?... I don't think so..... something is not smelling right in Denmark....”

To which I reply: it is only human, and smart, to do more of what works.  If it worked for the Republican Party once, why not run it again?

So we can agree that, for the reasons above - and many others, being a strong supporter of campaign fiance reform is something we can be for and set as a goal for a revitalized Democratic Party.

Parting question:  If you were in a design class and the professor, perhaps Bill McDonough of UVA, gave you the assignment to design the Democratic party for the 21st Century, what would it look like?