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Toward the end of our recent primary campaign, I found in my mail an envelope from Common Cause stuffed full of petitions urging campaign reform. After having read ad after ad in which candidates ran on the backs of their wives and children, churches, business and professional associations, but never on an issue of substance, I smirked and trashed the envelope.
No doubt, campaign reform is a desperate necessity. But the big lobbies are stomping around so heavily in the muck of campaign financing that their eyes are too roiled for them to see the real problem.
Campaign financing can only be reformed by politicians, yet they know more desperately than most of us how important campaign financing has become. They need it; they depend upon it--they cannot reform what they have become so needy of and dependent upon. Then, too, there are the constitutional issues involved in attempts at such reform that may be insurmountable without endangering our other liberties as well.
But has anyone seriously asked why campaign financing has grown so important? Could it be that such vast amounts of money are necessary because so many candidates have nothing substantial to run on and therefore can only attempt to outdo one another by inundating us with irrelevant nonsense that provides them with their one hope of success--name recognition? If so, the problem the reformers are concerned with perhaps can be solved without the help of politicians.