An earthquake that measured 2.7 was recorded today at Clarence Center, NY at 6:48 am--3-8-08
“Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” — Jesse Unruh
I think this well-known quote was meant to apply to the way money influences politicians in office. But as a first-time campaigner, I am beginning to understand why this maxim applies to candidates, too.
This race is peculiar in several ways. First, Rep. John Peterson only announced that he was not seeking re-election in January. That meant that this would be essentially a three-month sprint to the primary on April 22. Second, current office-holders at the state level, who have good name recognition, decided not to run for this seat. That meant that none of the Republicans seeking the April 22 nomination are well-known, established figures.
When you put those two factors together, you begin to realize the advantage of those candidates who have deep pockets. In a short race with no “celebrities,” money goes a long way toward buying name recognition and creating an image. Already, you are seeing TV ads, and hearing radio spots, and receiving direct mail pieces, that really are designed for those two purposes—to plant someone’s name in your mind and to create a good impression of him.
That’s not all bad, of course, but it is fraught with problems.
Consider, for example, that one’s image may not match reality! I have a friend who once encountered a TV and film star that she adored. He had a down-home, all-American boy image. But when she asked him for his autograph, he was surly and crude. That “good old boy” image was a role he played, but it wasn’t who he really was.
There is also the problem of “form over substance.” Advertisers know how to make someone appear well-informed, strong on issues, etc. But what is there when you peel away the image? Is there really someone with substantive ideas? Someone who knows what he believes and stands on principle? Or is there someone who is being fed made-for-TV sound bites, waiting for the latest polls, who will cave the first time pressure is applied to conform for the sake of the party, or being re-elected, or pleasing higher ups?
Ours is a campaign of principle over politics. It is a campaign of courage. We have the message. But it takes money to get that message out. Don’t let form triumph over substance. Don’t let image prevail over reality. And certainly don’t let any candidate buy a seat in Congress! Invest in courage today!