The EFM Feature

When Tom Vilsack dropped out of the race late last month, numerous stories lamented the fact that such a promising candidate could be forced out of the race solely because he can’t raise enough money to sustain a campaign.
But why is it lamentable that our candidates are forced to ask their fellow citizens for financial support?
That’s the question I always end up asking myself when I see stories like the one that appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune today.
Titled “Romney Appears Reconciled to Cash Politics,” the story criticizes Governor Romney for begging “with the best of them” when it comes to raising money for his campaign. The story also cites Craig Holman, campaign finance lobbyist for Public Citizen, who bemoans the popular fact that the 2008 campaign will likely cost in excess of $1 billion.
The problem with that figure, as George Will puts it in his latest column, is that it means the “two-year process will cost half as much as Americans spend every year on Easter candy.”
In the end, a candidate’s ability to raise money, to have thousands of citizens believe in him or her so much that they are willing to give of their own financial resources to support them, is the best way to separate the pretenders from the contenders. And as if that weren’t good enough, the process costs us less than our annual expenditures on peeps. Mmm, peeps.

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