Here we go again! Back to another marathon campaign. Do we realize that we just completed a long, long, dreary presidential primary season where millions upon millions of dollars, guised as campaign contributions, were spent on many, many expenses? Those expenses included TV ads, airfares for a cast of thousands, hotels, food, beverages, conventions, books, parties and enough balloons to eclipse both the sun and moon. This is so hard to swallow for the average $30,000-a-year income workers who are the real voters, who must spend $4 per gallon for gasoline. We also should know by now that there will be a loser and that means a lot of wasted cash, not that the winner deserves all those contributions either.
My question is, why not have a front porch campaign? Those of us who are a little bit into history know that in 1896, William McKinley pulled it off with his front porch campaign by simply meeting and greeting people and media at his home and front porch in Canton. That front porch was also the scene for his speeches. Ida McKinley even served lemonade to the thirsty crowds. I don't believe all that traveling and wasting all that money is necessary. The candidates have to have a lot of gastric problems, too, eating all that corn at county and state fairs, along with stuffing themselves with many other odd foods just to be nice and expect a vote. Don't they get tired of kissing babies and flipping pancakes and burgers and promising most any thing that is usually impossible to produce?
I advise Senators John McCain and Barack Obama to retreat to their homes in Arizona and Illinois, stay put during the campaign and receive the multitudes. They can even include their running mates and spouses as their guests. Sure, their grass will get some what trampled, but that is a small expense compared to the way things are at present, especially with the fuel problem and high food and hotel prices. Security may be a problem, but it always is. Nothing new. Hookups would be available for the media, and let them pay for their latest story on the candidate. After all, it is the news.
It would be nice to do away with words like "public funding," "matching funds," "soft money" and "hard money" or "bundling," whatever that is. Other little words that annoy me are "campaign finance" and "campaign finance reform" and a host of other meaningless words to the common voter.
While McKinley was handling the flowing crowds at his home, his dear friend Mark Hanna was by himself out marketing McKinley and raising some funds. McKinley's opponent, William Jennings Bryan, traveled extensively throughout the U.S. by railroad and lost. Sure, it is 2008 and not 1896. But still I wonder, if they really want to be president and want to save on campaign funds, couldn't today's candidates try something new?
Sen. McCain's campaign collected $27 million in July. At this writing, he will accept $84 million at his convention in St. Paul in public financing for the fall campaign. The Republican Party has raised another $75 million.
Senator Obama raised $52 million in June alone, and outraised McCain $340 million to $145 million through June. McCain has about 600,000 donors, Obama has 2 million donors.
Folks, that is a lot of dough, as they say, and I wish that it could be spent more wisely than on a politician who just may lose. We talk about the many problems this country has right now, and, believe it or not, the economy is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, problem. Millions and millions are spent just marketing these candidates as our bridges are falling down and wars are still going on. Unbelievable!
So I suggest again that both candidates retreat to their homes, install more lighting, build a lot of seating on their lawns, hire an expert on landscaping, (for the grass WILL get trampled), buy a huge supply of lemonade and a few extra microphones, and let the campaign begin and end at home.
May the best man win!