You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
One of the biggest (of many) outrages about our political system is the obscene amount of money it takes to conduct a successful campaign. According to Open Secrets, spending on presidential campaigns more than tripled, between 1976 and 2004, while the total spent on the 2004 presidential and congressional campaigns approached $4,000,000,000!
Imagine the many better uses for that money. Instead, it profited corporate media networks, advertising firms, campaign consultants, and the like. Money sucked out of the economy to no good purpose. And, of course, the best-financed candidates almost always win. In 2006, only 26 Congressional candidates won, after being outspent.
So much of what is wrong with our political system can be traced to campaign financing. It would be nice to report that something is being done about that. It would be nice to report that big money special interests were losing their grip on our nation's political neck. This is not about big miracles. This is about one small wonder. This is about one good man, who is running a hard race against an entrenched Congressman, but who, nevertheless, wants to do something positive with some of his campaign money.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
Now we've seen everything: politicians playing Santa Claus - with their own personal campaign war chests?
It's too early to say it's the start of a trend, but at least two California political candidates have pledged portions of all the campaign funds they raise for the 2008 election to charitable causes they support - a move that is of the "man bites dog" variety in the world of politics.
It may be about good politics, but it's definitely about good people.
The groundbreaker in the arena has been Democrat Charlie Brown, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and a candidate for the 4th Congressional District seat near Roseville - one currently held by embattled GOP Rep. John Doolittle.
Saying he'd seen enough of homeless veterans and wounded Iraqi troops coming home to fight for medical services, Brown pledged in September to donate 5 percent of all his campaign donations to veterans' causes - and has challenged other politicians to do the same.
A drop in the bucket, compared to what is needed to run a competitive race, but if everyone did it, that would translate into quite a flood of money to a very important cause. The other candidate pledging to donate is Richmond City Councilman Tony Thurmond, who is running for the 14th Assembly district. If you want to show these men that you support their efforts, you can donate: