2.17.2004

POLITICS - I Wanna See The Reciepts

On Feb. 5, Howard Dean asked his supporters for $700,000 to air commercials in Wisconsin.
The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin. We must launch our new television advertisement on Monday in the major markets in Wisconsin. To do that, I need your help to raise $700,000 by Sunday. Please contribute today so that we can reserve the air time:

His supporters nearly doubled that amount. However, The Boston Globe reports that Dean had only booked $227,000 of air time with the $1.3 Million raised by his supporters.
Jay Carson, a Dean spokesman, said yesterday that the campaign did not mislead its supporters, despite the specificity of the appeal.

"We've put their hard-earned money where we think it will best help us here. We have enough on TV to be competitive, we have a lot in the field, and we're traveling more than anybody else," Carson said. "This money is being spent on Wisconsin. It's just being spent in different ways."

If I had donated to the Dean campaign, I'd be screaming right about now. How can a "fiscally conservative" candidate blow twice as much as his opponents and have the nerve to ask college students, teachers, and small families to contribute another million dollars? And add to it, the fact that he specifically asked for money to launch his new television campaign, his supporters doubled the amount that Dean requested, but the campaign only spends 17% of the money on advertisement time.

If Dean continues to stay in the race after tomorrow, he should quit accepting contributions. If he continues to take money, he needs to make a serious statement to his supporters and explicitly tell them that they are no longer supporting a serious contender. I absolutely support Dean's decision to stay as long as he wants. That's fine. But he needs to be honest with the thousands of Americans who are writing checks that could go toward bills, health expenses, clothing, education, gasoline, etc.

I don't care about Edwards, Sharpton or Kucinich; because they are not spending millions of dollars donated by blue collar workers. If Edwards drops out soon, the reason will be a lack of money. His contributors ponied up tens of millions of dollars to give Edwards a fighting chance. Now that he has little chance to win the candidacy, they are no longer contributing and he isn't selling a false hope to millions of young Americans by requesting an additional million for ad time. Sharpton and Kucinich just aren't spending a ton of cash. If they still have some left, they might as well spend it. They shouldn't go back to the donors and ask for more money like this is still December, before Iowa and New Hampshire.

Howard Dean has redefined campaign finance, and I applaud the work that he and his team have done over the last year. But you must be held to a different standard when you're taking money out of the hands of students, single parents, low income families, etc. instead of traditional high value donors. I'm not too worried about any of John Edward's donors missing a meal. But I have seen people on Dean's Blog say that they were cancelling weekend plans or eating Ramen noodles for a month just so they could donate to the cause. Dean owes an explanation to these people or some of them may not be so willing to participate next time...

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