And all of this is happening while news headlines announce rising food and fuel prices, and the slashing of food and shelter funds for the needy of our country and our county.
This is shameful and disgusting.
We’re not blaming the candidates. The rules allow it — and if one candidate does it, so will the other.
There is public funding of elections, but candidates have the choice to opt out of it and raise their own nest egg.
The problem is also fueled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, which stated that “restrictions on corporate independent expenditures are invalid.”
The big factor in 2012 is outside money. These elections — presidential and congressional — are the first in which new, post-Citizens United rules will have been operative for the entire two-year campaign cycle.
While outside spending groups existed in previous presidential election cycles, the Supreme Court decision and other legal developments led to the proliferation of super PACs and the growth of other outside spending groups that don’t have to disclose their donors. As a result, spending by outside groups will make up a far larger proportion of the total spent in the 2012 election than in previous campaign cycles.
And how are all these campaign dollars spent? It appears to us that they are used to pay for negative ads that are often untruthful or try to spin an opponents’ quote out of context.
We could certainly do without those.
Many voters would welcome the campaigns of yesteryear when the presidential nominees traveled by train across the country, speaking to voters in various towns from the back of a caboose. Wow, how refreshing that would be!
We don’t honestly expect Obama and Romney to hop on the back of an Amtrak train and tour the country, but we would like to see candidates receive a much more conservative set amount of money to spend on their campaigns. They could also continue to have televised debates that wouldn’t cost them or the taxpayers anything.
Or, here’s a novel idea: Run an ad that praises your virtues instead of slandering your opponent. That, at the very least, would be money well spent.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.