Nation-Building >> We cannot unilaterally disarm against Bush: the case for opting out | return to front page

"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, October 16, 2003


We cannot unilaterally disarm against Bush: the case for opting out

posted by annatopia at Thursday, October 16, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Back in August, Aziz wrote about the possibility of Dean opting out of the publicly-funded campaign finance system:
Back in March, the campaign made a fairly strong commitment to public financing. This means that the campaign would accept a spending cap in return for federal matching funds. Candidates who accept matching funds are eligible to receive up to $18.7 million, with an imposed total spending cap of $44 million through the primary season.

At the time, we'd raised $10.5 million during the first two quarters and were working on the assumption that we'd get another $7-8 million in quarter three, which would bring that total to about $18 million. As of yesterday we've raised an astounding $25.4 million dollars. In addition to out-raising our opponents we're outspending them as well, as Aziz points out in the post below. Why? We're not running a one or two state campaign - we are running a national campaign which is focused - as it has always been - on beating George W Bush.
If we opt in to the system, we must abide by certain spending limits. For example, people who opt in can spend only $3 million in Iowa and less than that in New Hampshire. People who opt in can spend only $44 million during the entire primary season. Let's do some math. We've raised $25.4 and have $12.4 in the bank, so we've already spent $13 million. If you have a $44 million cap and get $18.7 in matching funds, that amount is still less than what Bush has in hand right now. By the end of the primary season, we could easily spend $44 million dollars. If we stay in the system, once we reach $44 million, we cannot spend another dime until after the convention. And do you know what will happen in the meantime? George W Bush will be able to pummel us with negative tv ads all summer long and we will be unable to defend ourselves.
Bush has $70.4 million cash on hand. He has no primary opponent. He has "Pioneers" raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for him every day for the express purpose of destroying George's Democratic opponent long before the Republicans convene in New York to annoint their Dear Leader.
Whoever ends up with the Democratic nomination will be defenseless if they stay in the system. That is the harsh reality that we are faced with. The McCain-Feingold bill did some good things, but it also failed to address the main problem (thanks to being watered down in committee). That problem is that anyone with unlimited sums of money can opt out, bypass the system, and avoid playing fair. Until we have a law that mandates that all candidates must abide by the same rules (spending caps, soft money, etc), then we are left with no other choice than to fight fire with fire. Bush will not play by the rules, so we are left with no other choice than to arm ourselves to the teeth against him, which means opting out and levelling the playing field. Your thoughts on this are appreciated, as we've got to make this decision soon.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.