NotLarrySabato posted this video on his site last night and promised some thoughts this morning. I’ll offer mine, too.
The reason voters hate lobbyists is they know elected officials give lobbyists access that a regular voter won’t ever hope to have. They also know that lobbyists pay for that access with campaign contributions that regular voters can’t ever afford to make. (In other countries, this practice is known as bribery.) Lastly, they know that elected officials seldom live up to the standards of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson who famously observed:
If you can’t drink a lobbyist’s whiskey, take his money, sleep with his women and still vote against him in the morning, you don’t belong in politics.
In my view, it’s not enough to simply disclose campaign contributions. They must be limited and candidates must be given free television air time by the television stations who broadcast on airwaves the public owns. That’s the only way to significantly remove the pervasive influence of money in politics.
As for Terry McAuliffe and the YouTube video below, the reason why it resonates is that voters perceive McAuliffe as emblematic of Washington, D.C.’s political/money/influence peddling culture which is destroying our political system and cheapening our democracy. (Perhaps this is the real iron triangle Eisenhower should have warned us about.)
In Virginia, there is no limit on the amount of money a contributor can donate to a state campaign, so with his out of state fundraising trips, McAuliffe may very well be able to buy the loudest megaphone and drown out his opponents in his march to Richmond. That’s what he helped Bill and Hillary Clinton do. Now he’s simply going to the Clintons’ donors on his own behalf and they are responding. For years, McAuliffe sold access to the Clintons and he continues to do so. His campaign for governor is just his latest vehicle.
Yes, I know Mark Warner held fundraisers at Ed Rogers’ firm. I don’t like that either. In my view, as I’ve said repeatedly, Terry McAuliffe represents everything I hate about American politics. Apparently, I am not alone in my view.
I firmly believe if Virginia’s Democrats nominate him for Governor, they will guarantee moderates and independents will swing toward Bob McDonnell in November, particularly in Loudoun, Prince William and other exurban counties and cities where Republicans like to split tickets.
So that said, what’s your take on this video?