Friday, September 05, 2008

Dateline Woodstock:
Judging from last week's coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the published agenda for this week's rebuttal by the Republicans, it appears that the nominees are getting revved up to run for President of the United States with record amounts of cash for their political war chests. Vermonters are bracing themselves for a furious battle between now and Election Day. Frankly, we are not looking forward to it. While Vermonters never shy away from taking a political stand when they feel their values are threatened, our values are already under assault by the notion that the US is headed towards it's first Multi-billion Dollar Election. First, Vermonters are proud of their ability to do things on the cheap. Last election season, political candidates running for office in our precinct raised a collective $2,647, over half was spent on classified advertisements placed in the Vermont Standard (Woodstock's weekly newspaper) advocati! ng their positions. Radio and television advertising expense was minimal, mostly owing to the fact that we don't have any local radio or TV stations -- and the ones that do exist in Vermont are on the other side of the Big Mountain. Most of us were brought up with the admonition "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all." Whether they have anything nice to say or not, Vermonters as a whole don't like to talk that much anyway. An editorial in this week's Standard endorses the idea we believe was hatched at Woodstock's local cafe and center for political debate, the Squat and Gobble. The concept is to eliminate the primary election process entirely: cancel the TV contracts, kill the national conventions, forget the televised debates -- focus entirely on fund-raising. Then, which ever self-nominated candidate raised the most amount of money by November 1, 2008 would automatically be elected President. It has also been suggested that the election p! rocess be turned over to the United States Supreme Court, but the Stan dard's editorial reminds us that this idea has already been tried and it didn't work out at all well. The money-raising idea is gaining momentum here in Vermont. If we can't get any traction on a national basis, there's a good chance we'll try it on our next gubernatorial election. But we would need to impose a state-wide spending cap of maybe $8-10,000. What do you think?

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