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    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Money Talks

    For the most part, there is no public financing of presidential campaigns in this country. While there are some compelling reasons in favor of public financing, one compelling reason against it is the virtue of the marketplace itself. The people help determine which candidates succeed by donating money to their campaigns. A "good" candidate, one who has popular ideas, should be able to raise money from the people who agree with those ideas.

    When you donate to a political campaign, you are supposed to list your occupation. You don't submit a full resume, a background check isn't done. If you donate $100 to a campaign and decribe yourself as an attorney, a homemaker, a venture capitalist, or a veteran -- as a practical matter, who really has time to check? And these things get written down on reports. It is a bit haphazard. And if you mail in a check without disclosing your occupation, do you really think they don't cash it?

    Still, someone can look through the lists of donors and look for trends. Do people who report certain occupations and affiliations tend to donate to certain candidates? And while it isn't entirely scientific, there can, and have been, some interesting observations made. Including this one.

    People who are affiliated with the military, a small fraction of the number of donors these campaigns have, have donated the most money -- not to John McCain, a vet and former POW who would stay the course in Iraq; not to Rudy or Hillary, either of whom would seem likely keep us in Iraq indefinitely -- but to anti-war candidates Ron Paul and Barack Obama.

    I don't imagine most active duty soliders have much cash to spare. I think it is safe to say that many of our vets don't either. The amount of actual dollars discussed in the article is rather small. But still, when our soldiers and vets are donating the most money to the anti-war candidates, I think it is worthy of note.

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