Liberating the White House from the Political Money Game

by Diane Dimond on July 28, 2014

Poliical Fundraising - An Business

Political Fundraising – An Divisive Business

Let’s face it. We have too many antiquated laws on the books. Our laws often fail to keep up with the times.

I mean, do we really need a statute that prohibits rams from trespassing as they have in New Jersey? Or a law that makes it a crime to carry fruit in an illegally sized container as Minnesota recently struck down?

Nonetheless, I would like to propose a new law that would benefit every man, woman and child in the United States. It has to do with how the top leadership in this country operates.

Let’s adopt a law that prohibits presidents from engaging in overt political fundraising.

Yes, I know an appearance by a president at a fundraising event insures a seven-figure take for these events. But, how about we leave the begging for political donations to the U.S. Senators and Congressmen who are already experts at it?

Boh Political Paries Are Guil

Both Political Parties Are Guilty of Dividing Us

Let’s free up our president to be … well … the leader of all American citizens not just those who belong to the president’s political party. Let’s emancipate our Commander in Chief from the mundane election-year hawking for money designed solely to enrich one political party’s coffers.

The end game for the ginned up money, of course, is to eviscerate the opposing party, which only goes to further divide us as a country. If you’ve ever wondered how we, as a nation, got so mired in the “Us versus Them” mentality we have today, look no further than the smarmy political strategists who spend their days concocting campaigns designed to slime candidates on the other side, everyone who doesn’t think like they do.

As those strategists hope, we the electorate absorb their negative messages and carry them into our everyday relationships. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “I can’t talk to Joe. He’s such a Democrat/Republican!” If you are one of the rare citizens who truly hasn’t allowed the political spin to infiltrate your daily lives, I congratulate you.

Presidens Should Be Above Over Fundraising

Presidents Should Be Above Overt Fundraising

So, let us do all presidents a favor and make it against the law for them to participate in the loathsome game of political fundraising. Let us help elevate presidents above the ugly fray. And while we’re at it lets extend the political huckstering ban to include their spouses and children too.

The need for this new legislation came to me in a flash as I was reading about the recent air disaster that took 298 lives in Eastern Europe and the latest war (let’s call it what it is) in the Middle East.

Buried within newspaper stories were sentences like this one in the New York Times: “As smoke billowed from the downed Malaysian jetliner in the fields of eastern Ukraine President Obama pressed ahead with his schedule: A cheeseburger with fries at the Charcoal Pit in Delaware … and two splashy fund-raisers in New York City.”

At the very time initial dispatches reported there were 23 Americans aboard that downed Malaysian passenger jet (the number was later reduced to 1) the president was belly up to the counter of that burger joint framed by a cartoon figure on the wall eating a burger three times the size of its head.

Jennifer Palmieri  thinks We're Stupid.

Jennifer Palmieri thinks We’re Stupid.

The White House communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, was asked if there had been any thought given to cancelling the day’s activities given the grim world events. Her bizarre answer as the president headed toward those two glitzy fundraisers in Manhattan?

“Abrupt changes to his schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people or creating a false sense of crisis,” Palmieri said in a prepared statement.
Now look, I don’t begrudge any leader of the free world some down time or a yummy burger with fries. (Although, I do wonder what Mrs. Obama thinks about her husband’s dietary choices.) But I take umbrage with a White House staffer thinking we are so mentally fragile as a people that we would be “unduly alarmed” at a president who returned to Washington to take care of business. Does she think the citizens of America are stupid?

Begging For Political Money Not Presidential

Begging For Political Money Not Presidential

Whether there is an international crisis or a humanitarian crisis on our own border to attend to, the president must set his (or her) own management style. I understand that. If they want to handle pressing events while out in the field instead of in the oval office, that’s their decision. What I find disgraceful is the offensive image of an American president gallivanting around the country on Air Force One with his expensive, taxpayer funded entourage hawking for money for their own particular ideology. That’s not leadership, that’s pure unadulterated politics.

Even the White House communications director knows this, which is why cameras are rarely allowed in to film one of these presidential fundraising events.

This is not a partisan gripe. I didn’t like it when Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton or G.W. Bush hit the mega-money-making fundraising trail either. It diminishes the office of the president to place our top elected official — the leader of the free world — on the podium next to big-money wheelers and dealers. It embarrasses me. It should embarrass our presidents too.

Time to Proect the Office of the President

Time to Protect the Office of the President

So, the question: which political party has enough guts, enough pride in the office of the presidency, to take a bold move toward removing the leader of the free world from the unseemly position of being the big ticket draw to milk the most lucrative cash cows?

I am an enthusiastic voter and I would be attracted to the party that sponsors such a bill. I bet other voters might very well see the party that backs such legislation as truly focused on America’s best interest instead of how much money they can raise to taint the opposition. That act has gotten mighty old. And it has resulted in nothing but stalemate in Washington.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 7:20 am

ABQ Journal Reader Mary Anne Edwards writes:

Diane,
I love your suggestion regarding making presidential fundraising illegal! The President needs to be out of this particular part of politics completely! How do we push to make this actually happen?
Can’t wait for Saturday…two of my favorite lady journalists are my first reads in the morning after securing a cup of coffee- you and Peggy Noonan! The craziness I see happening in politics and pop culture make me feel sometimes like the Lone Ranger. You two ladies remind me I am not alone!
Thanks!
Mary Ann Edwards
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 7:25 am

ABQ Journal Reader Terry Wilmot writes:

“Dear Ms Dimond,

Reading your column today (“Let’s elevate presidents above the fundraising fray”) you pose the question: “Does (Jennifer Palmieri) think
the citizens of America are stupid?” My response to that question is “Yes, absolutely and irrevocably, too many of us are stupid-stupid… those who put George W. Bush in the White House the second time demonstrated this ultimate stupidity in spades. The first time GW got into the White House was a fraudulent stolen election… the second time—if it wasn’t a stolen election—demonstrated an unbelievable level of public psychosis which continues to this day especially in view of the depraved group of deranged clowns the GOP had running against Obama and for every other national office which happened to be open. Stupid is a colossal understatement referring to many in the U.S. electorate who by their votes and statements characterize most precisely several million intellectual pygmies quaffing—and BELIEVING—political propaganda
at a rate unprecedented in human history paid for by an energetic group of billionaires intent on establishing a plutocracy modeled after values, attitudes and beliefs of the 11th century.

(here Wilmont added cartoons which cannot be reproduced on Word Press)

So what exactly will be in the new 2014 Republican Party platform? Who knows for sure but the following will likely top the list.

A complete constitutional ban that forces women to complete pregnancies – with no exceptions for rape and incest.
An urging for states to adopt intrusive ultra sound laws that force women to have their bodies probed before they can have an abortion. An embrace of hateful anti-gay laws that give no legal recognition to same-sex couples.
A call for more radical “papers, please” anti-immigration laws like the one that the Supreme Court struck down in Arizona.
The reinstatement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” forbidding gays from openly serving in the military.
And – in a slap in the face to Washington, DC – a rejection of statehood for the nation’s capital. “

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thanks for writing.

You have perfectly illustrated the “Us vs. Them” mentality that I believe holds us back as a nation. You have an absolute right to vilify and make fun of those who don’t hold your political beliefs. But in my book it achieves absolutely nothing. I’m looking for common ground among American citizens so we can start fixing some of the things that are wrong in the U.S.

I welcome all points of view and I will post your comment at my website when I put my column there on Monday.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Diane Dimond

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 7:26 am

ABQ Journal Reader Rees Bevan writes:

“Dear Ms. Diamond,

I appreciated your editorial published today July 26 in the
Albuquerque Journal exposing the massive
fundraising by incumbent presidents. The way to lessen this practice is to
work very hard to defeat their agenda and those in congress that benefit
from the fundraising.
I recently read a quote stating “If we want to change Washington, then
we have to change the people we send to Washington”.
Maybe then we will be able to remove presidents from the unseemly
position of being the big ticket draw to milk the most lucrative cash cows.”

A regular reader,

Rees Bevan
Albuquerque, NM

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 7:29 am

ABQ Journal Reader Gunhild Vetter writes:

“Agree with you, they should be working and not out on the campaign trail for every cat and dog that wants run for office.

If our public employees, including elected officials would put in a good 8 hour day, 5 days a week, for 52 weeks a year, minus a reasonable vacation of a couple of weeks maybe up to four for length of service, we would have a much better run country.

A president should have the same requirements, after all it is a job and people in the private sector have to put in their time, what makes elected officials think they deserve more. If they don’t need all the time to work in DC, they should stop their paychecks and go home and do some work in their own business or whatever they did to make a living before. That is what the founding fathers did.

But I guess if things don’t change soon we are too far gone that we may never recover and according to scripture the USA does not really have any position of power as we near the end of the age according to some, others say we do, so who knows, we will probably find out sooner than we really want. According to one this fall will be a turning point.

Gunhild Vetter
Bosque Farms, NM

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 9:03 am

twitter pal NewsWriter2 writes:

“@DiDimond it really is a travesty. The total cost of that would do so much for military families who scrimp by…”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Facebook Friend Lou Milano writes:

“First, let us agree in this day and age, political campaigns need money to function. Districts, states and the country are too large and the electorate too great in number to campaign without it. The more money you have, the greater saturation you get for your message, whatever that message may be. This would apply to every candidate for every elected office. And who better to bring in funds from the party faithful than party leadership? Today, for the democrats, that would be the President. But your reason for removing the President from such activity…”Let’s free up our president to be … well … the leader of all American citizens not just those who belong to the president’s political party” is flawed. Attending a fundraiser may be partisan, but his charge is not. The President is still the elected leader of all Americans…bills he signs and executive orders he issues apply to all Americans. He delivers a State of the Union speech before both houses, not a State of the Democratic Party speech. His partisan remarks at a fund raiser are private because he is not addressing the nation. He is not speaking as the President of the United States nor speaking on behalf of the American people. He is in attendance and speaking as a party leader and in that context, whatever he says is off the public record. And while “the party” is supposed to pick up the costs of bringing in the party leader to speak, there are bound to be costs to the taxpayer as he is still the President. And as you know, the taxpayer is not footing the bill for the media “death watch” on these junkets, the news organizations are. As for responding to a crises in the world, the affect that crises has on the American people must be considered. Reagan waited four days before responding to the Soviet fighter downing the Korean jetliner. You see, no immediate, direct affect on the American people…and to respond IMMEDIATELY might well suggest, as the W. H. points out, there’s something more to the crises than it appears. Should a president drop his cheese burger or bail on the fund raiser and get back to D.C. to respond quickly to demonstrate America’s concern? Well, you can bet he would then be accused of disingenuous showboating. Naw, I think you’re really off base on this one, Diane.”

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Lou,

Lets agree to disagree. ~ DD

Reply

Diane Dimond July 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Facebook Friend Steve Liddick writes:

“A zero campaign budget would be good. Let them stand out from the crowd by their deeds, not their political contributions. Of course, that would never get past the Republican Supreme Court on free speech grounds.”

Reply

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