Campaign season has apparently officially started. Ari Fleischer spent more time answering questions about Bush’s campaign yesterday than he spent on anything else, including this little gem:
Q Secondly, on fundraising. Governor Dean has said that it’s a threat to democracy for any one presidential candidate to have two or three times more money to get his or her message out than any other candidate. Regardless of how much money the President plans to raise, does he see any merit whatsoever in that argument?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well again, I think the amount of money that candidates raise in our democracy is a reflection of the amount of support they have around the country. So the President is proud to have the support of the American people, and the American people will ultimately be the ones who decide how much funding goes to any Democrat or any Republican.
I love typing that. I’m gonna type it again: “I think the amount of money that candidates raise in our democracy is a reflection of the amount of support they have around the country.”
The more money you raise, the more support you have. If you’re supported by a lot of poor people, but not many rich people — well, support from poor people just doesn’t count as much.
Fleischer’s comments seem to rest on the foundation that a fair contest between two candidates belonging to distinct (if not necessarily differentiable) parties is sufficient to represent “democracy.” I’m sure a more eminent authority than The Simpsons has disproved this, but I think “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos” is probably the most memorable statement of the problem with that belief.
And of course, the comeback to that is that there is a host of checks which insure we will never be forced to vote for one of two space aliens bent on enslaving the planet – but my uneducated observation is that the topic generally comes up in the first place because of an attempt to erode (or preserrve the erosion of) one of those checks.