Change may not be in every American's pocket but it's defiantly on our minds. Recent polls place President Bush's approval rating at around thirty percent. Even worse, ninety-one percent of Americans believe Congress isn't doing a good job either.
While we may have figured out that Washington is inept, we would be foolish to think they are incompetent, at least when it comes to running for office. In fact, they're so good at running for office they convinced us they want to change the system that elects them.
Both presidential candidates continually gloat how they want to change the influence of money in Washington. Senator Obama tells us that 93% of his contributors are from everyday American's donating under $200. Meanwhile, Senator McCain points to his participation in the public financing system as testament of his conviction for change.
While they are both accurate they are far from right. Senator Obama neglects to mention that more than half of all his donations come from the other 7% of his contributors. As for Senator McCain, he is relying extensively on his network of lobbyists for fundraising and policy advice.
And then there is the way these advocates of reform skirt the current campaign finance law ironically entitled, McCain-Feingold. Under the law individual contributions to candidates are limited to $2300 per person. However, by exploiting a loophole in the law, namely "coordination" among joint fundraising committees, both candidates solicit nearly $70,000 per wealthy contributor that goes to their respective parties to be spent on behalf of the candidates.
The truth is, while Washington needs to change, it never will until we change first. Lee Iacocca, one of this country's greatest business leaders, recently wrote, "If you think just showing up to vote in November is going to fix this country, you got another thing coming. Voting (which 50% of Americans usually don't do) can't be the end of our obligation as American citizens."
It's time to put down our remote controls, get off our comfortable couches and give this country the attention it deserves. If we are really engaged, and hold our government accountable, we can out power the lobbyists and special interests.
Oh, and if you are not 100% convinced how damaging our system of financing our elections is (and even if you are), I invite you to watch my documentary film, Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington. The former Chrysler CEO went on to say, "If you want to know what Lee Iacocca thinks is wrong with politics, watch Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington. Everyone needs to see this film!" I really hope you do.
Just go to: www.youtube.com/mrschneider and you can view the film, in its entirety, for free!
Together, I know we can really change the way Washington does business.