The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Money isn’t everything

Currency has meant too much

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have raised more than $10 million apiece since Super Tuesday, a day that divided delegates and demonstrated just how close the race for the Democratic presidential nomination really is. By the time this article is published, those estimates are likely to double for each candidate.

It is hard for me to not be pleased when contributions for both Clinton and Obama substantially exceed that of any Republican candidate, but the excessive attention recently given to campaign fundraising has given me pause. While many, including Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, have expressed concern over the possibility of an undecided race heading into the convention, I think America deserves as long as it needs to choose its future president.

On the other hand, I think the focus needs to be on policy, rather than a back-and-forth contest of who has been able to raise the most money. As someone who looks forward to a debate like a playoff game, I was disappointed to hear that Obama only agreed to one of Clinton’s weekly challenges in February, stating, “It is very important for me to actually reach voters, something that may be less important for Senator Clinton to do because she is better known in many parts of the country.” The Los Angeles debate, which “actually” reached an estimated 8.3 million viewers, has been the only chance for voters to draw distinctions between the two front-runners since John Edwards exited the contest.

Political advertising is about to blanket Texas in an effort to get out the vote on March 4. Leading up to Super Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Obama and Clinton were dishing out an estimated $2 million per week on television advertising. It’s hard for me to imagine that 30 seconds of cheese – smiling faces, handshakes and broad generalizations – can tip the scale for an undecided voter, but it’s probably safe to assume, given expenditure reports, that there is significant evidence available that substantiates its power.

While the incessant coverage of fundraising by the media has been frustrating, I know there are a lot of reasons to be thankful for it. It gives me hope that in an unstable economy, there have been hundreds of thousands of new contributors for both candidates; individuals who want so badly to see America head in a new direction that they are willing to give away their own hard-earned money. I guess that it’s just hard for me to watch so much of their sacrifice be spent on commercials.

While I think there is very little that can be learned from the man, Mitt Romney’s decision to end his presidential bid reminded me of something. Votes cannot be purchased. Despite contributing over $35 million to his own campaign and outspending all of his competitors, Romney simply could not convince Republicans to support him. He ended his presidential bid at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, and I somehow managed to make it through his entire speech without changing the channel.

I watched as he passed his moral judgment, citing terms like “activist judges” in his call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, referencing percentages of children “born out of wedlock” in claiming that our nation cannot stand “when its children are raised without fathers in the home,” and saying that Europe’s “weakened faith in the Creator” has created a “demographic disaster.” He compared welfare programs to “poison,” used fear tactics in comparing a vote for Clinton or Obama as a “surrender to terror” and emphasized that an end to the war in Iraq is a declaration of defeat. As his long list of reasons for why I am voting for the Democratic nominee in November came to a close, I smiled at the realization of something that recent campaign reports and media coverage had led me to question: Despite its undeniable importance, money isn’t everything.

Curtis Hill is a senior advertising major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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