Thursday, December 01, 2005


Howard Dean and Clean Elections

Howard Dean was on Jay Leno's show last night, and Kossack Renee in Ohio was kind enough to provide a transcript. Here's the section that made me stand up and cheer:

Leno: This culture of corruption we see now…we were just joke about this congressman, 2 point (couldn't hear) MILLION dollars. Okay, he's a Republican, but this is the perception about politicians. Because this happens on both sides-how do we change that? Do we need campaign finance laws?

Dean: What we need is real ethics legislation in Congress, because the Ethics Committee has been a farce. There was a truce at one point where nobody would indict anybody, or complain about anybody else. That was ridiculous.We really do need real campaign finance reform. We need to get the big money out of politics.

Leno: How do you do that?

Dean: You know, in the state of Arizona, there's a wonderful Democratic governor by the name of Janet Napolitano who got elected on a clean money campaign. She did not have to go to special interests to raise money to do it. They've got a great law that was put in by the voters, because the legislature of course wouldn't do it. The voters of   Arizona put in a law that said there would be public financing of campaigns, so that if somebody comes along and wants to spend a gazillion dollars of their own money, the state will give you more to combat it. Now, nobody who runs on that clean elections plan in Arizona owes anybody anything. All they have to do is go in there and do what they think is right, which is really what the American people want. It's not so much about being a conservative or a liberal or a Democrat or a Repubublican. What people are mad about is that politicians go to Washington and then they won't stand up for anything, and that's what has to be changed. (Applause)

The good doctor is referring to the fine work of the folks at Public Campaign, who have got genuine clean-election laws passed in places like Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, North Carolina, Connecticut, and of course Dean's own state of Vermont. The two most important pieces of the take-back-our-country puzzle are cleaning up the media and removing the ability of very rich unscrupulous people to buy themselves end runs around democracy. Howard Dean's spoken at length about the former, and it's nice to see him, in his role as Democratic Party Chairman, speak glowingly about the latter.

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