Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Issues, please

Albany Catholic believes that too many journalists focus on fundraising and poll numbers rather than on candidates’ stands on issues. We believe that voters need more information about candidates’ positions, which the candidates are less likely to discuss. Now, we are pleased to see at least one writer who agrees with us.

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post writes in today’s paper about the incessant coverage of how much Presidential candidates have raised, and why it may not matter.
Journalists have become increasingly obsessive about tracking these numbers because, 10 months before anyone actually gets to vote, it's a way of keeping score. And obviously the ability to rake in big bucks indicates that the candidate has a certain degree of support and the organizational muscle to build a network of donors.

But I think it's an overrated indicator. I lost track of how many big-name political journalists told me in late 2003 that Howard Dean was nearly unstoppable for the nomination because he was the Democrats' leading fundraiser. But his $40 million -- some of which had been frittered away earlier -- didn't do him much good once he got to the Iowa caucuses. All the money in the world doesn't help a candidate who can't close the sale.

I got bleary-eyed in 1996, reading all the glowing pieces about how strong a candidate Phil Gramm was because he was raising truckloads of money. Gramm never made it to New Hampshire. The donors might have been buying, but the voters weren't.

The entire article is here.