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More money, louder voices

Posted: April 20, 2013 - 11:04pm

If I wanted to write something I didn’t want my wife to see, I could start with a political discussion.

That way my otherwise loyal fan will fade after a paragraph or two, and then I can write whatever I want.

But I understand her distaste for political commentary. I’m not sure any of us, not even the most-committed political junkies, can claim there is too little political discourse.

In fact, it often seems like the talking is all at the same time, and no one is listening. Or reading.

I wondered about that last week when I spoke to members of Leadership Columbia County at the old courthouse in Appling, passing along tidbits of information about the county’s history.

When I speak to young students, I often ask them to all tell me their first name at the count of three; then I pretend I heard each of them. Little kids invariably fall for it. The adults played along, and laughed, because they knew the obvious: When they speak all at once, there’s no way anyone can hear just one of them.

But if one of them shouts louder than the others? You’d hear that one – at the expense of the rest.

When we talk about the importance of money in politics, what we mean is its ability to buy speech – through advertising – that is louder than an opponent’s. That’s what comes to mind in the latest campaign disclosures from five likely candidates for Saxby Chambliss’ U.S. Senate seat.

Leading in terms of cash on hand is U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, who currently has $2.4 million cash on hand.

That’ll buy volume.

Next are U.S. Rep. Tom Price, with just more than $2 million, and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, with nearly $1.8 million, neither of whom have announced.

All three of them, like Chambliss, are Republicans. Fourth on the list with just more than $400,000 cash on hand – nearly all of it raised in the past three months – is Democratic 12th District U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who hasn’t declared his intentions. Republican 10th District U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who is running, has just more than $217,000 cash on hand, most raised since January.

At this stage, I suppose this means Gingrey can be the loudest of the bunch. But as a famous broadcaster once told his interns on their first day: just the fact that they now had a stronger signal didn’t make them a bit smarter. It just made them louder.

And since my wife long ago quit reading all this, I’ll tell everyone else: No, I’m not the guy who made his online date mad when she found out he was married.

If I was, all the money in the world wouldn’t drown that out.

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-868-1222, ext. 106. Follow at www.twitter.com/
barrypaschal.)

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Comments (2)

soapy_725

History tells us that wealth has always ruled.

For the most part, inherited wealth. From kings to presidents to prime ministers, the credentials are the same. Colonial America was ruled by wealthy royalty and wealthy businessmen who may or may not have been royalty. Post revolutionary America has been ruled by the new royalty, the president, congress and the court. The businessmen and women who find favor with the new royalty are either very wealthy or become very wealthy.

Only in the movies does the "every man" go the Washington DC and change the course of history. Mr. Smith or Davy Crockett.

There is a reason why the Bible speaks to loving money. You cannot serve money and God. You can use money and remain godly. You cannot love money and remain godly.

Sweet son

@soapy_725

Love the last paragraph!

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