Dole’s departure sign of problem

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 21, 1999

American voters lost again on Wednesday. Elizabeth Dole, arguably one of the most highly qualified contenders in the 2000 presidential election, dropped out of the race because she just couldn’t compete financially with the other candidates.

She’d managed to raise only $5 million, not nearly enough to compete with GOP front-runner George W. Bush’s $56 million or the fortune of Steve Forbes.

And, in a phone call to her staff to explain her decision, Dole reportedly said, &uot;it’s money, money, money.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Unfortunately, she’s right.

In a country built on the ideals of a democratic government, we have come at the end of this millennium to the point where popularity and pursestrings are more important than integrity or ability in national politics.

Look no further than the election of Jesse Ventura, a professional wrestler, to the governor’s seat in Minnesota. Spurred largely by his popularity, Ventura is now running a state government – with no previous experience and no real qualifications.

And that attitude has seeped into the presidential arena. With celebrities and billionaires buzzing about their potential candidacies, the campaign is becoming trivialized and, unfortunately, the role of president is likely to follow.

That’s why Elizabeth Dole’s departure from the race is such a disappointment.

She entered the race for all the right reasons – a commitment to wanting to better government, a desire to serve her country, a belief that she has something to offer. And her candidacy provided fodder for legitimate debates on issues and policies.

When our country reaches the point where valid candidates are forced from the political arena for a lack of money, and replaced by celebrities and actors, then government suffers.

And, in turn, we all lose a little.