Like it or not, in agreement or in disfavor by the populace,
our money politics has now entered the era of networking, multi-level-marketing
and thorough ad-brainwashing.
Forget about democratic ideals, exalted social justice, or
even the loftier proposition of brotherhood and world peace. Forget about
political party platforms that might espouse aspirations spirited with
humanistic principles. Remember, this is America, where the only beliefs held
sacrosanct, beliefs which are expected to hold popular allegiance, are embodied
in the duality of market economics and market politics.
Well, in truth, probably fewer than 10 percent of our
citizens have a clue as to what a free market economy is, or should be; or that
our existing economy is hardly guided by a free price system, much of it being
expropriatory and corrupt. However, that 90-plus percent of ignoranti in
the art of economics are well aware of this nation�s unashamed commitment to
market politics, accepting by default being governed by those with the purse
strings. Most everyone seems to be in conformity with the idea that �ours is
the best government money can buy,� mocking ourselves to be proud and happy
Money has influenced and often dictated, at least in our
lifetime, how political elections are being conducted so as to optimize a
candidate�s chances for election. Our two-way stepladder politics has been for
the most part a game played by the Knights of Capital, some siding with the
Democrats, some siding with the Republicans, some straddling . . . placing
their bets on both.
Now, since the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law went
into effect (2002), there is little option but for the candidates to invite
small donors, up to $2,300 each this year, to come and fill their coffers. The
fund-raising, to be effective, needs to tap a new breed of �venture
capitalists,� a group that might be considered the Squires of Capital, those
who not only donate the allowed max, but who pledge to collect from other
donors from 10 to 100 times that amount. Networking is called . . . MLM of 2 or
3 levels, if you ask me! Enter the most successful -- in obtaining financing --
presidential candidate of them all, Barack Obama, who in a true effortless mode
can just rake in $50 million in a single month, 80 percent via the Internet,
with zero personal effort and barely cracking a smile.
And the why of that success should not be a secret to someone
in my shoes.
A business plan for a political candidate should be no
different from a business plan for either a start-up business, or a mature one
in need of venture capital . . . whether for expansion or for survival. The
functional areas in politics that need to be addressed may be different from
those of a profit-making enterprise . . . but the purpose is identical: to
obtain necessary funding to achieve a set of goals. And, in my counseling
capacity to businesses for decades, I have been an integral part of that
business plan process.
And guess what, for all the logically and beautifully
presented data assigning a high probability of success in the plan, and
minimization of risk, it has been my experience that, in eight out of 10 cases,
whether dealing with banks or in private placements, the ultimate success was
achieved because of the personal talent and the inspirational, or
entrepreneurial, skills of the person in charge. At the end of the day, it is a
person that defines for a venture capitalist whether a company or a project is
viable. And so it is in politics. Barack Obama was/is that inspirational leader
this year . . . turning him into a quarter-of-a-billion, maybe a half-billion
dollar man before the Democratic National Convention in August.
So more than the political funding concept, success has been
Obama himself . . . and his message, of course. Needless to say, Obama needs to
pay attention to the pre-printed pages that are de rigueur in any and all
business plans presented by US presidential candidates: solidarity with the
aspirations of the brass at the Pentagon (empire); at least a friendly attitude
towards big business; total adhesion to Israel�s government; and an anti-Castro
(Fidel, Ra�l or any government of ideological continuity) position on Cuba.
A good politician that Obama is, he is ahead of schedule,
having made the rounds at the synagogues as well as addressing the now
dwindling Cuban Mafiosi in Southern Florida. Of course, the hawkish duo in the
trio, Clinton and McCain, had already done so. But then again, foreign policy
issues are pre-written in each candidate�s business plan.
Does anyone really believe that this country will change via
political evolution? I, for one, have my doubts. Our elections are but an
adventure in advancing the possibility of minimal change, but never give us an
opportunity to really choose change.
� 2008 Ben
Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA),
where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.