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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Election year mud is already flying

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

"The issue of the day is soft money..."

Holy cow! It must be an election year. Sen. Jean Carnahan's camp and the Jim Talent camp started the fireworks Monday with charges and counter-charges over campaign financing. Both sides were slinging mud and both sides took a few hits. And folks, this is just March. Can you imagine what it will be like come October?

The issue of the day is soft money - those fuzzy dollars that promote a candidate but don't fall under strict campaign financing regulations. Both sides accept those dollars but Carnahan wants to ban them while Talent disagrees. But both sides are rapidly spending soft money to promote their viewpoints and apparently will continue until a ban on soft money is approved and signed.

It's an irony of politics that you condemn the very thing that you do. But in reality, most voters have only a passing notion of what defines soft money and fewer even care.

The Democrats generally oppose soft money but are willing to spend it now while it remains legal. The Republicans favor continued soft money spending under the guise of First Amendment freedoms. It all becomes cloudy to the voters.

At the core of the issue is one overwhelming fact. The GOP raises much more soft money to address issues in a campaign. And given that advantage, the Democrats generally oppose the soft money influence. But President Bush appears ready to sign a soft money ban after months of negotiations.

This is just one issue in what will likely be a hot summer of politics in Missouri. Both national parties see the Missouri Senatorial race as a toss-up and, thus, it becomes a national race. The balance of power in the Senate is so thin that a change here and there makes a major impact on the national picture.

Mud will fly in the months ahead. Both sides will suffer. And the voters meanwhile will grow disgusted with the entire process. That's the only guarantee this year.

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