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Friday, November 14, 2003

Easterbrook's Nonsensical Criticism of Dean

Gregg Easterbrook somehow comes up with an argument that Howard Dean, who receives contributions that average $77 from individuals, will be more beholden to campaign donors than Bush, whose average contributor gives $283.

Now that Howard Dean has opted out of public funding, everyone seems to assume that his little-guy financing approach will be superior to George W. Bush's fat-cat financing. But the problem in seeking large numbers of small donations may be that it forces Dean to sell out to everyone.

You see, if someone gives you a big chunk of your campaign fund, you'll be damn sure to do their bidding. If they give a smaller chunk, you'll be less bound to do their bidding. The fact that Dean gets his contributions in smaller chunks means he won't have the quid pro quos lined up to the extent that Bush will when he comes to office for the next presidential term. This is rather basic.

An argument Easterbrook could make is that Dean may get desperate for cash and try to go after some bigger donors down the line by making all sorts of deals. That would make his logic valid. However, it looks pretty unlikely too, given the success Dean is having at the moment. I think the desperation critique fits better on some of the other candidates' whose time to close the gap on Dean is growing short.