The authors of the Feb. 9 Staff Editorial should be more forthright in their advocacy of plutocracy (rule by the wealthy) as an alternative to democracy (rule by the people). Key to understanding their argument is their title assertion: "Forbes not buying, he's advertising." Any marketing student knows that a big enough advertising blitz can create name recognition and establish a product. But should this principle govern our democratic political system? The authors laud the fact that "men and women have forged this country through a survival-of-the-fittest attitude." In an apparent plug for a return to aristocracy, they add that "it is in (Forbes') blood to be successful..." Aside from the socially retrograde implications of this view (let the poor starve?), Malcolm Forbes Junior has got to where he is thanks to the silver spoon daddy left him, not because he is "more fit" than candidates who did not inherit a fortune.
It will be the Republicans' loss if Forbes wins the nomination € most citizens will reject the plutocratic messenger and his blatantly self-serving flat tax message. What is disturbing is the prevalence of the attitude that this rich kid is some sort of "outsider," some sort of savior of average people.
The political system is definitely part of the problem. Big money dominates politics. Corporate PACS buy off politicians. So I suppose the logical response is to skip the middleman and go straight to the wealthy! Yeah, that's it! Let's put the wealthy in office themselves so that they can loot us directly instead of indirectly!
What we really need is campaign finance reform to limit the influence of big money, not increase its power. To equate monetary assets and free speech is an utter degradation of democratic principles. A more level playing field for ideas and policies should be created, in contrast to the current tilt toward the ideas of the top percent. We need a new political party that will represent the interests of working people, not demagogic billionaires like Perot and Forbes.
sociology Ph.D. candidate and graduate instructor