The '08 Flood of Money

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The unwieldy field of candidates in both parties has already raised tens of millions in dollars. That figure will balloon into the hundreds of millions before year's end.

How much money is too much?

For the top three in each party, there is no limit. They will have little trouble raking in the cash and competing for expensive TV time.

Voters will be deluged with ads long before they've even seriously thought about the 2008 race. By next February 5, we will almost certainly know the names of the final two. That is nine months before the election.

Many are shocked at the prospect of several billions spent when the final totals are tallied.

However, the cost of democracy is hard to measure in dollars. Ads for pet food, for pharmaceuticals, and by defense contractors are even more expensive.

It costs big bucks to run for high office now whether we like it or not, especially running for president or for the Senate in a state like California or New York.

There has to be a point of diminishing returns here. Remember those two Texans, John Connally and Phil Gramm, who were able to raise huge amounts intheir time. They flamed out early.

A California Democrat named Jesse Unruh once coined the phrase, "Money is the mother's milk of politics." Unruh was thinking in terms of pints. We have gallons today.