In every single Presidential election in recent times, much talk has centered around special interests, specifically accusations among the candidates that they have sold out to special interests. Frankly, I think it’s time for us to be adults about this issue and get used to the fact that every single candidate is sold out to special interests, and that we should vote for the candidates that are sold out to the special interests that offend us least. I think we can safely include in the list of special interests industrial associations, corporations, large donors, political action groups, religious groups, unions, and pretty much any other type of group that includes as part of its objectives the achievement of a political goal. Which politician isn’t associated with any such groups?

I think it’s easier to stay sane if you judge politicians by the policies that they support rather than by trying to figure out whose donations cause them to support those policies. If you think that drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is a bad idea, does it matter whether President Bush wants to drill there because he takes tons of money from oil companies or whether he really does think that we need more domestic oil production? The end result is the same. By the same token, I don’t care whether Democrats think extending the term of copyrights is a good idea because they’re awash in campaign money from the entertainment industry or because they want to help support artists — it’s a stupid idea regardless. Speculating on motives is inevitable, but it’s certainly not reliable, and accusations of corruption are easy to deny. Focus on actions and their results, which are much less open to dispute.

I bring this up for two reasons. The first is that I hear that the Bush campaign is going to attack John Kerry for being “brought to us” by special interests. At the same time, I heard a college student interviewed yesterday say that he was supporting John Edwards over Kerry because Edwards seemed less sold out to special interests than Kerry is. This is pointless politics.