Political Bedfellows

I went to a political fundraiser hosted by a close friend this evening.  I was there to support my friend – I wanted to help him deliver a full room to hear the Congressman that was in town.  I’d already researched the Congressman and discovered that he and I disagree on a multitude of issues, so I didn’t expect to write him a check.  Like I said, I was there to support my friend.

The Congressman did have an interesting strategy.  He wants to increase his influence in his party on a particular set of issues on which he has some expertise.  He is an inventor with over 25 patents from his inventions, so knows much more than a typical member of Congress about patent law.  He believes, as I do, that patents provide an incentive for inventors to invent – that patents are key to innovation.  Patent law, of course, just happen to be extremely important here in Silicon Valley, which is why he was raising money in Silicon Valley instead of in his own district.

He hopes to increase his influence by raising a Political Action Committee fund that will allow him to give donations to people running for reelection in his own party.  As he said “after I have given them a thousand or two thousand dollars for their reelection, I’m confident that they will listen to me.”

While I happen to agree with the Congressman’s position on the one issue of patent law, I think it is the only position that he and I have in common.  So why would I want to help him gain influence in government?  What surprised me was how many people in the room seemed ready to support him based on that one issue.

I don’t understand why politics creates strange bedfellows, but after tonight I do better understand the how.

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2 responses to “Political Bedfellows”

  1. John Burnette says :

    I’m never surprised that money influences politics in America, but I’m constantly amazed at how little it takes to purchase that influence.

    There’s got to be a better way.

    • Graham Burnette says :

      I was struck by hearing him say that giving just $1,000 would ensure that another Congressman would listen to his opinion. Seems like our Congress sells itself way too cheaply.

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