Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kathleen Parker: Mr. Hughes Goes to Washington

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kathleen Parker: Mr. Hughes Goes to Washington

Article excerpt

When postal worker Doug Hughes -- otherwise known as the gyrocopter dude -- landed his gizmo on the West Lawn of the Capitol, he wasn't worried about being shot down, he says.

He must be a believer in miracles because he might have been shot down -- and probably should have been. Horrible as this would have been, he could as easily have been carrying a dirty bomb as 535 letters to members of Congress.

Setting aside for now the debate about security, let's turn our attention to his mission of shining a light on our corrupt campaign finance system and his plea for reform.

We tried that, and it created an even bigger mess. Today's salient political adage goes like this: Behind every successful politician is a billionaire -- or several.

Most everyone running for president will likely be asked about this travesty, but Hillary Clinton already has made transparency a key issue in her campaign. The former secretary of state who purged her private server of 30,000 "personal" emails -- and who is known as one of the least transparent politicians in American history -- promises transparency.

This tells us two things: Transparency polled well in focus groups; Clinton is adept in the art of political jujitsu.

People like Doug Hughes choke and spit when talking about politics and politicians. The notion that a few rich people can determine who leads this nation is a sour, cynical-making joke that borders on the criminal.

There's nothing free about paid-for elections -- unless everybody knows where the money came from. Ever since the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, our two-party system has been on life support. If in pre-reform America, too many wealthy people were donating large sums to candidates, at least we usually knew who they were. In post-reform America, too many are giving large donations in the shadows. …

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