Retiring members of Congress illustrate the problems with the campaign finance system
And here's the problem: Regardless of what you think about the influence of campaign contributions on policy outcomes, or about the free speech value of money, fundraising clearly takes up an awful lot of members' time.
This is time they could be spending reading briefing binders, attending hearings, getting to know colleagues — exactly the kinds of things you'd expect members of Congress to do. Instead, they spend countless hours depressingly dialing for dollars, listening sympathetically to wealthy and generally partisan donors.
Perhaps even worse, who the hell wants to sign up for this job in the first place? Who wants to self-telemarket for hours on end? It takes abnormal amounts of narcissistic hubris, which most thoughtful people just don't have. Frankly, Congress could probably use a little more self-doubt. It might open up members to more alternative viewpoints.