Overheard on CNN.com: Does money in politics amount to conflict of interest?
George Clooney, right, talks with Chris Wallace on April 28. Clooney's fundraiser for Obama raised $15 million in one night.
May 15th, 2012
08:40 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Does money in politics amount to conflict of interest?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

LZ Granderson's latest column asserts that politics on both sides of the aisle are fueled by large amounts of money. He takes a look at President Barack Obama's pricey campaign, as well as Mitt Romney's. Many of our readers agreed, and asked if it's even possible for a regular person to get elected to office nowadays. Should we do something about the potential influences of money? What?

In election, 'a seat at the table' costs $5,000

Should politicians just go ahead and wear their donors on their sleeve, literally?

IcObamafail: "Politicians should be forced to wear uniforms like in NASCAR so we know who owns them."

Is there a difference between the parties? Some say no.

hman1234: "Excellent article, LZ. Going back to what George Carlin said, 'You have the illusion of choice.' You may vote the D or the R, but you're getting the same old status quo."

If you're a regular person, do you stand a chance?

thggr: "LZ you should be really complaining that you have to be in the 1% to even consider running and campaigning for any office in DC. We will not ever have a true representative that can speak for the average person until an average person can afford to even run for office. How stupid we are, we listen to a 1%'er complain about another 1%'er being rich and out of touch with the 99%. All of them are out of touch on both sides of the aisle."

Or, conversely, is politics a self-selecting field?

RiverTamXO: "This is something that has always fascinated me. If only rich people can afford to run for office, how would politics that favor the wealthy ever change? And yet it's just the status quo. Fifteen million dollars in one night! Doesn't your mind just run wild with all the great things that money could have been used for? I like Obama, but he's a typical politician and nothing short of a revolution is going to change the deep-rooted corruption that's just part and parcel of our government. And as I said - it just fascinates me because the utter sham of the system is so evident, so in our faces - and yet every election year we just choose whoever seems to be the lesser of two evils, even know we KNOW that he is just a straw man for the corporations."

Brit0728: "I just keep hoping there are individuals in this country who can manage to serve as senators, congressmen or president who won't have their heads turned by the money raised. Probably a futile hope."

Or maybe some people are just plain turned off.

Brad76: "I agree LZ, no one should have to pay that kind of money to run. America is probably missing out on a lot of people who have the talent/smarts to make a difference and who do not have the money to run."

yellownumb5: "Anybody that smart is smart enough to know they don't want the job."

Several readers bashed the Citizens United decision.

farinchi: "I agree, I think the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision was the worst idea a Supreme Court has ever reached. If you ask me, the Supreme Court conservative judges  should be tried for treason. They are nothing but a bunch of corrupt looking out for their political affiliation. It is a shame, but the Supreme Court is a liability right now."

Really, who is to blame?

WhatARipOff1: "Politicians disgust me. $5,000 a plate? Couldn't think of something better to do with that money, like sponsor a family who just lost their home?"

iwlnilla: "You should be more upset at the people who are paying that money. If no one showed up, the price would go down."

odk1: "If we want to blame anyone, we should blame the Supreme Court. I do not blame Obama or Mitt on this one."

One person wondered why even a rich person would blow so much dough on politics.

MGood: "Politics is and always has been disgusting. It was never about the people. And even if you have money ... who cares about sitting at a table or in the same room as the president for $38,000?? So they can make more TV ads or print ads that nobody cares about? YUK America. Nobody is worth $800 million to get elected. If you need that much, you aren't very good anyway."

Are people aware?

ColPackage: "I totally agree with you, Granderson. The irony of the money being spent on this election seems to be completely lost on people. We're defiantly asleep at the wheel."

This reader was happy that Granderson went after both political parties.

USAPeasant: "I rarely agree with LZ, but he is 100% spot on in this article. LZ tends to be DNC-biased, so it is quite refreshing to see him attacking both Obama and Mitt. Just another series of facts clearly displaying that the GOP and DNC care only about the Party. They care only about raising money for the Party. They care only about getting power for the Party. The GOP and DNC constantly show that they could care less about America and care more about the Party."

Another took a trip back in time.

MrApplesauce: "Roman elections were determined by the wealthiest of the privileged classes spending the most to get votes. Over 2,000 years later and we are basically in the same boat. Progress."

Is it time, then, to "occupy" politics?

whitefences: "This is the best article I've read, and an even better idea. Let's Occupy Politics and make some noise about all of the good points in this article. Right on, LZ."

Some debated the role of Occupy Wall Street.

DraftClinton: "Did anyone tell the OWS stooges that Obama is hanging with the super rich, snooty, caviar-eating crowd?"

harmonizer: "Don't be dense...OWS isn't about punishing or hating the rich. Once you understand that maybe you will understand what the movement is actually about.

FlyingfFish: "And once you find out what the OWS movement is all about, please tell the OWS movement ... Because they don't have a clue what they are all about."

Maybe, some suggested, the money would be better spent on the debt.

JSS714: "I personally don't have a problem with the rich using their money ... but, I'd like to see a catch. For any amount donated to political support, half should go directly to the deficit. That way we can still ignore them, yet start paying down our debt."

What do you think? Can you spare a dime? Or a thousand? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Elections • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Prentiss

    This was going on before you were born and it will not end. Like campaign promises they tell you what you want to here and in the end they all do the same thing. A politician is a POLITICIAN red or blue.

    May 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    Money and politics were not separated at birth. You can't have one without the other. From the beginning of written history, all politicians were men of "substance and worth".

    May 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      Um Jefferson was not poor but he was not rich either. And certainly buying votes does not represent the people. Anyone who thinks multi millionaires represent those who make under a million are foolish.

      May 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Skippy

    Oh, yeah, right, the whole Charlie Manson "Helter Skelter" thing. You got part of the name your spamming here right: your tale IS a fable!

    May 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. phildonahuenews

    VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Legion of Christ religious order, still reeling from revelations that its late founder was a pedophile, admitted Wednesday that it knew that its most famous priest had fathered a child years ago yet didn't remove him from teaching morality to seminarians or speaking publicly about ethics.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    @ Portland tony.
    Yes that is correct. What has become different now, to a point of worry for us, is that money now pours in from the outside- lobbies,special interests ( foreign & domestic).
    Elections are bought & sold. The time that politicians were simply men " of substance & worth" is gone.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Teaneck based Rabbi Uzi Rivlin was arrested yesterday on child molestation charges.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    @saywhat- just proves that priests, rabbi's and holymen are just that, men. I never revered a priest as better than myself or trusted one above myself with my children. They are men and women with faults and sins of their own.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    @ Scottish Mama
    good morning.
    My post may seem a little out of contest. It was in fact part of my response to @ phildonahue which was blocked.
    The interesting part though is that the Orthodox Jews in that community are organizing a fund raiser for the Rabbi's defense.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat

    That is 'context'. Pardon.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sid

    When you only have the rich mans candidate to vote for on both sides of the isle, who's going represent the voter? Yup.. How long will it take for voters to see that the race is fixed like a scam. Time for a few more parties to pick from. If you want to end up in one of two places, keep going down the same two roads. Duh! Pretty hard to see, if you keep both eyes shut and your mind.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. programas de facturacion

    Youre so cool! Io non immagino ho letto niente successo simile prima. Cos� bello trovare qualcuno con determinate riflessioni originali

    July 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |